Alfred Hitchcock’s THE LADY VANISHES Decoded

Podcast Episode

Alfred Hitchcock’s THE LADY VANISHES Decoded

We decode the Hitchcock movie THE LADY VANISHES. What movies has this influenced? Did you know Hitchcock used this much humor? and more...

Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes was released in 1938 and is based, in part, on the book “The Wheel Spins”. It has been remade three times for the big screen and television.

As the title implies, a lady vanishes while on a train. This movie is full of intrigue and is a fantastic spy story. So, once again, a train is a key location for a spy movie and here, it is vital for the story. Music is also a key piece to this movie as well. Listen to find out more!

The Lady Vanishes has more humor than most Hitchcock movies. And, the characters Charters and Caldicott appear in this movie for comic relief. They were so successful that they appeared in other movies in the future.

An interesting trivia question is asked about one of the actors in this episode! See if you know the answer!

So, join Dan and Tom as they decode The Lady Vanishes: Plot and scene analysis, new discoveries, and what movies had this movie influenced or how it was influenced by other spy movies. It is a fun journey!

You can find all of our podcast episodes on our Podcast page.

If you haven’t seen this movie it is available at no cost on YouTube.

Among the topics we decode from The Lady Vanishes:

  • The influence of Agatha Christie
  • Trains in spy movies
  • The opening set
  • The Hays Code and how Hitchock plays with it
  • The flowerpot
  • The use of music
  • Harriman’s Tea
  • The conspiracy
  • and More …

 


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Q Planes (1939) – aka Clouds Over Europe

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Alfred Hitchcock’s NOTORIOUS Decoded!

Podcast Episode

Alfred Hitchcock’s NOTORIOUS Decoded!

Today we decode a Hitchcock classic, NOTORIOUS with our special co-host Bill Koenig of The Spy Command.

Dinner parties, cocktail parties, tuxedos, espionage, World War II war criminals, love, deception, murder, infiltration, and secret plans are all in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1946 spy movie, NOTORIOUS!

Today we decode this Hitchcock classic, NOTORIOUS with our special co-host, Bill Koenig of The Spy Command!  Bill joined us on our February 1st 2022 episode when we decoded The Man Who Knew Too Much.

This is a fun discussion on a fantastic spy movie.

Comments/Feedback: Info@SpyMovieNavigator.com

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THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH – Decoded!

Dan and Tom are joined by Bill Koenig of The Spy Command website. We decode both versions of the Hitchcock classic The Man Who Knew Too Much!

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Watch the Video Version of this podcast Join Dan and Tom and they take a fresh look into one of the more significant spy movies of the 1960s, The IPCRESS File.

Interview with author Tony Lee Moral on Hitchcock’s NOTORIOUS

Dan and Tom talk about Hitchcock's classic spy movie, NOTORIOUS, with Tony Lee Moral, author of three Alfred Hitchcock books, with a fourth, "Alfred Hitchcock: The Storyboards" available September 2022.

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A NOTORIOUS interview with Tony Lee Moral

Dan and Tom talk about Hitchcock’s classic spy movie, NOTORIOUS, with Tony Lee Moral.  Tony is the author of three Alfred Hitchcock books, with a fourth, “Alfred Hitchcock: The Storyboards” available September 2022. His previous books on Hitchcock are: They can be ordered on Amazon by clicking on the title above.  Note: Spy Movie Navigator has no affiliation with Amazon or the author and receives no compensation if you click the above links.
Interview with author Tony Lee Moral on Hitchcock’s NOTORIOUS

Podcast Episode

Interview with author Tony Lee Moral on Hitchcock’s NOTORIOUS

Dan and Tom talk about Hitchcock's classic spy movie, NOTORIOUS, with Tony Lee Moral, author of three Alfred Hitchcock books, with a fourth, "Alfred Hitchcock: The Storyboards" available September 2022.

Dan and Tom talk about Hitchcock’s classic spy movie, NOTORIOUS, with Tony Lee Moral.  Tony is the author of three Alfred Hitchcock books, with a fourth, “Alfred Hitchcock: The Storyboards” available September 2022.

His previous books on Hitchcock are:

They can be ordered on Amazon by clicking on the title above.  Note: Spy Movie Navigator has no affiliation with Amazon or the author and receives no compensation if you click the above links.

