The setting is Cold War-divided Berlin where Quiller tackles a threat from a group of neo-Nazis who call themselves Phoenix. Thank God Segal is in it. The Berlin Memorandum, renamed The Quiller Memorandum, was published in 1965 by Elleston Trevor, who used the pseudonym Adam Hall. The scene shot in the gallery of London's Reform Club is particularly odious. "[4], The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 67% of critics have given the film a positive rating, based on 12 reviews, with an average score of 7.4/10. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree. To do his job George Segal's hapless Quiller must set himself out as bait in the middle of a pressure play in West Berlin. This well-drawn tale of espionage is set in West Berlin, 15 years after the end of WW II. Two British agents are murdered by a mysterious Neo-Nazi organization in West Berlin. Hes that good try the book and youll find out. Quiller befriends a teacher, Inge Lindt, whose predecessor at the school had been arrested for being a Neo-Nazi. I'm generally pretty forgiving of film adaptations of novels, but the changes that were made just do not make sense. Having just read the novel, it's impossible to watch this without its influence and I found the screen version incredibly disappointing. You HAVE been watching it carefully. As classic as it gets. Quiller admits to Inge that he is an "investigator" on the trail of neo-Nazis. It was from the quiller memorandum ending of the item, a failed nuclear weapons of Personalized Map Search. This movie belongs to the long list of the spy features of the sixties, and not even James Bond like movies, rather John Le Carr oriented ones, in the line of IPCRESS or ODESSA FILE, very interesting films for movie buffs in search of a kind of nostalgia and also for those who try to understand this period. In West Berlin, George Segal's Quiller struggles through a near- existential battle with Neo-Nazi swine more soulless than his own cold-fish handlers. Another characteristic of Halls style isthe ending of chapters with a cliff hanger. As explained by his condescending boss Pol (Alec Guinness), Quillers two unfortunate predecessors were getting too close to exposing the subterranean neo-Nazi cell known as Phoenix (get it? Released at a time when the larger-than-life type of spy movie (the James Bond series) was in full swing and splashy, satirical ones (such as "Our Man Flynt" and "The Silencers") were about to take off, this is a quieter, more down-to-earth and realistic effort. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. Segal plays a secret agent assigned to ferret out the headquarters of a Neo-Nazi movement in Berlin. Summaries In the West Berlin of the 1960s, two British agents are killed by a Nazi group, prompting British Intelligence to dispatch agent Quiller to investigate. First isthe protagonist himself. 2023's Most Anticipated Sequels, Prequels, and Spin-offs, Dirk Bauer . The protagonist, Quiller, is not a superhuman, like the James Bond types, nor does he have a satchel full of fancy electronic tricks up his sleeve. Pol dispatches a team to Phoenix's HQ, which successfully captures all of Phoenix's members. The Quiller Memorandum Reviews. As usual for films which are difficult to pin down . The Quiller Memorandum (1966) is one such film, and though it's one of the more obscure ones, it is also one of the better ones. What will Quiller do? And although Harold Pinters screenwriting for Quiller doesnt strike one as being classically Pinteresque, occasionally his distinct style reveals itself in pockets of suggestive menace where silence is often just as important as whats spoken. From that point of view, the film should be seen by social, architectural, and urban landscape historians. The burning question for Quiller is, how close is too close? Quiller has a love affair with Inge and they seek out the location of Oktober. With George Segal, Alec Guinness, Max von Sydow, Senta Berger. Newer. The book and movie made a bit of a splash in the spy craze of the mid-sixties, when James Bond and The Man From Uncle were all the rage. Quiller's assignment is to take over where Jones left off. The Quiller Memorandum, British-American spy film, released in 1966, that was especially noted for the deliberately paced but engrossing script by playwright Harold Pinter. Defiant undercover spy Quiller carries out a nervy , stealthy , prowling around Berlin in which he becomes involved into a risked cat and mouse game , being chased and hunted , by a strange and sinister leader , known only as Oktober (Max Von Sidow) . Special guests Sanders and Helpmann bring their special brand of haughty authority to their roles as members of British Intelligence. 15 years after the end of WW II. Directed by Michael Anderson; produced by Ivan Stockwell; screenplay by Harold Pinter; cinematography by Erwin Hiller; edited by Frederick Wilson; art direction by Maurice Carter; music by John Barry; starring George Segal, Max Von Sydow, Alec Guinness, Senta Berger, and guest stars George Stevens and Robert Helpmann. 