Funeral in Berlin (1966) DVDRip (SiRiUs sHaRe).avi
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Funeral in Berlin (1966)
Colonel Stok, a Soviet intelligence officer responsible for security at the Berlin Wall, appears to want to defect but the evidence is contradictory. Stok wants the British to handle his defection and asks for one of their agents, Harry Palmer, to smuggle him out of East Germany.
Michael Caine ... Harry Palmer
Paul Hubschmid ... Johnny Vulkan
Oskar Homolka ... Colonel Stok
Eva Renzi ... Samantha Steel
Guy Doleman ... Ross
Hugh Burden ... Hallam
Heinz Schubert ... Aaron Levine
Wolfgang Völz ... Werner
Thomas Holtzmann ... Reinhardt
Günter Meisner ... Kreutzman
Herbert Fux ... Artur
Rainer Brandt ... Benjamin
Rachel Gurney ... Mrs. Ross
John Abineri ... Rukel
David Glover ... Chico
"The Ipcress File" introduced us to Harry Palmer, the anti-James Bond. This movie is even better than the first. Both are based on novels by Len Deighton, who rivals John LeCarre as the most sophisticated thoughtful spy novelists. Michael Caine's Palmer has a cockney accent, avoids fights, can't afford the finer things in life, has no fancy cars or technological gimmicks. What he has is the brain to figure who's triple crossing all the double crossers in Cold War Berlin's espionage underground. It helps that all the other characters underestimate him. This movie is sharp, intelligent, and unsentimental. It ranks with the very best spy movies ever made. Outstanding.
Reluctant spy and disgraced army sergeant Harry Palmer gets sent to Berlin to encounter a Russian general that says he wants to defect - but does he?
The success (and continued success) of the Ipcress Files lead to this very solid and very good (if complicated) follow-up which seems Palmer (Michael Caine in his too-cool-for-school best form) back in a cheap raincoat and dowdy clothes on a mission that he seems sure he is going to regret. Indeed he makes clear that only being on probation (still?) causes him to go on it in the first place.
The use of the real Berlin and the performance of Caine and Oskar Homolka (as Colonel Stok) keeps this film going as the plot is rather too thick for my liking.
I am not someone that wants to do this much thinking with my fluff - but I caught most of it or at least the main parts. Couldn't be sure totally who the lesser characters were in bed with though or even if it was not each other.
When the series returned with The Billion Dollar Brain it had got past its sell-by date and seemed to almost parody what had gone before. Like all things it has hard to judge when you have gone too far before you actually have.
As a footnote Howard Hughes used to watch this film over-and-over again (as many as three times a day) when locked in his own self-made lunatic asylum. Did the film drive him mad or help drive him mad. We will never know.
As some other reviewers have opined, this is the best of the three Harry Palmer movies set in the '60s. Michael Caine's cavalier attitude coupled with his witty, sarcastic banter is most refreshing. All the stodgy bureaucratic types get bum-rushed by Harry Palmer's rapier tongue. His self deprecating humor, especially in some of the scenes with Samantha Steele (Eva Renzi), is refreshing, since she has the pertness and sense of humor to complement those scenes deftly. Similarly, the scenes with Col. Stock show great flashes of sarcastic wit, juxtaposed with attending to the serious Cold War business at hand.
But the more serious fun is the wonderfully executed plot development, interweaving the various characters such as Johnny Vulcan, Col. Stock, Hallam, Ross (the boss), Kreutsmann, Steele, etc. into a menagerie of complicated intrigue. I'll let others offer a plot synopsis: I'll just say the film keeps you guessing and wondering throughout its hour and forty-five minutes. The overall style of mixing mordant anti-establishment humor and complicated intrigue reminds me of a later film, "The Russia House", with Sean Connery, an equally satisfying Cold War drama.
The only knock I have on this film is the sometimes obtrusive sound track, where the trumpets blare much too loudly to proclaim a given dramatic occurrence. Could have been done a little more tastefully.
Though arguably not as cohesive as The Ipcress File, Funeral in Berlin still stands head and shoulders above the average 60s spy movie. The pacing could be tighter, the adaptation of Deighton's exemplary novel - one of his best - could be a little more fluid but generally the thing works well.
For fans of the novels this is perhaps the most interesting of the three movies. Ipcress is a fascinating spin on the its novel's central theme, Brain is an awful adaptation of a lack-lustre book but Funeral in Berlin sticks to the original story pretty firmly until it turns on you with a very groovy twist indeed.
* Trade screened to exhibitors on 15 November 1966.
* Anjanette Comer was originally cast as Samantha Steel and even appeared in the publicity stills. But due to illness Comer had to back out and Eva Renzi ended up the role.
* Russian soldiers on the east side of the Berlin wall purposely disrupted filming by using mirrors to reflect sunlight into the film cameras. The scene where Harry Palmer walks to Checkpoint Charlie for the first time had to be filmed from a long distance for that reason.
* Deadly enemies in the movie, Paul Hubschmid (Johnny Vulkan) and Eva Renzi (Samantha Steel), became a couple and married the following year.
* Average Shot Length = ~5.8 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~5.4 seconds.
* Eva Renzi was dubbed by Nikki Van der Zyl.
* Hugh Burden replaced Max Adrian.
* Some sources say Max Adrian is in this film but he is not.