 

 

In this podcast, we discuss the following with Tony Lee Moral in regard to Notorious:

  • Tony’s background and upcoming book: “Alfred Hitchcock: The Storyboards”
  • The guilty woman, Hitchcock’s relationship with Ingrid Bergman
  • Hitchcock’s relationship with Cary Grant
  • The MacGuffin in Notorious
  • The domineering mother
  • Hitchcock’s famous shots from Notorious
  • and more …

 


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ALL THE OLD KNIVES First Reactions – No Spoilers

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ALL THE OLD KNIVES First Reactions – No Spoilers

Listen as Dan, Tom, and Vicky share their first reactions of the movie ALL THE OLD KNIVES. Is it worth a watch? This is a no-spoiler discussion.

The espionage movie ALL THE OLD KNIVES, was released April 8, 2022, in the US on Amazon Prime Video.   In this movie, two CIA agents and ex-lovers (Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton) are brought back together years after a failed rescue attempt – and forced to blur the lines between profession and passion in this deeply riveting tale of global espionage, moral dilemma, and deadly betrayal.

Is it worth a watch?   We discuss our preview of the movie before it was released with NO SPOILERS – so listen and enjoy and get a few tips for your viewing enjoyment!

Check out our “Interview w/Director & Screenwriter for ALL THE OLD KNIVES” episode for more.

Ideas: Info@SpyMovieNavigator.com

Dan, Tom, and Vicky share their no-spoiler reactions to the following from All the Old Knives:

  • The Cast
  • The lighting
  • The sounds
  • The impact of the flashbacks
  • Whether they think it is worth your time (hint, we’ve placed this movie in our Best of the Rest category)
  • And more …

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All The Old Knives – Interview

When the CIA discovers one of its agents leaked information that cost more than 100 people their lives, veteran operative Henry Pelham (Chris Pine) is assigned to root out the mole from among his former officemates at the agency’s Vienna station. His investigation takes him from Austria to England to California, where he is reunited with his one-time colleague and ex-lover Celia Harrison (Thandiwe Newton). The pair are forced to blur the lines between profession and passion in this riveting tale of global espionage, moral ambiguity and deadly betrayal. Directed by acclaimed Danish director Janus Metz and written by Olen Steinhauer, the film also stars Laurence Fishburne and Jonathan Pryce.
Interview w/Director & Screenwriter for ALL THE OLD KNIVES!

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Interview w/Director & Screenwriter for ALL THE OLD KNIVES!

This episode features the Director of the film, ALL THE OLD KNIVES, Janus Metz, and the Screenwriter and also the author of the novel of the same name, Olen Steinhauer!  

The new espionage movie ALL THE OLD KNIVES, has a release date of April 8, 2022, in the US on Amazon Prime Video.

We interview the Director of the film, ALL THE OLD KNIVES, Janus Metz, and the Screenwriter and also the author of the novel of the same name, Olen Steinhauer!

In this movie, two CIA agents and ex-lovers (Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton) are brought back together years after a failed rescue attempt – and forced to blur the lines between profession and passion in this deeply riveting tale of global espionage, moral dilemma, and deadly betrayal.  Add Laurence Fishburne and Jonathan Pryce and you have one star-studded cast.

Join us for this fascinating talk!   How’d they get the title?  The cast?

Or watch and listen to this fascinating interview on our Cracking the Code of Spy Movies YouTube channel 

Check out our “ALL THE OLD KNIVES First Reactions – No Spoilers” episode to hear our thoughts on the movie (available April 6th).

Ideas:Info@SpyMovieNavigator.com

 

In our no-spoiler discussion of the movie All the Old Knives with director Janus Metz and screenwriter Olen Steinhauer, we discuss:

  • The chaotic first 45-seconds of the movie
  • How Olen Steinhauer turned his novel “All the Old Knives” into a screenplay
  • The use of flashbacks
  • The importance of the Director of Photography
  • How COVID impacted filming
  • How they shot airplane interiors
  • The importance of family to the story
  • The cast (Chris Pine, Thandiwe Newton, Laurence Fishbourne, and Jonathan Pryce)
  • And more …

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Steven Saltzman – An interview with the Executive Producer of THE IPCRESS FILE 6-part series!

