The retRo pReview Re-viewing of..
highly recommended to check out the trailer and then read!
(warning: Contains profanity)
by Jeff Finck
The premise: Essentially, it's a young Michael Caine running around during the age of espionage, investigating the kidnappings and brainwashings of some scientists. But not just regular old scientists, "Top" and "British" scientists! Bad-assery ensues.
The trailer starts strong with a van, just crashing through the wall like the freaking Kool-Aid man! Words rip across the screen, letting us know that this "Spy Thriller" is "HOT!" And as Michael Caine's spy character, Harry Palmer, destroys several men's faces and egos, we also learn that this is "REAL!" Then the grainy footage paints us a picture of Harry pleading that he is being framed for.. something.. to a guy, that if he was standing in a mansion, would be the very epitome of "The butler did it!" Seeing as Harry Palmer is simply "too hot", the Butler drives off post-haste in his sweet, steering-wheel-is-on-the-funny-side-of-the-car car.
What will get everyone, including the hearing impaired, out of their seat with excitement is that some micro text printed on a strand of celluloid, says "IPCRESS"! And then this act is repeatedly shoved down our throats in case we thought that it was some unimportant gibberish. So, the movie scrawls "IPCRESS" on a red background, pissing off the bulls in the audience (and I don't mean coppers). Then, the very next shot is the all important, titular document: The IPCRESS File! IPCRESS could mean anything.. maybe it's an acronym. Maybe it's a place. Maybe it's a person.. it could be any one of these nouns. I'd like to think that it has something to do with a young man called Stanley Ipcress, a mild mannered bank clerk who finds a mystical mask that transforms his every id-inspired thought to manifest in all out debauchery. Of course, someone will probably steal this idea and change his name to something stupid, like Stanley Ipkiss or something. And then ruin it with a terrible sequel that had no business being made.. but I digress. All of that aside, even after showing us the word "IPCRESS" like a billion times, they drive in that last nail with even more official looking text, "THE IPCRESS FILE."
This is all very "Top Secret", and that point is driven home by the fact that we are all now staring at a mysterious figure aiming a gun directly at the audience, in such a way that if you even think of uttering the word "IPCRESS", he will blow out both of your eyes and spit directly into the wounds. Luckily, we dodge that bullet and our eyes and ears are taken on a tour of a library, following Harry Palmer and Uncle Fester. The voice over guy starts calling out the cast like it was Selective Service System! Then, without warning, an ambulance shows up, loaded with a whole bunch of criminals: Glasses Man, Normal Man, and Hat Man! And once again, the editor of the trailer feels that we still haven't figured out that this is The IPCRESS File or that it's all "Top Secret", so we are informed as such, once again.
The bad guys must have one upped Harry, somehow, because he is then tied to a chair in front of the movie Vertigo, being told by "Ill Shaped Head Man" to "forget all about the IPCRESS File." Harry's been tied up so long, and forced to watch Jimmy Stewart in Vertigo so many times that he starts sporting a scruffy beard and forgetting his name. (A scruffy beard, by the way, that if someone ever makes something called Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, it should star 23 year old Harrison Ford and he should have a beard JUST like this!) In a bout of excellent fortune, the voice over guy, redundantly, let's us know that the actor in this is "Michael Caine.. and no one will forget his name: Michael Caine!" V.O. man also let's us know that Harry is brash and cocky, and also has wry humor. We can tell because he wryly smiles and then brashly kicks in a door with his cock. More descriptors clue us in on his military history and sexual preferences. For instance, he was in the military. He also likes the ladies.. or at least stalks them. He definitely leers at them. He apparently likes shoving guns in Trouble's asshole. Unfortunately, Trouble is going to tail him until it knows he's clean.. and if he's not clean, Trouble is going to shove a gun in HIS asshole!
We are then introduced to 2 men. They are both solely responsible for the entire British Security Network. And if anyone knows anything about the BSN, it's that it is easily managed by 2 men. They're both equally secretive and look equally ridiculous in bowler hats. One of them likes using phrases like, "shell-like ear" and not letting anything "pass him by." The other likes giving ultimatums with no options. So.. really just.. you know.. demands. They both seem to be using Harry to their own end, however.. which could prove fatal. ..for.. I don't know.. someone. Another introduction sees us getting more familiar with possible double agent, Jean Courtney, played by Sue Lloyd. Juuuussst like a woman. Way to not progress Women's Rights, Jean Courtney!
So, we have a tale of intrigue, brainwashed British scientists, a ton of IPCRESS files, Michael Caine seducing double agents, Top Secret things, old British men playing spy, old British men playing cricket (probably, it wasn't in the trailer.. but it wasn't NOT anywhere else) and all for one purpose: the amusement of an all knowing, all seeing omnipotent "Man Behind the Curtain" we are led to believe exists. We get to play the role of Witness, and cringe and gasp as the "Stark" and "Dangerous" events unfold in front of our very eyes! The trailer let's us know that We. Are. Being. IPCRESSed. I don't know about you, but getting IPCRESSed sounds like someone jamming Lincoln Logs directly into your anus. And I'm not sure how I feel about that unless Michael Caine is personally IPCRESSing me. The trailer does end with the promise that Michael Caine will escape.. hopefully, through the screen, scruffy beard and all, by diving through The IPCRESS File and delivering the IPCRESS right into your home. ..and anus.
The trailer looks like two parts gritty spygame, mixed with one part mysogeny and a whole bottle of old British coots playing world wide chess with a Bond-onian file, simply known as IPCRESS. Some pretty sweet fight sequences and extremely hard to understand accents later, and we may have something worth watching here! Michael Caine always delights, and watching him as a grittier Connery is all the appeal I need to check this flick out! Say it with me: (with a British accent) Fingers Crossed!
Release Date: 8/2/1965