Thursday, 7 July 2011

The Ipcress File (1965)

The first of the Harry Palmer spy mysteries from 1965 that made Michael Caine a star. Based upon the bestseller by Len Deighton, it features the flabby, nearsighted spy investigating the kidnapping of notable British scientists. Solid scenes, including a scary brainwashing session, and tongue-firmly-in-British-cheek humor. Lots of camera play to emphasize Caine's myopia. The movie lead to Two sequels: "Funeral in Berlin" and "Billion Dollar Brain."

Harry Palmer, a sergeant working for a Ministry of Defence organisation, is summoned from a stakeout by his boss, Colonel Ross. Ross tells him he is to be transferred to a Home Office counter-espionage unit headed by Major Dalby. Palmer is replacing an agent killed that morning while trying unsuccessfully to prevent the kidnapping of Radcliffe, a British scientist. Dalby introduces his team, including Jean Courtney, who deliberately ignores him, and 'Jock' Carswell, who quickly befriends him. Dalby sends them to find Eric Ashby Grantby, a native of Albania, and his chief of staff, known only as 'Housemartin'. Dalby believes Radcliffe is being held for ransom and that Grantby must be responsible.

Using a Scotland Yard contact, Harry locates Grantby, who gives Harry a piece of paper with a contact number on it. Harry tries the number from a phone booth, but it doesn't work. He tries to stop Grantby leaving, but Housemartin attacks him and the two get away. Later that day, Harry goes home and finds that Jean has been sent there by Dalby to check up on him. The two become friends.

Some time later, Jock and Harry learn that Housemartin has been arrested, but by the time they reach the police station, they find that men impersonating them have killed him. A search of the warehouse where Housemartin was picked up reveals only a piece of audiotape marked 'IPCRESS'.

Shopping at a supermarket, Harry is approached by Ross, who asks him to spy on Dalby's activities. Harry refuses. Although Harry thinks Jean is spying for Ross, he decides to ignore it and soon they become lovers. Contact with Grantby is re-established and a deal struck for Radcliffe's safe return, but while the exchange goes as planned, Harry sees a man suddenly move towards them and fires. The dead man turns out to be a CIA agent who has also been following Grantby. Harry is threatened by another CIA operative, who says he will kill him if he discovers that the death was not a mistake.

Some days later, it becomes clear that while Radcliffe is physically unharmed, his mind has been affected and he can no longer function as a scientist. Jock tells Harry that he knows what IPCRESS means, showing him a book entitled 'Induction of Psychoneuroses by Conditioned Reflex Under Stress'. The scientist has clearly been brainwashed. Jock borrows Harry's car to test his theory on Radcliffe, but he is killed before he reaches him. Harry realises that he must have been the intended target and decides to move in with Jean until the situation is resolved.

Returning to the office, he finds that the IPCRESS file compiled by Jock, relating to 17 other scientists, all of whom have also been brainwashed, has been stolen from his desk. Harry goes back to his flat to collect his belongings, and finds the body of the second CIA man. Believing he is being set up, he tells Dalby what has happened. Dalby tells him to leave town for a while. While on a train to Paris, Harry is apprehended by Grantby's men.

After several days in a cell and denied sleep, food and warmth, Harry is told that he has been taken to Albania. Having read the file, Harry realises that this treatment is part of the conditioning for the brainwashing procedures to come. During the procedure he clasps a nail taken from his cell in his closed fist to distract himself. After many sessions in which Harry is hypnotised and conditioned with electronic sounds and disorientating images, he appears to succumb. Grantby instills a trigger phrase that will make Harry act unconsciously against his will and follow any commands given to him.

Harry eventually overcomes his guard, takes his gun and escapes. Reaching the street, he realises he is still in London. He phones Dalby, who is actually in league with Grantby. Dalby uses the trigger phrase, making Harry call Ross to the warehouse. When Dalby and Ross arrive, Dalby again uses the trigger phrase to try to convince Harry that Ross is the traitor. Harry frees himself from the indoctrination by recalling the pain to his hand and shoots Dalby in self-defence.

