Topic: Billion Dollar Brain

Couldn’t find a previous thread for this, but I was wondering whether anyone else has a soft spot for the third Harry Palmer film, directed in 1967 by none other than Ken Russell.

It seems that far more people prefer The Ipcress File, and BDB has been widely criticised for talking Palmer into Bondian territory - a comparison emphasised by the Maurice Binder title sequence.

However, I’m always happy to revisit BDB, what with Richard Rodney Bennett’s excellent, atmospheric music score, Russell’s more-disciplined-than-usual direction, Ed Begley’s enjoyably over-the-top General Midwinter (based on a real-life Texas oil mogul, apparently), Karl Malden’s duplicitous Leo Newbigen (a name everyone in the film seems to delight in enunciating), and good old Oscar Homolka, elevating the role of Russian colonel to archetypal status.

In fact, having read the source novel, I’d go so far as to suggest that, as with GF, the film improves upon it.


Re: Billion Dollar Brain

I like it, but it hits a massive dead spot in the middle where not very much of interest  seems to happen. I do like the idea the idea of the central plot: a jingoistic rich American launching his own war; and it's the closest Palmer came to Bond film territory, but it's a bit dull for my tastes in a few places and goes a bit silly in others. There are still plenty of good bits though; as you say, the score is a particular highlight. Harry having an old friend who turns out to be a baddie is a bit well-worn even by this one!

Funeral in Berlin is my favourite of the three: it's just got such a great plot. Ipcress is good, but the plot isn't quite as good and the direction gets a bit pretentious and irritating after a while!


Re: Billion Dollar Brain

There's an existing thread on this subject: https://www.ajb007.co.uk/topic/46150/th … ry-palmer/ so I'll close this one.