The Ipcress File
Time Out says
Deighton’s plot is a mild headache of deceit and double-dealing that glides stylishly and with much wit around Caine’s Sergeant Palmer, a cocky London bachelor and middle-ranking scion of the MoD’s counter-espionage department. Palmer is redeployed from the command of one stuffy chief to another in order to investigate a mysterious ‘brain drain’ of government scientists and along the way discovers a suspicious reel of 8mm film that, it turns out, has mind-wiping properties. After much dashing about the capital’s streets, Palmer soon finds himself as much victim as investigator.
Director Sidney J Furie’s indulgence of the queer manners of an army-based British spy culture remains seductive, as does Caine’s rash character, a mild flirt who is proud of his cooking skills (a superior calls him ‘insubordinate… insolent… a trickster… perhaps with criminal properties…’). More quaint is the film’s dated science. Talk of ‘proto-proton-scattering experiments’ and the use as psychological torture of what looks now like a mildly annoying multi-screen barrage of sound and light at an ICA club night is more comic than scary. ‘Intensify the treatment,’ mutters a wayward scientist. Oh no, we fear, here comes Dr Evil himself – an experimental Czech VJ!