In November 1962, shortly after the release of Dr. No (d. Terence Young, 1962), Len Deighton's spy novel The Ipcress File was published to enormous critical acclaim and brisk sales. Producers Harry Saltzman andAlbert Broccoli approached Deighton to script the next Bond film From Russia with Love (d. Young, 1963). Although little of his work was used,Saltzman eventually decided to use Deighton's novel, and its sequels, as the basis for a new series of spy movies.

The Ipcress File (d. Sidney J. Furie, 1965) was designed to be in direct contrast to the Bond adventures, although Saltzman ended up employing much of the same production staff, including production designer Ken Adam, editor Peter Hunt and composer John Barry. Superficially, there are many similarities, even to the extent of beginning the film with a dramatic pre-credit sequence. Like Bond, the hero is clearly his own man, has a taste for fine foods and is popular with women, and even carries a non-standard-issue weapon. But the similarities end there. The protagonist, named Harry Palmer in the film (the book's narrator is anonymous), wears spectacles, shops in a supermarket (still a novelty in 1965) and is a sergeant working off a two-year sentence for black market activities in Berlin.

Although he had already played a supporting role in Zulu (Cy Enfield, 1964) and had appeared in a few other films, Michael Caine's career really took off with his starring role in Ipcress. He would reprise the role of Harry Palmer in two interesting though inferior sequels, Funeral in Berlin (d. Guy Hamilton, 1966) and Billion Dollar Brain (d. Ken Russell, 1967).



Published by


Volume 32, No.376, May 1965, pages 70-1


Intelligence man Harry Palmer is transferred from the military discipline of Major Ross's unit to the more casual civilian outfit run by Dalby. Their job is to investigate a "brain drain" among scientists, and to recover one particular missing scientist, Radcliffe, kidnapped from a train after the murder of his bodyguard. Palmer gets a lead to a man with the code-name Bluejay, the only crook likely to be dealing in the sort of merchandise Radcliffe represents. Although this trail peters out, another clue encourages Palmer to mount a security raid on a deserted London factory. Radcliffe is still missing, but they find a piece of recording tape with the word "Ipcress" punched on it. Meanwhile, Dalby has fixed things up with Bluejay, and the scientist (brainwashed, as is later discovered) is exchanged for £25,000 cash down. During this operation, Palmer accidentally shoots an American agent who has been keeping a watch on all parties. One of Dalby's unit cracks the Ipcress mystery, and is promptly murdered. A frame-up is arranged for Palmer himself, when another C.I.A. man is killed in his flat. Palmer takes to his heels, but is kidnapped by the opposition and delivered to the derelict factory (carefully disguised as a Balkan gaol) to be put through the brainwashing processes used on the scientists. Eventually he escapes, and summons both his employers, Dalby and Ross, to a showdown at the factory. Dalby, revealing himself as the traitor, is shot dead when he goes for his gun.

It is almost touching to see the care that has gone into establishing the anti-hero of the spy game, the man who will show us what goes on behind the 007 facade. Spectacles, London accent, taste for cookery and Mozart, supermarket shopper, hater of authority - Palmer's characteristics might have been laid down by a computer. When it comes to the point, however, it's off with the spectacles and on with the old Bond ability to withstand torture and also to escape at will (why wait to be tortured first?) from the guarded hide-out. And in fact, with Mr. Saltzman in command, and with John Barry and Ken Adam of the Goldfinger équipe both much in evidence, it is not exactly surprising that new-style spies look rather like the old lot. Mr. Adam's sets are, as usual, fine. His personality is beginning to come through so strongly that, when the film stages the exchange of the scientist in the atmospheric location of the big underground garage off Park Lane, one would be quite prepared to believe that he had designed that too.

Sidney Furie's direction is unremittingly mannered, and almost passionately concerned with the finding of odd camera angles: shots through clashing cymbals, or the tops of parking meters, have a kind of wearisome charm. Nor does the film really get very far in its effort to show intelligence men monotonously labouring among files and forms, when the office scenes are shot and recorded with such aggressive emphasis as to suggest that a gunman is concealed behind every filing cabinet. It is all a kind of sophisticated game, enjoying (like Mr. Deighton's own novel) its familiarity with the jargon of the trade and its quirks of characterisation, and tending to lose sight (also like Mr. Deighton's novel) of the thrills. An easy film to criticise; but also an easy film to be amused by, at least as far as its central performances, its minor jokes (villain's henchman caught in the sinister act of feeding a parking meter), and its London locations are concerned.

