The Name's Palmer
The British Government have become concerned as a series of high level scientists have disappeared only to re-appear a few days later having been completely brainwashed. Sergeant Harry Palmer (Michael Caine) finds himself transferred to the agency which is dealing with the situation, something which the blasé Harry is bemused by as he can't see why anyone would want him unless he was expendable. Less than interested in the ways of the office he is transferred to with forms to fill in and so on Harry starts investigating in his own way, bending the rooms using his contacts.
When it comes to the world of espionage I have always been a James Bond fan, the suave lady killer was who I wanted to be as a child. But having grown up as a loyal fan of Bond there was another spy who I wouldn't have minded being like, that is Michael Caine's bespectacled Harry Palmer. The thing is that ever since the first time I watched "The Ipcress File" the story of scientists and brainwashing hasn't really been the thing I enjoyed. There is nothing wrong with the storyline and director Sidney J. Furie creates plenty of atmosphere which will appeal to fans of thrillers but as I said it was never the thing which hooked me.
On the subject of Sidney J. Furie and cinematographer Otto Heller there is the visual style, the camera angles which frequently shoot up at an angle or over the shoulder half obscuring the shot. It is a style which makes it stand out and makes it a movie which coming up for 50 years later is still eye catching although personally there are times when the style over powers a scene making what the characters are doing inconsequential.
But for me what made "The Ipcress File" is the combination of Michael Caine and the character of Harry Palmer as Caine makes him an intelligent agent but also a blasé one with that touch of anti-authority about him in the way he breaks the rules to gets results. But it is also the confidence, the cockiness around women and the fearlessness in danger. And who can ignore the fact he is a whiz on the kitchen who knows how to whisk up an omelette in the smoothest of manners. In many ways Palmer with his spectacles is the opposite of Bond yet has plenty of the same appeal.
What this all boils down to is that "The Ipcress File" is still a very entertaining movie with enough about it to keep those looking for a spy thriller to be entertained. But for me it is Michael Caine as Harry Palmer which makes it so enjoyable no matter how many times I have watched it.