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Steven Saltzman – An interview with the Executive Producer of THE IPCRESS FILE 6-part series!

Dan and Tom interview Steven Saltzman, Executive Producer for the THE IPCRESS FILE series. Listen to hear about the making of the series.

Steven Saltzman joins us today to discuss the 6-part TV series THE IPCRESS FILE, that is out now.  Steven is an Executive Producer of the series.  He joins us today to give us the exclusive inside scoop on the Hows and Whys of THE IPCRESS FILE series production!

THE IPCRESS FILE series through is now showing in some countries, will show in the US on AMC+ and stars Joe Cole as Harry Palmer, Tom Hollander as Major Dalby, Lucy Boynton as Jean Courtney, David Dencik as Colonel Stok and other great cast members as well!

Steven is the son of Harry Saltzman who co-produced the first nine Eon Productions James Bond movies.  Harry also, in the mid 1960s, produced the first three Harry Palmer movies based on Len Deighton’s books, THE IPCRESS FILE, FUNERAL IN BERLIN, and BILLION DOLLAR BRAIN.

So, join us with our discussion with Steven Saltzman!

Ideas? Info@SpyMovieNavigator.com

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  • The origins of the series
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  • The cinematography
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The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934 & 1956)

The Man Who Knew Too Much is a classic Alfred Hitchcock spy movie. Actually, it is two different movies.  Hitchcock released a version of this movie in 1934, starring Leslie Bands, Edna Best, and Peter Lorre.  He decided to release a new version in 1956, this time starring Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day.  His quote about the movies was that the “first version is the work of a talented amateur, and the second was made by a professional”.  Yes, both movies were directed by Hitchcock.

The overarching story is the same in the two versions of this suspense thriller, although there are many differences in the details.   A child is kidnapped to keep his father and successful mother quiet about an assassination the man has been warned about.  There are numerous twists throughout the movie.

In the 1956 version, Hitchcock took the time to educate his protagonist, as well as his audience about some of the cultural aspects of Morocco.  A British or American audience member was likely be as unfamiliar with some of these cultural aspects, just as Jimmy Stewart’s character Dr. Benjamin McKenna was.

It is interesting to watch both versions as most people will like parts of each movie vs. the other.

THE IPCRESS FILE Series Launched! Is it worth your time?

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THE IPCRESS FILE Series Launched! Is it worth your time?

We've had the opportunity to view all 6 episodes of this monumental series. Dan, Tom, and Vicky share their no-spoilers insights here!

“The Ipcress File” 6-part series has launched in the UK through ITV as of March 6, 2022!

Our Cracking the Code of Spy Movies team has had the opportunity to view all 6 episodes of this monumental series, & we share our no-spoilers insights here!  We don’t always agree & we let you know what we liked and what we wish was different. Take a listen.

The Ipcress File” will be released in many other countries soon:

AMC+ in the US,
Seven Network in Australia
Now TV in Hong Kong
Tohokushinsha in Japan and
Lionsgate Play in India, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

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  • Series cast – how did they do
  • Call-backs to the book, the movie and other movies
  • What we liked
  • Areas of disagreement
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Spy Movie Navigator Recap of ITV’s: “The Ipcress File” Press Conference

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

Posted on
ITV is set to release its new series based on the Len Deighton book, "The Ipcress File".  In advance of the release, ITV hosted a press conference and has released a trailer.  You can see this trailer here on YouTube (ITV - The Ipcress File Official Trailer). The series, which will air starting in March 2022, will be released on ITV in the UK, AMC+ in the US, Seven Network in Australia, Now TV in Hong Kong, Tohokushinsha in Japan, and Lionsgate Play in India, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato from SpyMovieNavigator.com had the wonderful opportunity to attend a press briefing for the "The Ipcress File" TV series hosted by ITV.

Spy Movie Navigator’s Previous Analysis of the Movie The Ipcress File

In August of 2020, Spy Movie Navigator released our podcasts on the Harry Saltzman-produced movie of the Len Deighton book, "The Ipcress File". These podcasts were very well received throughout the world, thank you to our audience for that. Then, later that year, ITV announced that they obtained the right to produce a tv series based on the book. In those podcasts, we talked about what we liked, and what we wished was different in the movie. Specifically, we called out
  1. The use of Harry’s glasses to bring things in and out of focus
  2. The fact that Jean’s role wasn’t very well developed, and we wanted to see more of her story
  3. The trickery of the camera shots bothered Tom, Dan liked them
  4. The fact that the atoll part of the book wasn’t in the movie. We didn’t know this was a problem until we read the book.
As we discuss our experience here at the press conference, you will see why we are so excited about this series.

