Starring Michael Caine, Nigel Green
Sue Lloyd and Gordon Jackson
Written by Bill Canaway and James Doran
Based upon the novel by Len Deighton
Directed by Sidney J Furie
Production Year 1965
Running time 109 minutes
This slick, immaculately scripted and super cool 1960s spy film would make a star of leading man Michael Caine and spawn two sequels - 'Funeral in Berlin' and 'Billion Dollar Brain'. Caine plays Harry Palmer, an insubordinate British agent with a love of fine food and classical music. The dialogue is sharp and funny owing much to the writing in Len Deighton's original novel. Deighton came from a very different background to Ian Fleming and his hero Palmer is in stark contrast to the Old Etonian James Bond. Palmer wears glasses, talks with a cockney accent and moves in a grimy, downbeat world full of red tape and inter-departmental rivalries. In fact a number of those involved in the production of the James Bond films also worked on 'The Ipcress File' including Producer Harry Saltzman, Production Designer Ken Adam and the composer John Barry whose jazz score provides a minimalist and atmospheric accompaniment to the action.
Along with 'The Spy Who Came In From The Cold' made in the same year 'The Ipcress File' began a genre of uniquely British espionage films, the latest of which is the 2011 production of John le Carre's 'Tinker Tailor, Soldier, Spy'.
For Michael Caine 'The Ipcress File' was part of a rich seam which continued with 'Alfie' and 'The Italian Job' and culminated with 'Get Carter' in 1972. Since those heady days he has rarely hit such heights again...