1967                           Spy thriller


    • Michael Caine Harry Palmer
    • Karl Malden Leo Newbigin
    • Françoise Dorléac Anya
    • Oscar Homolka Colonel Stok
    • Ed Begley General Midwinter
    • Guy Doleman Colonel Ross
    • Vladek Sheybal Dr Eiwort
    • Milo Sperber Basil
    • Mark Elwes Birkinshaw
    • Donald Sutherland Man at computer
    • Susan George Russian girl on train


    • Dir:
        Ken Russell
    • Prod:
        Harry Saltzman
    • Scr:
        John McGrath, from the novel by Len Deighton
    • Ph:
        Billy Williams
    • Ed:
        Alan Osbiston
    • Mus:
        Richard Rodney Bennett
    • Art Dir:
        Bert Davey
    • Prod Des:
        Syd Cain
    • Titles:
        Maurice Binder

      (United Artists)



    [ b i l l i o n   d o l l e r   b r a i n : m o v i e  r e v i e w ]


    Classification: pg

      Billion Dollar Brain was the third of the Harry Palmer
      pictures. It may be related to the first movie but it is
      The Ipcress File on acid. That may be thanks to the
      flamboyance of the director Ken Russell.

    It was also the conclusion of the of the Harry Palmer series until 1995, when he was brought out of retirement for the god-damn awful flicks Bullet to Beijing and Midnight in St. Petersburg.

    What to say about this movie? Well, to put it politely, it was certainly the most 'off-the-wall' of the Palmer films and closer to James Bond movies with its dynamic sets and futuristic plot.

    Michael Caine travels to Finland to infiltrate power-crazed Ed Begley's secret organisation and prevent him from taking over the world.

    On Caine's recommendation, Ken Russell was made director and was perhaps an unlikely choice as director, but his exuberance prevents the plot from lapsing into predictability.

    Caine did much of his own stunt work including jumping onto ice floes out in the Baltic Sea.

    Starring opposite Caine was French actress Françoise Dorléac, sister of Catherine Deneuve. It was her last film performance, as shortly before filming wrapped she was killed in a car accident on the outskirts of Nice.

    Caine's own brother Stanley, also featured in the film in a cameo performance as a postman. Susan George also makes a early screen appearance as a girl on the train.

    For the titles producer Harry Saltzman drafted in graphic designer Maurice Binder, who had been responsible for many of the James Bond title sequences, to create similar magic with Palmer. The result was a sequence packed with computer keyboards and recurring images of Caine. Combined with Rodney Bennett's score, it produces a sense of intrigue.

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© 2004 by the appropriate owners of the included material