2023 Variety Media, LLC. While the Harry Palmer films from 1965 to 1967 (Ipcress File, Funeral in Berlin, and Billion Dollar Brain) saw cockney Everyman Michael Caine nail the part of Palmer, who was the slum-dwelling, bespectacled antithesis to Sean Connerys martini-sipping sybarite. You are the hero of an extraordinary novel that shows how a spy works, how messages are coded and decoded, how contacts are made, how a man reacts under the influence of truth drugs, and that traces the story of a vastly complex, entertaining, convincing, and sinister plot. Your email address will not be published. Quiller reaches Pol's secret office in Berlin, one of the top floors in the newly built Europa-Center, the tallest building in the city, and gives them the location of the building where he met Oktober. In terms of style The Quiller books aretaut and written with narrative pace at the forefront. Quiller had the misfortune to hit cinemas hot on the heels of two first-rate examples of Bond backlash: Martin Ritts gritty The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and the first (and easily best) entry in the acclaimed Harry Palmer trilogy, The Ipcress File, both released in 1965. Two British agents are murdered by a mysterious Neo-Nazi organization in West Berlin. Older ; About; Quiller avoids answering Oktober's questions about Quiller's agency, until a doctor injects him with a truth serum, after which he reveals a few minor clues. Quiller slips out though a side door to the small garage yard where his car is kept. That way theres no-one to betray him to the other side. Quilleris a code name. Michael Sandlin is a writer and academic based in Houston, Texas. (UK title). Our hero delivers a running dialogue with his own unconscious mind, assessing the threats, his potential responses, his plans. After all, his characters social unease and affectless personality are presumably components of the movies contra-Bond commitment. Quiller asks after Jones at the bowling alley without success and the swimming pool manager Hassler tells him spectating is not allowed. Quiller then returns to his hotel, followed by the men who remain outside. Quiller confronts a man who seems to be following him, revealing that he (Quiller) speaks German fluently. He published over 50 novels as Elleston Trevor alone. I liked that the main character was ornery and tired and smart and still made mistakes and tried to see all possible outcomes at once and fought more against jumping to conclusions and staying alert and clear-headed than he did directly against the villains themselves. This isn't your standard spy film with lots of gunplay, outrageous villains, and explosions. I read a few of these many years ago when they first came out. I thought the ending was Quller getting one last meeting with the nice babe and sending a warning to any remaining Nazis that they are being watched. His Oktober does, however, serve as a one-man master class in hyperironic cordiality: Ah, Quiller! He is shot dead by an unseen gunman. - BH. Variety wrote that "it relies on a straight narrative storyline, simple but holding, literate dialog and well-drawn characters". It's not often that one wishes so much for a main character to get killed, especially by NAZI's. The only really interesting thing is the way we're left spoiler: click to read in the end. His two predecessors were killed off in their attempts, but he nevertheless proceeds with headstrong (perhaps even bullheaded) confidence without the aid of cover or even a firearm! His investigations (and baiting) lead him to a pretty schoolteacher (Berger) who he immediately takes a liking to and who may be of assistance to him in his quest. Have read a half dozen or so other "Quiller" books, so when I saw that Hoopla had this first story, I figured I should give it a listen to see how Quiller got started. Quiller tells Inge that they got most, but clearly not all, of the neo-Nazis. I read it in two evenings. Languid, some might say ponderous mid-60's British-made cold-war drama (it could scarcely be called a thriller, more "The Spy Who Came In From The Cold" than, say "Thunderball") that for all its longueurs, does have some redeeming features. Press J to jump to the feed. The original, primary mission has been completely omitted. Thought I'd try again and found this one a bit dated and dry - I will persevere with the series, Adam Hall (one of Elleston Trevor' many pseudonyms) wrote many classic spy stories, and this one is considered one of his best. This repackaging includes some worthwhile special features like an isolated score track and commentary by film historians Eddy Friedfeld and Lee Pfeiffer of Cinema Retro magazine to go with the new format. George Segal provides us with a lead character who is somewhat quirky in his demeanor, yet nonetheless effective in his role as an agent. He accepts the assignment and almost immediately finds that he is being followed. Quiller works for the