Harry Palmer returns

mtmmtm United Kingdom
Very interesting to see that ITV are making a big lavish adaptation of The Ipcress File (first made by Harry Saltzman at the same time he was making Bond movies and starring Michael Caine with a John Barry soundtrack), featuring the flipside to 007's 60s spy crown, Harry Palmer.

Joe Cole is the new Palmer with a script by Trainspotting's John Hodge, and it sounds rather impressive:

https://deadline.com/2020/12/itv-the-ipcress-file-john-hodge-joe-cole-lucy-boynton-tom-hollander-1234653664/

The adaptation will be penned by BAFTA-winning Trainspotting writer John Hodge, while the cast will be led by Gangs Of London and Peaky Blinders star Joe Cole, alongside Bohemian Rhapsody actress Lucy Boynton, and The Night Manager’s Tom Hollander. The Crown and Rush producer Andrew Eaton will serve as an executive producer, while the six-part Berlin-set series will be helmed by McMafia and Black Mirror director James Watkins.
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Comments

  • edited December 2020 Posts: 13,469
    Interesting I am a fan of the three early movies with Caine, Caine's later Palmer films not so much as they were very cheaply made...

    250px-Bullet_to_Beijing_FilmPoster.jpeg
    I re watched this last year, Mia Sarah was the highlight.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 5,518
    Yes, I'm hoping this new series will be an improvement on those!

    Personally my favourite of the films was Funeral in Berlin.
  • edited December 2020 Posts: 269
    mtm wrote: »
    Yes, I'm hoping this new series will be an improvement on those!

    Personally my favourite of the films was Funeral in Berlin.

    I've always loved Billion Dollar Brain, largely due to how perverse it is to see Ken Russell attempt (and fail) to make a normal movie.

    His visual and editing sense is so on point though, that I would have genuinely liked to have seen him tackle an official Bond film.

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  • My favorite is The Ipcress File I felt the tone in that film was perfect, and a superb score by John Barry.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 5,518
    mtm wrote: »
    Yes, I'm hoping this new series will be an improvement on those!

    Personally my favourite of the films was Funeral in Berlin.

    I've always loved Billion Dollar Brain, largely due to how perverse it is to see Ken Russell attempt (and fail) to make a normal movie.

    It's the most Bond-ish of the three and I do think it starts quite well (and there's a little bit of pervy in there for Russell fans!) but it gets quite flat in the middle I think.
    The locations are wonderfully striking though, it makes you wonder why more Cold War films didn't go to Finland, it's perfect.

  • Posts: 14,886
    This news has got me very excited! I love both the novel and the film (the film is one of my all time favourites), and I'm very curious how they'll adapt the story for TV.
  • MajorDSmytheMajorDSmythe Still waiting for the Jena Malone Batwoman movie that's never going to be made.Moderator
    Posts: 11,697
    I'm very aprehensive about this. I would rather if they adapted one of the other books, or write a whole new story featuring the character.

    As for the films, the first two are the best, followed by the two 90's films, then the 3rd film last.
  • Posts: 484
    Yes I’m a bit worried about this too.

    The Ipcress File and Funeral in Berlin are both wonderful films. They are bursting with 1960s chic from every pore and they are oozing genuine Cold War tasty goodness, probably because they genuinely are sixties films, made at the time rather than decades later. They are authentic.

    I’m not entirely confident that a 2020s remake will recapture that lightning

    Well, we shall see, I suppose
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    edited December 2020 Posts: 5,518
    This news has got me very excited! I love both the novel and the film (the film is one of my all time favourites), and I'm very curious how they'll adapt the story for TV.

    Yeah, from the synopsis alone it sounds like they'll be adding to the book (this sounds like we'll see the origin story that the books mention), but then the film wasn't exactly faithful so I think there's no problem with another version.
    I quite like that they've stuck to the Palmer name though. I wonder if he'll get the glasses! :)
    Yes I’m a bit worried about this too.

