Thursday, 14 January 2016

The Quiller Memorandum.

How could any one shot a film, albeit in West Berlin, and not show or even mention the physical division that existed in Berlin from 1961 is beyond me. Maybe its because the film depended in part on American finance and that country refused to acknowledge that East Germany was a country in its own right – not unusual if you don’t agree with something ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist!

Directed by the British film director Michael Anderson, based on the novel The Berlin Memorandum by Elleston Trevor who wrote it under the pen name of Adam Hall, with a screenplay by Harold Pinter The Quiller Memorandum (1966) deals with the upsurge of support for neo-Nazism in post war Germany.  Quiller (George Segal) is brought back from vacation and posted to Berlin to locate the head quarters of Phoenix an underground organization that that still believes in the teachings of one Adolf Hitler and led by Oktober (Max von Sydow). When Quiller meets his controller Pol (Alec Guinness) it’s explained to him that the two previous agents tasked with the job have both met a sticky end. Refusing any assistance he sets out to locate the organization but during his investigations he meets a femme fatal in the shape of Inge Lindt (Senta Berger) who offers to help.

Other than Guinness none of the actors on display are very believable with Segal being the worst culprit enacting an unbelievably hammy performance.  Pinter script is as exciting as a wet week in Halifax and would barely rate as a decent B-movie script with its lack of any real exciting action sequences also unusually for this type of movie completely devoid of any narrative plot twists. To sum up the whole thing is unremarkable, boasting a particularly dull script and some really corny acting. Not a patch on Guy Hamilton’s Funeral in Berlin the same year but lets not forget that was written by Len Deighton and starred Michael Caine as Harry Palmer – now’s there’s a character you can believe in.   

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