Bureau, an arm of the British Secret Service so clandestinethat no-one knows itexists. In the following chapter the events have moved on beyond the crisis, instantly creating a how? question in your mind. What a difference to the ludicrous James Helm/Matt Bond (or is it the other way round?) Oktober reveals they are moving base the next day and that they have captured Inge. As Quiller revolves around a plot that's more monstrously twisted than he imagines it to be . But Quiller is an equal to a James Bond, or a George Smiley. This spy novel about neo-Nazis 1960's Berlin seemed dated and a little stilted to me. During the car chase scene, the cars behind Quiller's Porsche appear and disappear, and are sometimes alongside his car, on the driver's (left) side. Despite an Oscar nomination for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," Segal's strength lies in light comedy, and both his demeanor and physical build made him an unlikely pick for an action role, even if the film is short on action. Be the first to contribute. Despite an Oscar nomination for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," Segal's strength lies in light comedy, and both his demeanor and physical build made him an unlikely pick for an action role, even if the film is short on action. This isachievedviaQuillers first person perspective. I enjoyed the book. . Adam Hall/Elleston Trevor certainly produces the unexpected. Whats left most open to interpretation is Inges role in all this: was she a Janus-faced Nazi mole who used sex as a weapon to lead Quiller into a trap? Without knowing where they have taken him, and even if it is indeed their base of operations, Quiller is playing an even more dangerous game as in the process he met schoolteacher Inge Lindt, who he starts to fall for, and as such may be used as a pawn by the Nazis to get the upper hand on Quiller. The West had sent a couple of agents to find out their headquarters, but both are killed. The film starred George Segal in the lead role, with Alec Guinness supporting andwas nominated for three BAFTAs. Quiller investigates, but hes being followed and has been since the moment he entered Berlin. The story is ludicrous. While the rest of the cast (Alec Guinness, Max Von Sydow and George Sanders) are good and Harold Pinter tries hard to turn a very internal story into the visual medium, George Segal is totally miscast as Quiller. The screenwriter, Harold Pinter, no less, received an Edgar nomination. Book 4 stars, narration by Simon Prebble 4 stars. Watchable and intriguing as it occasionally is, enigmatic is perhaps the most apposite adjective you could use to describe the "action" within. Michael Anderson directs with his usual leaden touch. Because the books were written in the first person the reader learns very little about him, beyond his mission capability. . Cue the imposing Max Von Sydow as Nazi head honcho Oktober, whose Swedish accent is inflected with an Elmer Fudd-like speech impedimentthus achieving something like a serviceable German accent. But for today's audiences, those films are a bit old fashioned and not always very easy to follow, too much complicated. Quiller is eventually kidnapped and tortured by Oktober (Max von Sydow), the leader of Phoenix. He quickly becomes involved with numerous people of suspicious motives and backgrounds, including Inge (Senta Berger), a teacher at a school where a former Nazi war criminal committed suicide. He is the true faceless spy. Nimble, sharp-toothed and sometimes they have to bite and claw their way out of a dark hole. The quarry for all the work is old Nazi higher officials who are now hiding behind new names and plotting to return Germany to the glory days of the Third Reich, complete with a resurrected Fhrer twenty years after the end of WW II. Widescreen viewing is a must, if possible, if for no other reason than to fully glimpse the extraordinary stadium built by Hitler for the 1936 Olympic games. Its there to tackle the dirty jobs, and Quiller is the Bureaus go-to guy. The headmistress introduces him to a teacher who speaks English, Inge Lindt. By day, the city is presented so beautifully, it's hard to imagine that such ugly things are going on amidst it. A crisply written story that captured my attention from beginning to end. On paper, this film had all the makings of a potential masterpiece: youve got a marquee cast, headed up by George Segal, Max Von Sydow, and Alec Guinness, for starters. And he sustains the same high level of quality over the course of nineteen books. American agent Quiller (George Segal) arrives in Berlin and meets with his British handler Pol (Alec Guinness). , . (What with wanting to go to sleep and wanting to scream at the same time, this film does pose certain conflict problems.) In the West Berlin of the 1960s, two British agents are killed by a Nazi group, prompting British Intelligence to dispatch agent Quiller to investigate. Twist piles upon twist , as a British agent becomes involved in a fiendishly complicated operation to get a dangerous ringleader and his menacing hoodlums . They have lots of information about the film, but inexplicably take ten minutes to explain how the Cold War conflict between Communism and Capitalism relates to . I probably haven't yet read enough to be fully aware of what the typical Quiller characteristics are, but never mindthe key thing is that it was a pacy, intense and thrilling read. Hall (also known as Elleston Trevor and several other pseudonyms) seemed really to hate the Germans, or at least his character did. I too read the Quiller novels years ago and found them thrilling and a great middle ground between the super-spy Bond stories and the realism of Le Carre. Senta Berger was gorgeous! Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). When Quiller refuses to talk, Oktober orders his execution. The Wall Street Journal said it was one of the best espionage/spy series of all time. Writing in The Guardian, playwright David Hare described Pinters strengths as a dramatist perfectly: In the spare, complicated screenwriting of Pinter, yes, no and maybe become words which do a hundred jobs. Unfortunately, when it comes to the use of language in Quiller, less does not always function as more. In fact, Segal as Quiller can often feel like a case of simple miscasting, although not as egregious a lapse in judgment as, say, Segals choice to play a Times Square smackhead in 1971s Born to Win. 42 editions. They both go to the building, whereupon they are captured. Like Harry Palmer, Quiller is a stubborn individualist who has some rather inflated ideas of being his own man and is contemptuous of his controlling stuffed-shirt overlords. Movie Info After two British Secret Intelligence Service agents are murdered at the hands of a cryptic neo-Nazi group known as Phoenix, the suave agent Quiller (George Segal) is sent to Berlin to. But soon he finds that she has been kidnapped and Oktober gives a couple of hours to him to give the location of the site; otherwise Inge and him will be killed. ): as a result, they were summarily bumped off with stereotypical German precision. Inga is unrecognizable and has been changed to the point of uselessness. Nobel prizes notwithstanding I think Harold Pinter's screenplay for this movie is pretty lame, or maybe it's the director's fault. On the other hand, the female lead is played by the charming Senta Berger, then aged 25, who does very well, and manages to be enigmatic, and gets just the right tone for the story. The cast is full of familiar faces: Alec Guinness, who doesn't have much of a role, George Sanders, who has even less of one, Max von Sydow in what was to become a very familiar part for him, Robert Helpmann, Robert Flemyng, and the beautiful, enigmatic Senta Berger. For example operatives are referred to as ferrets, and thats what they are. The Chief of the Secret Service Pol (Alec Guinness) summons the efficient agent Quiller (George Segal) to investigate the location of organization's headquarter. Submissions should be for the purpose of informing or initiating a discussion, not just to entertain readers. He also works alone and without contacts. And the legendary John Barrycomposer of the original Bond themeprovides appropriately haunting incidental music here. The book is built around a continual number of reveals. Harold Pinter was nominated for an Edgar Award in the Best Motion Picture category, but also didn't win. And, the final scene (with her and Segal) is done extremely well (won't spoil it for those who still wish to see itit fully sums up the film, the tension filled times and cold war-era Germany). The brawny headmistress points Quiller in the direction of Inge (Senta Berger), who happens to be the only English-speaking teacher at the school. But the writing was sloppy and there was a wholly superfluous section on decoding a cipher, which wasn't even believable. 1966's The Quiller Memorandum is a low-key gem, a pared-down, existential spy caper that keeps the exoticism to a minimum. The film is ludicrous. This demonstration using familiar breakfast food items serves to stimulate the American spys brainwaves into serious operative mode. Quiller meets his controller for this mission, Pol, at Berlin's Olympia Stadium, and learns that he must find the headquarters of Phoenix, a neo-Nazi organization. Quiller, a British agent who works without gun, cover or contacts, takes on a neo-Nazi underground organization and its war criminal leader. The characters and dialog are well-written and most roles are nicely acted. When Quiller passes out at a traffic stop, the other car pulls alongside and abducts him. Segals laconic, stoop-shouldered Quiller is a Yank agent on loan to the British government to replace the latest cashiered Anglo operative in West Berlin. Before long, his purposefully clumsy nosing around leads to his capture and interrogation by a very elegantly menacing von Sydow, who wants to know where Segal's own headquarters is!
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