Funeral in Berlin" is second in a series of movies, made from Len Deighton's books, starring Michael Caine. Like the others, it's produced by Harry Saltsman, playing hookey from his better-known James Bond 007 series. It's directed by Guy Hamilton, also playing hookey from James Bond. The Scottish Sean Connery has said that Hamilton, also a Scot, was his favorite among the 007 directors: they shared that sly sense of humor, and, indeed, it's to be enjoyed in "Funeral in Berlin" as well. The cold war plot concerns a powerful Russian Colonel, who's signaled London that he wishes to defect, and, has, as a theater of operations, divided, crawling-with-spies Berlin. So there Michael Caine's character, Harry Palmer, is sent, right back to the scene of his World War II crimes, where he had served in the Quartermasters' Corps. Right back to his former associates in those shady enterprises: they have all grown rich, while the British have forced him into spying to stay out of jail. Palmer, naturally, has had previous dealings with Colonel Stok, and does not believe for a moment that the shrewd Russian actually intends to defect; but he can't make London see his point of view. So off he goes, to call again on his former associates. He'll also find himself dealing with Mossad, the Israeli Secret Service; they too are interested in these proceedings. They will set one of their own as Samantha Steel, fashion model, to quickly find Palmer irresistible and then monitor his activities. "Funeral" is well cast. As "Colonel Stok," Oskar Homulka is reliably Oskar Homulka. Paul Hubschmid does well as "Johnny Vulkan." Guy Doleman ably reprises his role as "Ross" from "Ipcress." Caine, of course, was at the height of his powers, and his looks. Eva Renzi, German-born, is qualified to play "Samantha," Palmer's love interest, although, as is typical of Saltsman's casting of females, she hadn't much of a career otherwise. (Nor did she have a long career, as she recently died, rather young, having been married to one of her co-stars from this movie.) The movie is quite entertaining, and it moves fast. The plot has lots of surprises, the color photography's excellent, catching the ambiance of an anxious Berlin. Unfortunately, "Funeral" is out of print, and hard to find. If you want it, you'll have to dig for it.
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