Why The Series Excites Us

We can’t wait as there was a lot in the book that they couldn’t show in the movie with Michael Caine. This series gives them a lot more time to flesh things out. The movie, The Ipcress File, ran 1 hour and 49 minutes – so they will have more time here in the series for sure. This is an exciting series whose six episodes have been shot already in Liverpool England and Croatia. It promises to be an outstanding series, starring Joe Cole (of “Peaky Blinders” fame) as Harry Palmer, Tom Hollander as Major Dalby, Lucy Boynton as Jean Courtney, Ashely Thomas as Maddox, Paul Bazely as Morris, David Dencik as Colonel Stok, and Tamla Kari as Deborah. Tom Hollander was just in The King’s Man. He was also in Bohemian Rhapsody with Lucy Boynton. David Dencik played Tom’s favorite character in No Time To Die, Valdo Obruchev. He also was in Tinker Tailor, Soldier Spy. And we can’t wait to see Joe Cole after his roles as John Shelby in “Peaky Blinders” and Sean Wallace in “Gangs of London.”  Ashley Thomas played Isaac Carter in the TV series “24: Legacy”. It will also be good to see Paul Bazely and Tamla Kari tackling a spy movie. This is a tremendous cast, and in the press briefing we were able to see some of the clips from the series, and wow! The acting is superb, but so in the condemnatorily, sets and ambiance of recreating a 1960s England and setting. Of course, “The Ipcress File” is based on the works of Len Deighton, and we remember the 1960s movie trilogy starring Michael Caine as Harry Palmer in The Ipcress File, Funeral in Berlin, and Billion Dollar Brain. We have podcasts out on all three of those movies (Podcast links: The Ipcress File, Funeral in Berlin, and Billion Dollar Brain). The character, Harry Palmer, is offered an opportunity to be a spy, versus serving prison time and that is the basis of his personality and interactions with his boss, Major Dalby. Caine was superb. But the 1960s was a long time ago, and not much has been done with Harry Palmer since, other than a couple of made-for-TV movies that were not that well received. So, now we move to the present!

Press Conference Attendees & Discussion

The meeting was expertly hosted by Boyd Hilton, and in attendance were actors Joe Cole, Lucy Boynton, Tom Hollander, Ashley Thomas, John Hodge (the writer), and James Watkins (the series Director). John Hodge, the writer, suggested that this is a great spy story, embracing social mobility and class, glass ceilings, and more. He is a fan of the books and said that it was appealing to turn this into a 6-part TV series. He also suggests that the tone will be humor, the warmth of human interaction, the feeling of humanity, highlighting small moments – human weaknesses and strengths. He came back to the theme of humanity multiple times in the discussion so this seems like it will be very important to watch out for. We at SpyMovieNavigator.com wonder how much detail will be presented in the series since the movie in 1965 was about 109 minutes. Here they have a series of 6 episodes which will afford them a lot more time to develop the storyline and characters. We very much would like to see the atoll appear in the series.  That whole part of the book wasn’t in the movie, and we want to see what they do with it. It was our favorite part of the book.

LUCY BOYNTON

Lucy Boynton gave us her insights and said that her character, Jean Courtney, is an interesting woman in the 1960s liberation environment – a very interesting era. Here, we may find out more about Jean's personal life. She was an intriguing character in the book but limited. In this series, we will see more of her personality and her in an expanded professional role. They reminded us that the book is written in the first person. Remember, Harry was the first person in the novel and didn’t get a name until the film. Therefore, some of the characters, including Jean need to have their roles expanded, which they do here. So that’s one of the things we mentioned we’d like to have seen in the movie. We’ll get that here. Two things Lucy Boynton said about Jean that grabbed our attention were “She uses that societal underestimation of young women to her advantage” and “She’s such a commentary on what it’s like to be a woman in a male-dominated industry.” As for the first quote, Lucy Boynton also mentioned that Jean can hide in plain sight. She also tells us that in the book and the movie, Jean is Harry’s assistant. However, in the series, Jean is an agent in her own right and is “bloody good at what she does.