    The Ipcress File and Funeral in Berlin are both wonderful films. They are bursting with 1960s chic from every pore and they are oozing genuine Cold War tasty goodness, probably because they genuinely are sixties films, made at the time rather than decades later. They are authentic.

    Yes there's no doubt it won't feel as genuinely 60s as those (a good argument for not doing period Bond films like people keep asking for) but I don't think the character works outside of that.
  • edited December 2020 Posts: 269
    mtm wrote: »
    mtm wrote: »
    Yes, I'm hoping this new series will be an improvement on those!

    Personally my favourite of the films was Funeral in Berlin.

    I've always loved Billion Dollar Brain, largely due to how perverse it is to see Ken Russell attempt (and fail) to make a normal movie.

    The locations are wonderfully striking though, it makes you wonder why more Cold War films didn't go to Finland, it's perfect.

    It really is. John Huston made good use of it in the Kremlin Letter, though that tends to be another one of those "love it or hate it" films.

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  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 5,518
    Cool thanks, I don't know that one.
  • "The Ipcress File will be filmed on location in Liverpool and Croatia during 2021, with a split of around 60% in the UK and 40% in Croatia."

    https://www.theknowledgeonline.com/the-knowledge-bulletin/post/2020/12/10/the-ipcress-file-to-shoot-in-liverpool-and-croatia-
  • Posts: 14,886
    mtm wrote: »
    This news has got me very excited! I love both the novel and the film (the film is one of my all time favourites), and I'm very curious how they'll adapt the story for TV.

    Yeah, from the synopsis alone it sounds like they'll be adding to the book (this sounds like we'll see the origin story that the books mention), but then the film wasn't exactly faithful so I think there's no problem with another version.
    I quite like that they've stuck to the Palmer name though. I wonder if he'll get the glasses! :)

    Indeed, there's always room for another version (though I doubt it will be as good as the film!). The advantage with a TV adaption, is that they can flesh out the story quite a bit, and that's really interesting.

    I really hope they'll give him the Michael Caine glasses. It's hard to imagine a Harry Palmer without them!
  • edited December 2020 Posts: 14,886
    This article only predates the recent news by some weeks. The suggested names in the article would not have got me particularly excited. In that regard, I find Joe Cole more interesting (although I've seen very little with him in it…)

    Still, there's some valid points:
    The beauty of Palmer as a character is that you don’t need to scour the industry for someone who can tick off all the movie star leading man checklists (whilst still being somewhat below the radar). It’s a tough role to cast for sure. For Palmer though you can focus on character actors, or cast who will bring something more distinctly them to a role not so historically defined, whereas Bond requires (to an extent) the actor to bend to the character more.

    Additionally within the espionage genre, you have the option to set it in a distinct time and place. You could take Palmer back to the 60’s as an option, or indeed update him to a modern world replete with all the advancements we currently have at our disposal as well as the intelligence departments. Indeed, Palmer, can potentially be adverse to those modernity’s in favour of his more unorthodox techniques. Personally, I think Palmer could work very well in the modern age. Whether we’ll see anyone approach Deighton’s classic material, who knows, but potentially, there’s an audience in wait for a good old fashioned spy thriller and a character that’s ready made to be magnetic.
  • mattjoesmattjoes So this is it. This joke is played out.
    Posts: 4,002
    mtm wrote: »
    Yes, I'm hoping this new series will be an improvement on those!

    Personally my favourite of the films was Funeral in Berlin.
    I prefer Ipcress but Funeral in Berlin is a very worthwhile film. I appreciate the touch of black humor as they kill the guy to place him in the coffin for Stok's defection. And the scenes between Palmer and the passports guy have some terrific dialogue and acting.

    "Sometimes we start at Z and work backwards, just for fun."
    "Dead? But of course he's dead. His death certificate says so."
  • mattjoesmattjoes So this is it. This joke is played out.
    Posts: 4,002
    Interesting I am a fan of the three early movies with Caine, Caine's later Palmer films not so much as they were very cheaply made...

