le 7 août 2014
THE IPCRESS FILE [1965/2014] [Blu-ray] [UK Release] An Absolutely Riveting Thriller! An Admirable Thriller!
Featuring a quintessential performance from double-Oscar winner Sir Michael Caine and an iconic score from the legendary John Barry, this stylised and compelling Cold War spy movie won multiple awards on its theatrical release including three BAFTA® Awards. ‘The Ipcress File' is featured here in a High Definition transfer made from original film elements in its exhibited theatrical aspect ratio.
Harry Palmer, a stubbornly insolent sergeant working for the Ministry of Defence, is less than thrilled to be transferred under threat of blackmail to an elite counter-intelligence unit. Palmer and the rest of his unit follow the trail of a missing scientist, but when he finds a piece of tape marked IPCRESS in an abandoned warehouse he suddenly becomes a marked man...
FILM FACT Part One: Awards and Nominations: BAFTA® Awards: Won: Best British Film. Won: Best British Art Direction in Colour for Ken Adam. 1966 Edgar Award: Mystery Writers of America: Won: Best Foreign Film Screenplay for Bill Canaway and James Doran. 1965 Cannes Film Festival: Nominated: Palme d'Or Award.
FILM FACT Part Two: Techniscope or 2-Perf is a 35mm motion picture camera film format introduced by Technicolor Italia in 1960. Techniscope employs standard 35mm camera films, which are suitable for 2-perf Techniscope, 3-perf, conventional 4-perf CinemaScope, and even 6-perf Cinerama and 8-perf VistaVision, as all of those processes listed employ the same camera and intermediate films, and positive print films intended for direct projection (although 2-, 3- and 8-perfs are not distribution formats). In 1999, in Australia, MovieLab film laboratory owner Kelvin Crumplin revived the Techniscope format renamed as MultiVision 235, attempting to commercialise it as a cinematography format alternative to the Super 16mm format.
Cast: Michael Caine, Nigel Green, Guy Doleman, Sue Lloyd, Gordon Jackson, Aubrey Richards, Frank Gatliff, Thomas Baptiste, Oliver MacGreevy, Freda Bamford, Pauline Winter, Anthony Blackshaw, Barry Raymond, David Glover, Stanley Meadows, Peter Ashmore, Michael Murray, Anthony Baird, Tony Caunter, Charles Rea, Ric Hutton, Douglas Blackwell, Richard Burrell, Glynn Edwards, Zsolt Vadaszffy, Josef Behrmann, Max Faulkner, Paul S. Chapman, Howell Evans (uncredited) and Victor Harrington (uncredited)
Director: Sidney J. Furie
Producers: Charles D. Kasher, Harry Saltzman and Ronald Kinnoch
Screenplay: Bill Canaway, James Doran and Len Deighton (novel)
Composer: John Barry
Cinematography: Otto Heller
Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 [Techniscope]
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Surround Sound and English: Original Mono Sound
Subtitles: English SDH
Running Time: 108 minutes
Region: Region B/2
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Network / ITV Studios Global Entertainment
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: First-rate British spy thriller directed by Sidney J. Furie, `The Ipcress File'  is based upon a novel by Len Deighton which is the first and best of the spy films based on his novels; the others being `Funeral in Berlin'  and `Billion Dollar Brain' . It stars Sir Michael Caine as Harry Palmer, a spy who was railroaded into his profession against his will. A talented thief, Palmer was caught stealing and offered a position as an undercover espionage agent, or face a stint in prison. Choosing the former, our hero finds himself assigned to a case involving a missing scientist. Harry's job is to locate the kidnappers and cut a deal with them to release their prisoner. Although he succeeds in rescuing the abducted scientist, the victim appears to have been brainwashed. This complicates matters further, forcing Harry Palmer to locate and expose the kidnappers while trying to comply with the secret agenda of his superiors.
Producer Harry Saltzman was involved with the James Bond franchise films, decided to move away from the escapist nature of the O07 series and create a more realistic espionage agent with Harry Palmer who doesn't battle superhuman villains who want to rule the World or does not have to have a set of fancy gadgets to help him out of trouble. Harry Palmer is a thinking man's James Bond; a meticulous professional who uses his wits to get the job done, regardless of his personal feelings about his line of work.
As Harry Palmer, a complex and cerebral character and Sir Michael Caine delivers a terrific performance in his first major starring role, one that showcases his subtle wit and cynical nature. His performance earned him numerous critical accolades and he followed `The Ipcress File' with an even greater success - his portrayal of a predatory playboy in ‘ALFIE' ; it won him an OSCAR® nomination for Best Actor. Producer Saltzman had just seen Caine in a supporting role in ‘ZULU'  and sensed his potential as an actor. When he happened to spot the actor eating dinner in a London restaurant just days later, he promptly offered him the role of Harry Palmer and gave him a seven-year contract!