The Monthly Film Bulletin was published by the British Film Institute between 1934 and 1991. Initially aimed at distributors and exhibitors as well as filmgoers, it carried reviews and details of all UK film releases. In 1991, the Bulletin was absorbed by Sight and Sound magazine


Elvis Action Figure - Blue Hawaii

A definite must for any Elvis fan! The King's classic look from the film Blue Hawaii. Complete with detailed base and backdrop, this 6-inch Elvis figure re-creation of the King of Rock n' Roll is awesome!

Fabulous 208 (February 3rd 1968)

Another delve in to the Fabulous 208 archives and this particular edition dates back to February 3rd 1968. Gracing this cover are, Ringo Starr & Ewa Aulin. Inside, there are pin ups of, Davy Jones, Darryl Read, Faye Dunaway, Dave Clark, and a double page spread of Jonny Ross

The John Lennon Action Figure x2

Being one of the most influential musicians to have graced God's earth, people from every corner of the world are hard pressed to deny the importance of John Lennon's musical contributions, both solo and with The Beatles. You can't find a single genre of music that hasn't been touched or influenced by either, and that is exactly how it should be.

John Lennon is already immortalized to most of us thanks to his words and voice, many Lennon and Beatle fans can now look forward to adding new tribute pieces to their collection. NECA proudly unveiled their first John Lennon 18" Action Figure w/motion activated sound, the first officially licensed John Lennon Figure ever. He speaks authentic John Lennon phrases and is known as "The New York Years" John Lennon.
From the famous “New York City” photo shoot comes this incredible lifelike sculpt of the great John Lennon. This 2-figure series features this 7 inch model in both black & white and color. These figures both feature ultra-realistic detail and capture Lennon in a way that has never been seen before.

Imagine - John Lennon (1971)

"Imagine" was the masterpiece written and performed by the English musician John Lennon. It is the opening track on his album Imagine, released in 1971. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked "Imagine" at No3 in its list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time."
"Imagine" was issued as a single a month after the album in the United States, catalogue Apple 1840, and peaked at No3 on the Billboard Hot 100. It reached number one in Canada on the RPM national singles chart, remaining there for two weeks and was Lennon's only solo Australian number one single, spending five weeks there. When asked about the song in one of his last interviews, Lennon declared "Imagine" to be as good as anything he had written with The Beatles. The song is one of three Lennon solo songs, along with "Instant Karma" and "Give Peace a Chance", in The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's 500 songs that shaped Rock & Roll.Rolling Stone ranked "Imagine" the third greatest song of all time in their editorial The 500 Greatest Songs of all Time.

The song's central theme was inspired by Cloud Piece, a three-line instructional poem that appeared in Yoko Ono's 1964 book Grapefruit. The words were reproduced on the back cover of the Imagine album. Similarly, in 1963 Lennon opened the Beatles song "I'll Get You" with the verse "Imagine I'm in love with you, it's easy 'cause I know", three years before meeting Ono.

In a 1980 interview with David Sheff for Playboy magazine, Lennon remarks on the message of "Imagine":

Sheff: On a new album, you close with "Hard Times Are Over (For a While)". Why?
Lennon: "It's not a new message: "Give Peace a Chance"—we're not being unreasonable. Just saying "give it a chance." With "Imagine" we're asking, "can you imagine a world without countries or religions?" It's the same message over and over. And it's positive."
Ono indicated that the lyrical content of "Imagine" was "just what John believed—that we are all one country, one world, one people. He wanted to get that idea out." In addition, the content of "Imagine" was inspiration for the concept of Nutopia: The Country of Peace, created in 1973. Lennon included a symbolically mute "anthem" to this country on his album Mind Games. Also, inspiration for Yoko's Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland came from words in the second verse:Imagine all the people living life in peace.

In the book Lennon in America, by Geoffrey Guiliano, Lennon commented that Imagine was an "anti - religious, anti - nationalsitic, anti - conventional, anti - capitalistic [song], but because it's sugar-coated, it's accepted."

