Movie Monday* 01.12.15 Cooking Eggs and Cracking Heads with Harry Palmer

January 12, 2015 — Leave a comment

Michael Caine as Harry Palmer in THE IPCRESS FILE (d. Furie, The Rank Organisation, Universal Pictures 1965)

THE IPCRESS FILE (PG, 109 min., The Rank Organisation, Universal Pictures, Aug 2, 1965 – US)

It’s a line that seems like it came straight from a present day studio exec’s hacked email account: “Dump Caine’s spectacles and make the girl cook the meal. He is coming across as a homosexual.” This was reportedly the content of a cable sent to the makers of THE IPCRESS FILE after a screening for executives at Universal Pictures, the film’s U.S. distributor. The directive fell on deaf ears. Caine kept the spectacles, he did the cooking – and he got the girl.

Before Len Deighton was writing gritty spy novels like The Ipcress File, he was one of the top food writers in London. His Observer “cookstrips” – illustrated panels with instructions for preparing food – were, according to The Guardian, “as much a part of the 60s landscape as the pill and pot.” The strips adorn a wall in Harry Palmer’s (Michael Caine) kitchen in the 1965 adaptation of Ipcress. That’s a great production design design that underscores the differences between Palmer and another, more high profile British spy of the 007 variety. In a 2011 interview with The Telegraph Caine recalled another nod to the everyday, thinking man approach to the spy genre found in the Palmer series: “[Harry Palmer] even did his own shopping in the supermarket.”

Director: Sidney J. Furie, Writers: W.H. Canaway (screenplay) James Doran (screenplay) Richard Flournoy (screenplay) Len Deighton (novel) Producer: Harry Saltzman, Cinematographer: Otto Heller Composer: John Barry Editor: Peter Hunt Casting Director: Weston Drury Jr. Production Designer: Ken Adam

CAST: Michael Caine, Nigel Green, Guy Doleman, Sue Lloyd, Gordon Jackson, Aubrey Richards


Watched on Blu ray from ITV

*Every Monday I watch a classic or historically significant movie that falls into one of these categories: 1) Have never seen it, or 2) Have never seen it uncut, or 3) Have only seen it once, or 4) Haven’t seen it in a very long time.

Some information from: IMDb Pro, BoxOfficeMojo


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