Michael Caine gets to use both of his acting styles – with glasses, and without – in this, the first of four films featuring Len Deighton’s working class spy Harry Palmer. It’s produced by early Bond producer Harry Salzman, and with memorable music by John Barry, but Palmer’s world is a far cry from Bond’s – he is more civil servant than secret agent, driving a Ford Zephyr, drinking cheap whisky and hoping his promised pay rise will allow him to afford an infrared grill. The spare, slow-burning film is the antithesis of the Bond franchise’s excesses, and all the more enjoyable for it. A word to ITV DVD, however: murky transfers like this are not worthy of the Blu-ray format.
EXTRAS: Only the original trailer, typical of the time.