    250px-Bullet_to_Beijing_FilmPoster.jpeg
    I re watched this last year, Mia Sarah was the highlight.
    This reminds me of that story Caine tells about the filming of these movies, about following the crew members' example, and going to "relieve himself" against the wall of the soundstage in Russia, rather than on the filthy toilet everyone avoided. Understandably an unpleasant moment in his career.

    I'd still like to see these two later Palmer movies. I like Mia Sara, she's a good actress.
  • Posts: 1,035
    Always loved the Harry Palmer film. I wish them luck with the series.
  • Posts: 514
    The '60s Harry Palmer films are a delight -- espionage thrillers that are linked by the Deighton novels, producer (Saltzman) and a few actors (Caine, Guy Dolman, Oscar Homolka) yet helmed by three directors who bring distinctly different stylistic approaches to their material, which kept the series from falling into formula.

    The first two are superb but BILLION DOLLAR BRAIN is the most outlandish and even satirical. If I have a complaint, it's that Palmer's character isn't always consistent -- in THE IPCRESS FILE he's supposed to be a gourmet cook but in BILLION DOLLAR BRAIN he's living on Corn Flakes.

    Caine and Saltzman were at one point planning to collaborate on another Palmer adventure based on the second novel, Horse Under Water, but that obviously didn't happen.
  • edited December 2020 Posts: 14,886
    Escalus5 wrote: »
    The '60s Harry Palmer films are a delight -- espionage thrillers that are linked by the Deighton novels, producer (Saltzman) and a few actors (Caine, Guy Dolman, Oscar Homolka) yet helmed by three directors who bring distinctly different stylistic approaches to their material, which kept the series from falling into formula.

    The first two are superb but BILLION DOLLAR BRAIN is the most outlandish and even satirical. If I have a complaint, it's that Palmer's character isn't always consistent -- in THE IPCRESS FILE he's supposed to be a gourmet cook but in BILLION DOLLAR BRAIN he's living on Corn Flakes.

    Caine and Saltzman were at one point planning to collaborate on another Palmer adventure based on the second novel, Horse Under Water, but that obviously didn't happen.

    I really enjoyed reading Horse Under Water. Who knows? If this upcoming series is a success, maybe they'll look to adapt it.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 5,518
    I must admit I couldn't get through Horse Under Water, but I should probably give it another go.

    I thought Palmer stayed pretty consistent: I like the way everyone thinks they're getting one over on him and using him as a pawn until right at the end he shows how he's been quietly cleverer and switched the game on them. A lot of that is down to Caine's magnetically still performance, it'll be interesting to see a new version of Palmer.
    Somehow the character name alone is pretty cool so I'm happy for him to be back! :)
  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    Posts: 5,900
    It is admittedly a very difficult part to envision an actor in, but Joe Cole's casting does not inspire my confidence.
  • Posts: 14,886
    mtm wrote: »
    I must admit I couldn't get through Horse Under Water, but I should probably give it another go.

    I thought Palmer stayed pretty consistent: I like the way everyone thinks they're getting one over on him and using him as a pawn until right at the end he shows how he's been quietly cleverer and switched the game on them. A lot of that is down to Caine's magnetically still performance, it'll be interesting to see a new version of Palmer.
    Somehow the character name alone is pretty cool so I'm happy for him to be back! :)

    It took me a while to get into Horse Under Water too, but it got better in the second half. I hope to read Billion Dollar Brain this Christmas – the only book in the series I haven't yet read.
  • Posts: 1,035
    I'm looking forward to what they do with the Quiddich matches.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    edited December 2020 Posts: 5,518
    It is admittedly a very difficult part to envision an actor in, but Joe Cole's casting does not inspire my confidence.

    He's very good. And he's a nicely offbeat choice, which piques my interest.

