Movie Diary 8/9/2021

The Ipcress File (Sidney J. Furie, 1965). Michael Caine’s big breakthrough movie, as a spy in heavy eyeglasses. The plot, carried over from a Len Deighton novel, is not especially scintillating, and Furie’s direction is a series of arty shots from wacky angles. But the movie is helped along immeasurably by Caine’s confident presence and John Barry’s mid-60s spy-picture score. The main theme is played on the cimbalom, lending that Cold War Europe zing to things. The various analog devices are a feast for the eyes and ears (I don’t mean 007-style trick cameras, but just good old rotary public phones), and there’s a great scene with Caine in an American-style supermarket, a hellish place for barbarians.