Sir Michael Caine recalled the making of `The Ipcress File' in his autobiography, "What's It All About?: Michael Caine" where Sir Michael Caine stated that in `The Ipcress File' we used the basis of Len Deighton 's story but it fell to all of us, and me in particular, to create our own dialogue. Fortunately most of us were good at this and a lot of it turned out to be quite funny - but it was a nerve-racking way to play one's first starring role. The director Sidney J. Furie also decided to shoot it as though the camera were someone else watching while hiding behind things. Thus there always seemed to be something between me and the camera, or else it would be very close and at an unusual angle, often shooting straight up my nose. Sidney J. Furie and Harry Saltzman had a lot of rows, with Harry Palmer's temper living up to its reputation. I sometimes feared that he would have a heart attack, while the rest of the unit were hoping that he would and Sidney J. Furie, in particular. The climax to all these rows came one day when we were on location in Shepherd's Bush, a rundown area of West London. The first I knew of it was when Sid came running round a street corner and knocked me flying. To my astonishment, I saw that he was crying. He stared at me for a moment and then screamed through his tears, 'Go Forth and Multiply, I'm off this picture,' and with one bound jumped on a number 12 bus that was just pulling away from its stop, and disappeared in the direction of Oxford Circus." Luckily, Sidney J. Furie was coaxed back to the set and completed the picture. But that incident was just one of many that involved the volatile director. For example, Sidney J. Furie hated the script so much that on the first day of shooting he set fire to it on the set. At the same time, producer Harry Saltzman hated Sidney J. Furie's baroque framing technique so intensely that he had him barred from the editing room. Sidney J. Furie later claimed that the producer actually excluded him from the film's party at Cannes and even stole his Best Picture British Academy Award!
`The Ipcress File' became critically famous when Billy Wilder lambasted the young Canadian director Sidney J. Furie's camera style, saying Sidney J. Furie couldn't shoot a scene without framing it through a fireplace or the back of a refrigerator. Billy Wilder was coarse but accurate. There are no fireplaces on view but Sidney J. Furie's camera compositions are some of the most extreme ever seen. He's taken the early CinemaScope discovery by making the natural masking compositions of Techniscope more logical. When the shots aren't extremely high-angled, low angled or tilted, they're framed through every kind of foreground obstruction imaginable: lamps, doors, telephones. Often 75% of the frame is blotted out, forcing us to look over a shoulder or under an armpit to view a character. What makes Wilder's complaint irrelevant is that the style works, and works very well. After 35 years of increasingly pointless visual elaboration in films, cameraman Otto Heller work on `The Ipcress File' looks relatively restrained, and certainly fits the subject material: the shots focus attention instead on being merely decorative. Sidney J. Furie's screen often resembles a puzzle with pieces removed, exactly the situation Harry Palmer is facing. Together with John Barry's terrific, jazzy score (reminiscent of Thunderball, but far more hip), `The Ipcress File' seems like an updated `The Third Man,' substituting a 'cool' pre-Mod London for a ruined Vienna.
