Review: Funeral In Berlin [1967] - dir. Guy Hamilton

Following on from THE IPCRESS FILE, Michael Caine returns as bespectacled spy Harry Palmer in the second instalment in the Len Deighton series. A British spy is responsible for arranging the defection of a Russian officer in charge of Berlin war security. When his plan goes very wrong, he must rely on his own Cockney cunning to escape the morass of double-dealing, intrigue and beautiful, but deadly, women.

Little did I know I'd becoming back to another Guy Hamilton film so soon after reviewing Live & Let Die, but here we are, Funeral in Berlin is the second in the series of Harry Palmer films starring Michael Caine and based around the 3rd book in Len Deighton's popular spy series.

Living up to the cinematic and stylish The Ipcress File was always going to be tough and this sequel sadly proves that assumption to be correct. There is promise at the start of the movie as Harry Palmer's roguish, non-old school tie, ex-army intelligence agent delivers some humorous and quotable lines in Caine's inimitable, iconic way, but this film soon gets so tied up in its own plot complexity that it cannot deliver the broad, stylish charisma that made The Ipcress File a (Michael Caine) classic.

All the way through this film feels closer to a LeCarre story than the typical hard-edge of Deighton's writing but thankfully not as dense and static as the same year's release of LeCarre's The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. The film bears a striking resemblance in pacing and plotting to The Quiller Memoramdum, both sharing a penchant for double dealings and international subterfuge.

In no way is this a bad movie, compared to most modern day spy 'efforts' this is both slick and well plotted, but when compared to it's predecessor maybe a little too slick, I encourage anyone who has not seen it to grab a copy and watch it, then watch again and then watch it a 3rd time to truly appreciate some of the intricacies of plot that you tend to miss on first and second viewing.


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