Movie Diary 5/31/2021

The Quiller Memorandum (Michael Anderson, 1966). I had never seen this one, and I’m prepping a somewhat spy-related show for my next radio episode, and John Barry is on the case here. The movie has cool West Berlin location shooting (characters duck into a bar and suddenly you’re in a Fassbinder space), and some exchanges where you can tell the Harold Pinter screenplay was actually written by Harold Pinter. We also get Alec Guinness, Max von Sydow, and George Sanders playing the spy game, which involves the rise of neo-Nazis (or maybe they were just still Nazis). Senta Berger, too. The thing that knocks it off balance is George Segal in the lead role; I like Segal, but he seems to be there to add humor, and you sort of wish this story (weirdly straightforward for a spy picture) didn’t have humor. Also, Segal doesn’t seem to be a particularly good spy. There is no memorandum, as far as I can remember.

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