Some innovations need pointing out to be appreciated. The exchange of prisoner and the payoff in an underground parking lot, with machine gun retainers moving in ritualised symmetrical patterns, has been imitated a hundred times since. Sidney J. Furie downplays some elements such as a stairway fight behind the Albert Hall seen completely in distancing telephoto, through the obscuring panes of a phone booth. Another murder at a traffic intersection seems a perfect homage to Fritz Lang's Mabuse Films. Here Sidney J. Furie restages Lang's situation once again, adding his own mark of cool understatement. A visually-oriented sequence near the conclusion (no details here for those of you who hate spoilers) that makes me seriously wonder if Douglas Trumbull saw it while working on 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Blu-ray Video Quality – 'The Ipcress File' is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, with a brilliant encoded 1080p image transfer and arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of the combined UK-based distributors Network and ITV Studios Global Entertainment. First of all, there is a substantial difference between the previous inferior DVD releases, whereas as the Network and ITV Studios Global Entertainment Blu-ray disc contrast and colour-reproduction, and clarity are all notably far superior on this awesome Region B/2 Blu-ray disc, because it is fairly obvious that a lot of the nasty specks and debris the inferior DVD revealed have been addressed. Third, the heavy grain structure of the film has been kept to a minimum. To sum it all up, the Network and ITV Studios Global Entertainment Blu-ray release of `The Ipcress File' offers a substantial upgrade which I have absolutely no problem recommending to fans of `The Ipcress File' whatsoever. On top of all that, Network's 2014 Blu-ray Special Edition presentation is remarkably different and far superior from that of previous inferior ITV's original 2008 Blu-ray release of `The Ipcress File' film. However, the 1080p encoded image on this Network's new Blu-ray release is noticeably stronger and totally stunning; because Network's new Blu-ray uses the more advanced AVC compression. In summing up, this is a very pleasing and fantastic presentation of the film, better than any of the film's previous home video releases. Please Note: Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English 5.1 Dolby Digital and English 2.0 Dolby Digital. Both tracks do a fairly good job of capturing the spirit of this film (the music soundtrack in particular comes off the speakers very nicely). There is nothing really excessive in `The Ipcress File', so more or less the audio tracks provided by Network / ITV Studios Global Entertainment are totally brilliant. I did some random comparisons between the English 5.1 DTS-HD Surround Sound and English Original Mono Sound and found the 5.1 so much richer in sound, whereas the Mono sounded a little flat. There is slightly more movement in the rear channels on the 5.1 track, which will enhance your viewing experience dramatically. On the other hand, the dialogue is totally excellent and clear and very easy to follow. Furthermore, I did not detect any pops, cracks, or hissings to report here. Finally, ITV have provided optional English subtitles for the main feature (when turned on they appear inside the image frame).
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary: Commentary with Director Sidney J. Furie and Film Editor Peter Hunt: Commentary fans can enjoy Director Sidney J Furie and Film Editor Peter Hunt gives their thoughts on the final cut. This was a totally amazing experience and the two sounded really good together and gives you some really fantastic insight into how the film was put together and there are some really funny insights on the background to the film and lots of anecdotes on how they loved popping into the London Pubs for their liquid lunches. But of course you hear the furious clashes that went on between the producer Harry Saltzman and director Sidney J. Furie, but in the end all was sorted out between Sir Michael Caine and Peter Hunt. In the end this is a total MUST listening, as it gives you so much information on how the team pulled together and made a totally unique classic British thriller in the guise of `The Ipcress File' and why fans love this film, like me. The only slightly downside to this excellent audio commentary, is that at the time of recording, they mention that this film was now being released on DVD and LaserDisc, so obviously this part is a bit is well out of date and should have been edited out. But on the plus side they do mention that HDMi was coming in and 16:9 Widescreen Televisions were becoming on available and that now viewers will be able to watch `The Ipcress File' in its right aspect ratio of Technicscope, because when TV screens were in the 4:3 aspect ratio, you has to watch the film in the ghastly crass Pan & Scan and as Sidney J Furie and Peter Hunt point out, that because the film is in Techniscope, you miss half of the image on your 4:3 Television screen and makes the film look totally unwatchable.
Special Feature: Michael Caine is Harry Palmer: Exclusive interview with Sir Michael Caine [1080p] Exclusive interview with double Oscar Winner Sir Michael Caine talking about the making of ‘The Ipcress File’ and was filmed in November 2005 and is fascinating hearing total insights of different aspects of how ‘The Ipcress File’ was made and it was fascinating to hear Sir Michael Caine telling us some really new information on some of the friction that happened between the producer Harry Saltzman and the director Sidney J. Furie.
Special Feature: The Design File: Exclusive interview with Production Designer Sir Ken Adam [1080p] Exclusive interview with Oscar-winning Production Designer Sir Ken Adam about his work on `The Ipcress File' that was filmed in October 2005. We also get to hear about his ups and down with the producer Harry Saltzman and his work on the James Bond films.
Special Feature: The Ipcress File: Michael Caine Goes Stella [Exclusive Comedy Sketch] [1080p] [4:57] Exclusive comedy with Dead Ringers/Stellar Street Phil Cornwall. Wow this was so hilarious and totally funny, that I ached with laughter and was a brilliant send up of Sir Michal Caine and `The Ipcress File' film. Directed by Stephen La Rivière.
Special Feature: Candid Caine: A Self-Portrait of Michael Caine [480i] [4:3] [44:20] Sir Michael Caine was born in London's Elephant and Castle, and went on to become an unconventional film star. Here he revisits his past and talks frankly about women, money, work and hard road stardom. You also get intimate insight in his home, with his friends where you get to see him playing the Monopoly board game and Billiards, but you also get views with his Mother. We also get other contributors and they are Stanley Caine, Sidney Edwards and Graham Stark. Interviewer: Sidney Edwards. Director: Charlie Squires. Producer: Humphrey Burton. Original ITV Transmission 21st June 1969. London Weekend Television Transmission. This was a brilliant documentary, but was slightly let down with Network keeping in the Advert Break Titles, why the hell couldn't they have edited this out, this is a very unprofessional lazy decision to keep these Advert Break section in.