    I know you can't go by a synopsis, but it sounds like they might be leaning on Palmer's insubordination a bit more in this one: in the Caine movies he was often accused of it but really didn't do much more than make a couple of sarky quips under his breath, I feel like maybe they want to use that a bit more strongly this time.
  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    Posts: 5,900
    mtm wrote: »
    It is admittedly a very difficult part to envision an actor in, but Joe Cole's casting does not inspire my confidence.

    He's very good. And he's a nicely offbeat choice, which piques my interest.

    I've found him thoroughly underwhelming and borderline irritating in anything I've seen him in. Maybe he'll surprise me.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 5,518
    Right okay.
  • edited December 2020 Posts: 269
    mtm wrote: »
    This news has got me very excited! I love both the novel and the film (the film is one of my all time favourites), and I'm very curious how they'll adapt the story for TV.

    Yeah, from the synopsis alone it sounds like they'll be adding to the book (this sounds like we'll see the origin story that the books mention), but then the film wasn't exactly faithful so I think there's no problem with another version.
    I quite like that they've stuck to the Palmer name though. I wonder if he'll get the glasses! :)

    Indeed, there's always room for another version (though I doubt it will be as good as the film!). The advantage with a TV adaption, is that they can flesh out the story quite a bit, and that's really interesting.

    Given that about 40% of it is going to be shot on location overseas, it looks like they may be sticking to the novel a little more closely. Unlike the film, 99% of it didn't take place in London.
    It is admittedly a very difficult part to envision an actor in, but Joe Cole's casting does not inspire my confidence.

    In a way, I'm glad they picked a very un-Caine actor because it means they might be trying to go in a different direction.
  • Posts: 484
    In a way, I'm glad they picked a very un-Caine actor because it means they might be trying to go in a different direction.

    Yes that might work. If they stick too closely to Caine then they’re just setting themselves up to fail, really.

    I might be a lone voice here but overall I think that the film version of Funeral in Berlin is actually better than the book. The climax to the novel takes place during a fireworks night in London (really!) and I think that moving the climax to Berlin was a good decision.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 5,518
    In a way, I'm glad they picked a very un-Caine actor because it means they might be trying to go in a different direction.

    Yes that might work. If they stick too closely to Caine then they’re just setting themselves up to fail, really.

    I might be a lone voice here but overall I think that the film version of Funeral in Berlin is actually better than the book. The climax to the novel takes place during a fireworks night in London (really!) and I think that moving the climax to Berlin was a good decision.

    Must admit I've never read it as I've never really found Deighton all that gripping, and I just like the feel and look of the movie too much to bother with trying to imagine it! :) Plus Caine says the lines better than my head does :D

    It is a shame that this new TV show won't ever be able to do 60s Berlin as well as Funeral did of course. Although it might be able to do a goodish job of East Berlin, it's going to be tough for Croatia to get that lovely concrete modernism feel of the city that's so evocative. Maybe some of Liverpool can, I don't know. There's the cathedral of course.
  • edited December 2020 Posts: 269
    mtm wrote: »
    In a way, I'm glad they picked a very un-Caine actor because it means they might be trying to go in a different direction.

    Yes that might work. If they stick too closely to Caine then they’re just setting themselves up to fail, really.

    I might be a lone voice here but overall I think that the film version of Funeral in Berlin is actually better than the book. The climax to the novel takes place during a fireworks night in London (really!) and I think that moving the climax to Berlin was a good decision.

    Must admit I've never read it as I've never really found Deighton all that gripping, and I just like the feel and look of the movie too much to bother with trying to imagine it! :) Plus Caine says the lines better than my head does :D

    It is a shame that this new TV show won't ever be able to do 60s Berlin as well as Funeral did of course. Although it might be able to do a goodish job of East Berlin, it's going to be tough for Croatia to get that lovely concrete modernism feel of the city that's so evocative. Maybe some of Liverpool can, I don't know. There's the cathedral of course.

    Yeah, Berlin will be tough to recreate but I'm guessing a mixture of both locations plus a healthy dose of CGI should do the trick.

    I'm actually a bit surprised that they aren't going to make the whole show in Berlin considering how good the German tax credits are.

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