"Imagine" was released as a single in the United Kingdom in 1975 in conjunction with the album Shaved Fish, where it peaked at number six on the UK Singles Chart. Following Lennon's murder in 1980, the single re-entered the UK chart and was number one for four weeks in January 1981. "Imagine" was re-released as a single in the UK in 1988, peaking at number 45, and again in 1999, reaching number three.

"Imagine" was the sole John Lennon track included in a promotional-only various artists compilation album issued by Capitol records entitledThe Greatest Music Ever Sold, catalogue Capitol SPRO-8511/8512. Distributed to record stores during the 1976 Holiday season, it was part of Capitol's "Greatest Music Ever Sold" campaign promoting 15 "Best Of" albums released by the record label. The song was also included on a six-disc boxed set commemorating Capitol Records' sixtieth anniversary that was issued in 2002. Imagine, along with the entire John Lennon catalogue, was remastered and re-issued in 2010, to celebrate what would have been his 70th year.

Single by John Lennon
from the album Imagine
B-side"It's So Hard" (US)
'"Working Class Hero" (UK)
Released11 October 1971 (US)
24 October 1975 (UK)
Format7" vinyl, 12" vinyl
Writer(s)John Lennon
ProducerJohn Lennon, Yoko Ono, Phil Spector
John Lennon singles chronology
"Power to the People"
"Imagine"/"It's so Hard"
(US, 1971)
"Happy xmas (War is Over)"/"Listen, the Snow is Falling"

"Stand By Me"

"Imagine"/"Working Class Hero"
(UK, 1975)

"(Just Like) Starting Over"
Imagine track listing
"Crippled Inside"

Action Man ( Part Eight) The Royal Horse Guards/Blues & Royals

This edition of Action Man came with Blue tunic, white breeches, white guanlets, black boots with spurs, ceremonial plumed helmet, belt, sword and scabbard, cartouche. Cuirass (silver breast plate with sword and scabbard was also available as an accessory, along with Full dress accoutrement set including horse tack)

Radio Times - It's a Knockout (1972)

This Radio Times cover dates back to 1972 and welcomes the return to BBC1 of, the excellent, It's a Knockout.

Duke Ellington - The Centennial Edition

This rare US 53-track promotional CD box set was issued in 1999 and contains the complete RCA Victor Recordings 1927 - 1973 from Jazz King Duke Ellington. The boxed set was entitled, "Highlights from the Centennial Edition."

Duke Ellington,Highlights From The Centennial Edition,USA,Promo,Deleted,TRIPLE CD,261275

Disc 1:
1. Black & Fan Fantasy
2. The Mooche
3. Doin' The Voom Voom
4. A Night at the Cotton Club/Misty Mornin'
5. Jungle Nights In Harlem
6. Ring Dem Bells
7. That Lindy Hop
8. Rockin' In Rhythm
9. Creole Rhapsody Part 1
10. Creole Rhapsody Part 2
11. Echoes Of The Jungle
12. Mood Indigo/Hot & Bothered/Creole Love Call
13. Daybreak Express
14. My Old Flame
15. Jack The Bear
16. Cotton Tail
17. Never No Lament

Disc 2:
1. Sepia Panorama
2. Sophisticated Lady
3. Day Dream
4. A Lull At Dawn
5. Take The 'A' Train
6. Bakiff
7. I Got It Bad & That Ain't Good
8. Menelik - The Lion Of Judah
9. Passion Flower
10. Rocks In My Bed
11. Chelsea Bridge
12. Perdido
13. I'm Beginning To See The Light
14. Work Song
15. Caravan
16. The Minor Goes Muggin'
17. Tonk
18. Just Squeeze Me
19. Midriff

Duke Ellington,Highlights From The Centennial Edition,USA,Promo,Deleted,TRIPLE CD,261275

Disc 3:
1. Long Long Journey
2. Caravan
3. Come Sunday
4. New World A-Comin'
5. A Christmas Surprise
6. The Biggest & Busiest Intersection
7. The Brotherhood
8. Ain't Nobody Nowhere Nothin' Without God
9. Isfahan
10. Blue Pepper (Far East Of The Blues)
11. Take The 'A' Train
12. The Second Portrait Of The Lion
13. Sophisticated Lady
14. Blood Count
15. Raincheck
16. Basin Street Blues
17. Mecuria, The Lion