(Review originally written at 1 August 2007)

At the time of this movie, James Bond of course absolutely dominated the spy-genre. This movie tries to be different, by not using too much action or a true evil mastermind villain that tries to take over or destroy the world. It chooses a more realistic approach, which seems all the more silly when considering that the story is far from a likely one.

Seemed that producer Harry Saltzman, who also produced multiple James Bond movies, until the mid-'70's, wanted to completely dominate the spy-genre in every form. It also explains why this movie uses many crew-members, who were also involved with making the James Bond movies; Composer John Barry, editor Peter R. Hunt, production designer Ken Adam, art director Peter Murton, the movie being shot at the Pinewood studios. They also had the intention to make this movie the beginning of a long running series of Harry Palmer movies. 4 later movies involving Caine playing the Palmer character followed but over the course of 30 years. So you can't really say it was a truly successful series of movies, at least no in the way they intended it to be.

The story is confusing, with its many different character names and spy-terms and codes. However once you've figured the story out completely you'll note that its actually a rather weak and thin one, with also some bad dialog in it. They just tried to make it seem more difficult and complicated than it in fact really was.

The story moves slow, which also doesn't make this the most interesting or exciting movie to watch. The movie starts to take more pace in its second halve but the movie at the same time then starts to become more ridicules and hard to take really serious.

But really, the movie is still a good watch. It's a different and in a way also a quite experimental movie, which makes this all the more a good watch. Also the directing and acting makes this a good movie to watch.

The innovative and experimental cinematography is from Otto Heller, who is fairly unknown but has made some great movies during his career. It's the kind of camera-work you would normally expect to see in an '70's movie.

The characters are all as British as they can get, with their heavy accents and gentleman attitudes. Michael Caine once more plays a slick, 'bad-boy' kind of person who also is of course a real lady-killer. Caine was specialized in these sort of roles and one year later he played his ultimate lady-killer role in "Alfie".

Simply a good movie but a tad too confusing and ridicules in parts to consider it a real genre classic.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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