Theatrical Trailer  [2.35:1] [1:03] This is the original Theatrical trailer for ‘The Ipcress File.’
Original Two US Radio Commercial  [2:44] Here you get a single image from the film with an American voice radio broadcast.
Special Feature: Production Image Gallery [2:23] Here you get to view 48 Black-and-White and Colour Images.
Special Feature: Portrait Image Gallery [2:54] Here you get to view 59 Black-and-White Images.
Special Feature: Promotional Image Gallery [2:54] Here you get to view 59 Colour Images.
Special Feature: Textless Material [2.35:1] [4:13] This is quite a strange experience, as all you get is different images throughout the film until the end of the final scene of the film before the end credits roll up the screen, but is totally silent. I am not sure why the people at Network decided to include this in the Extras, as I feel it is a totally pointless exercise. I just think the people at Network should have put up a notice before the start of this item with an explanation on why it has been included, as again it is a totally pointless exercise and the strangest thing I have ever witness.
BONUS: The Ipcress File Commemorative Programme Notes: Here you get a really beautiful stunning printed 24 page booklet, with two in depth well written articles on the film ‘The Ipcress File’ film and are entitled A Different Class – Michael Caine and The Ipcress File by Christopher Bray. Plus a section entitled A Study in Insolence – The Making of The IPCRESS File. You get to read fascinating insights on the production of the film and how the process was brought about in bring this classic British film to the screen. You also get some new Colour and Black-and-White production stills included. Booklet Design: Martin Cater.
Finally, ‘The Ipcress File' is a superb stunning original film that still feels totally fresh, even in the 21st Century. Sir Michael Caine's performance as Harry Palmer has become totally iconic; Harry Palmer's approach to authority and the situation Harry Palmer finds himself, still feels very contemporary. The presentation of the film on this Blu-ray disc is very good, eclipsing previous inferior releases, especially in terms of the audio options available here and that the 5.1 mix is much stronger than the previous inferior video releases. Plus the excellent range of Blu-ray Special Features and Extras material fleshes out this new Blu-ray release. This is an extremely pleasing release and it comes with a very strong recommendation and is in my opinion the BEST and only version now available on this Network Blu-ray disc. What is also a massive improvement over the previous inferior ITV Studios Blu-ray release is the awesome two sided printed Blu-ray Slip Cover design, which should in my opinion get a Best Design Award and this is the ultimate Blu-ray package. So all in all, this is a totally amazing package and has now gone pride of place in my ever increasing Sir Michael Caine Blu-ray Collection. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
le 3 octobre 2011
Universal Pictures presents "THE IPCRESS FILE" (1965 103 min/Color) -- Starring: Michael Caine, Nigel Green, Guy Doleman, Sue Lloyd, Gordon Jackson & Aubrey Richards
Directed by Sidney J. Furie
Harry Palmer (Michael Caine) has no real love of espionage, but he doesn't really know any other life. With studied insolence, he takes on the case of locating missing doctor Radcliffe (Aubrey Richards), who has in his possession a valuable file that would prove injurious to the Free World should it fall in the wrong hands.
The government also fears that Radcliffe will be brainwashed by the enemy, as has happened to two previous British scientists. While Palmer is off doing everyone else's dirty work, his superior, Dalby (Nigel Green) is making a deal with duplicitous information "broker" Frank Gatliff to win Radcliffe's release. The price for this would seem to be Palmer, who is captured by the enemy and subjected to a grueling brainwashing session. Palmer escapes, whereupon he confronts a traitor in his midst in the climactic exchange of gunfire.
With top notch direction by Furie and Michael Caine's performance keeps you on the edge.
1. Sidney J. Furie Director)
Date of Birth: 28 February 1933 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Date of Death: Unknown
2. Michael Caine [aka: Maurice Joseph Micklewhite]
Date of Birth: 14 March 1933 - Rotherhithe, London, England, UK
Date of Death: Still Living
3. Nigel Green
Date of Birth: 15 October 1924 - Pretoria, South Africa
Date of Death: 15 May 1972 - Brighton, East Sussex, England, UK
4. Aubrey Richards
Date of Birth: 6 June 1920 - Swansea, Wales, UK
Date of Death: 29 May 2000 - England, UK
Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 4 Stars
Performance: 4 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 4 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]
Total Time: 103 min on DVD ~ Universal Pictures ~ (April 5, 2011)