Billion Dollar Brain

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One of Russell's most enjoyable movies, completely free of the pretentious bombast that has become his trademark, so that its meaning is embodied in the narrative rather than imposed on it with a directorial sledgehammer. This was the third and last of Caine's appearances as Len Deighton's Harry Palmer, dominated by Russell's skill and visual flair. The plot is a particularly good one about a fascist Texan general called Midwinter (Begley) who plans the invasion of Russia with the aid of a computer and his own private army (the computer has a screen personality almost as distinctive and pleasing as Hal's in 2001). In an excellent supporting cast, Homolka is outstanding as the Russian general who collaborates with Palmer to prevent the war, and Russell ingeniously constructs the invasion as a parody of the famous ice-breaking sequence in Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky.

By: DP

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