Cold war chiller that cuts no ice as a spy flick. Karl Malden did better work in San Francisco; Ed Begley chews more scenery than the entire state of Texas and even the Brain phones in its part. Interior sets appear to be recycled from other Harry Saltzman productions. Just about everything looks borrowed.
Ridiculous plot, and Michael Caine seems to be phoning it in, especially in the first half. But Russell's over-the-top attitude to the set-pieces and design lend it a camp flair that puncture the second-rate Bond stylings of the script. And the final hour, climaxing in a updating of the end of Eisenstein's ALEXANDER NEVSKY, is truly breath-taking.
One of the strangest films ever made. It seems awful, but then you can't forget it at all. Harry Palmer on acid, but an eerie and lasting acid at that. It really doesn't make much sense at all and doesn't need to. Eggs? The main title theme will get stuck in your head.