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The Ipcress File Funeral in Berlin Billion Dollar Brain Bullet to Beijing Midnight in St Petersburg

 

 


Official synopsis Funeral in Berlin

 


For ex-Army corpora,1 Harry Palmer (Michael Caine), the spy game is an acceptable alternative to a lengthy prison sentence. A clever but risky scrape during his military service had put Palmer behind bars, and Colonel Ross (Guy Doleman), now his M.I.S. superior, had got him out. Palmer's dubious talents have been redirected for the benefit of Queen, Country and Ross, but his motives for accepting the spy mantle remain very personal-30 pounds a week and all expenses paid. Live-and-Iet-live might be a hackneyed day to day philosophy but it works admirably for Palmer; or at least it had up to the time Ross gave him the Berlin assignment.

Colonel Stok (Oscar Homolka) of Russian Intelligence and the man in charge of the Berlin Wall security, is thinking of defecting to the West. Palmer is given the alias Edmond Dorf, a ladies' underwear salesman, by Hallam (Hugh Burden) of the Home Office; in a matter of a few hours, Palmer is met at Tempelhof Airport by his former blackmarketeering colleague, now a British agent, Johnny Vulkan (Paul Hubschmid). Vulkan has arranged an immediate meeting with Stok in East Berlin, and Palmer comes fa,ce to face with the unexpectedly human Russian officer after a quiet passage through Checkpoint Charlie and a rough car ride with three brutish VOPOS. Palmer questions Stok's sincerity after trapping him in a lie. Eventually Stok declares that his department is being investigated and he is being watched. Stok in-sists on a foolproof method of escape, organized by "a professional like Kreutzmann".

Palmer's assignment now adopts a complex pattern. His suspicions of Stok have been aroused rather than allayed by their meeting. Upon his return to the Western Sector he is picked up by a beautiful woman who introduces herself as Samantha Steel (Eva Renzi), a,n American model. While Palmer is meeting Kreutzmann (Gunter Meisner) and his henchmen and agreeing to .pay them 20,000 pounds and supply documents in exchange for the safe delivery of Stok, petty thief Otto Rukel (Klaus Jepsen) is ransack-ing Samantha's flat on PaImer's instruction. And Palmer further complicates matters by trying to call Stok's bluff with a fake escape, which only helps prove that Stok's intention of defection is genuine. Ross criticizes Palmer for his crass stupidity and orders him back to Berlin with the escape fee and documents, provided once again by Hallam of the Home Office. What Palmer does discover about Samantha, is that she works for Israeli Intelligence, attempting to recoup money secreted in Swiss bank accounts by Nazi war criminals. In fact, the documents given to Palmer for Kreutzmann belonged to such a Nazi, Paul Louis Broum, a,nd Samantha assures Palmer that she will, if necessary, kill him to get them. He again meets Kreutzmann, pays him half the escape fee and promises the remainder, plus the documents, on receipt of Stok.

Kreutzmann's escape plan proves his professionalism and unique facility for duping the Russians. He kills an unsuspecting old East German, arranges his funeral in the Western Sector, and deftly switches hearses so that Stok can travel across the Checkpoint in the coffin. East German and Russian police and soldiers act a,s pall-bearers and Kreutzmann's men, Artur (Herbert Fux) and Werner (Wolf-gang Volz) are mourners. They cross to the West, and in a deserted garage open the coffin in front of Palmer and Johnny Vulkan. Inside is the dead body of Kreutzmann. Artur and Werner believe they have been double-crossed and try to kill Palmer. But it is Vulkan who unexpectedly changes sides and knocks out Palmer. Kreutzmann's henchmen take the remaining 10,000 pound payment from Palmer's coat, while Vulkan claims the Broum documents which, it is now revealed, wa,s his original plan. Before Vulkan can make good his escape, however, Samantha again intervenes and wrests the documents from him. Vulkan convinces Palmer that another member of Kreutzmann's gang knocked him out and together they go to report their failure to Ross who ha,s come to Berlin to receive Stok. Palmer's meeting with Ross produces yet another surprise: Ross learns for the first time that the documents taken by Palmer for Kreutzmann are Broum's; and Palmer discovers from the ever secretive Ross that Vulkan in fact is Broum.

Palmer has to admit that not only has he lost the 20,000 pounds, but the documents as well. "Then get rid of Vulkan", says Ross, indifferently. "Without those documents, he's no use to me. Kill him." For the first time, agent Harry Palmer finds himself faced with a terrifying moral issue. Palmer relies on his own Cockney intelligence and beliefs in common decency to produce a surprising solution. And simultaneously, he also unravels the complex undercover operations played out around the Berlin Wall by the melange of international agents, double agents and one-time innocents.


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