50th anniversary of The Ipcress File

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If the on-line excitement in response to teaser images from Spectre, the 24th James Bond film, is anything to go by, we’ve lost none of our fascination with the Bond franchise. Spectre promises to have a stripped back, almost retro feel, as evidenced by images of ditching his tailor made suit in favour of a black turtleneck and leather shoulder holster, harking back to previous Bond incarnations in From Russia With Love (1963) and You Only Love Twice (1967).

If you don’t want to wait until Spectre’s scheduled release at the end of this year for a dose of retro spy thrills, look no further than The Ipcress File, which celebrated its fiftieth anniversary this week.

Based on the 1962 debut novel of the same name by Len Deighton, The Ipcress File hit UK cinemas on March 18, 1965. It was nominated for a Palme d’Or at the 1965 Cannes Film Festival and won the BAFTA for best British film the same year. The British Film Institute lists it number 59 on the hundred best British film of the 20th Century.

The Ipcress File was a major success for Canadian born director, Sidney J Furie (another being Lady Sings the Blues starring Diana Ross in 1972). Harry Saltzman, who helped oversee the Bond franchise, produced it.

Although not nearly as well known as Bond, The Ipcress File influenced a string of subsequent British espionage films. Its mood and sense of pace were also reportedly used as a model for the US TV series, Mission Impossible, which went to air the following year. The film launched the big screen career of hitherto unknown actor Michael Caine.

You can read the rest of my 50th anniversary tribute to The Ipcress File, on the Daily Review site here.

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