Girls always make passes at spies who wear glasses. Horn rims. Cockney wit. Iron fists. That’s how this was trailed and why not? Harry Palmer is a legend and not just of film. Len Deighton is one of the best writers in the English language, Michael Caine is one of my favourite actors so this combo with its lo-fi take on the antics of MI6 and their ilk was always high on my radar of go-to movies. The first in the series, The Ipcress File, was a masterpiece. A year or so later this appeared under the direction of Guy Hamilton who had a little form in the area – he made the great James Bond film Goldfinger (1964). He would go on to do Diamonds are Forever, The Man With the Golden Gun and Live and Let Die. He would also film one of Deighton’s pet subjects, The Battle of Britain. Deighton’s writing is effortless (to read) – sleight of hand manoeuvering of plot mechanics with a vocabulary that seems to glide from chapter to chapter: he may be the most stylish of modern writers with an enviable grasp of history and a Renaissance man’s culture. Evan Jones’ screenplay brilliantly captures its essence and we are transported to a rebuilt Berlin with its tower blocks and modernist hotels and interiors, production designed by Ken Adam. It’s spy versus spy and the beautiful woman is played by Eva Renzi. Bliss.