ASHLEY THOMAS

Ashley Thomas, who plays Maddox, fleshes out the character of an African American in the 1960s – a very capable man with twists and turns - who is in a position of power, so it is interesting to explore this dynamic of an African American in that time. In the series, he has a sense of humor, smiles during some tense moments which relives the serious scenes a bit. Ashley said that he approaches each character with respect (accents, back story, etc.) and wanted to get that unique perspective on 1960s African Americans. He also liked the fish and chips in Liverpool where they filmed a lot of this series.  We like to hear comments like this in press briefings.  It lets us learn more about the talent involved in the production. Ashley talks about how his character is expanded, especially for an African American in a time of racial oppression. He said they made “sure these things were addressed, and I wasn’t just shoehorned into the series. So, I was really excited with what John and James had come up with for the character. He’s a very capable man and many people who are African American or just black whether in the UK or in the US are very capable. Given the state of society at that time weren’t given those opportunities.” He then says “He’s in a position of power. He’s going to have to be very good, if not better than some of his counterparts to be in those positions.” He mentions how black people were often not shown in positions of power in that period. They then commented that his first onscreen line is “Yes, that’s right, I’m black”. So, with both Jean and Maddox, the humanity that John Hodge talks about will come through.

TOM HOLLANDER

Tom Hollander, playing Major Dalby said it was a strong script by John Hodge – witty, economical, authentic to the period, while still making things fresh. Dalby, he thinks, is a “headmaster” type – complicated and slightly jaded. He looked at the script, looked at the original film but did not finish the book. We like that Hollander says that Dalby was fun to play. That “headmaster”, “slightly jaded” points he mentioned probably added to his fun. Hollander is such a good actor that it was good to hear his excitement for this role. Dalby is a huge part of the story. He also commented on how the writers, John and James, were quite receptive to character development ideas from the actors. Which, he said doesn’t always happen.  We like hearing when the writers and directors take input from the actor. We think we see better performances when the actor has that input. He or she has an idea of how they want to play a role and having the powers that be buy-in is great to see.

JOE COLE

Joe Cole plays Harry Palmer. Joe said that he was not really familiar with Harry Palmer, but after speaking with people, he realized what an important character he is. He saw the Michael Caine stuff, he said but still did his own thing. He looked at the book, watched the movie, but did not want to do a Michael Caine impersonation – he wanted to do his own thing with it. We thought that was a good insight on his part. It would be so easy for an actor to take on an iconic role and just try to duplicate what the first guy did. And with Michael Caine’s style, it would be easy to fall into an impersonation. So, it’s good to see Cole acknowledge or recognize that and point out that he didn’t want to just do an impersonation. He also talked about the point of working-class versus his superiors. When Joe was asked how it felt to put on those glasses for the first time, Joe said: it was important to get them right and he tried a lot on – haircut, glasses clothes – all important. He joked that “the glasses were a great thing to hide behind!” And he admitted they were non-prescription. From the clips we have seen, Joe does a bang-up, brilliant job as Harry Palmer. They did keep the glasses thing as part of the Harry Palmer image!

JAMES WATKINS

James Watkins – the Series Director said, they started with Joe Cole as Harry Palmer and built around that. He suggested that Joe has that intersection of gentleness and knowing the world is against him. He said that Joe as Harry uses humor well and is the kind of guy you want to hang out with like Hans Solo. One thing that Watkins mentioned that hit home for us was that Len Deighton describes Harry Palmer as “a winner who puts himself across as a loser.” He is angry and he’s got insolence. “Joe and I spent a lot of time trying to capture that tone.” The opening shot of the show is of the glasses – out of focus, then in focus with the glasses on – like the movies. This was another from our list of items we liked in our podcasts on the movie.

JOHN HODGE

Hodge added that the series comments on social attitudes – social issues, mobility. That era in the 1960s had freedom promised but not always delivered. We saw that in the movie, but it was filmed in the 60s. So, it’s good to see that they kept that feel.

THE TEAM INTERACTION

Lucy Boynton, playing Jean Courtney, said that Joe Cole brought a sense of humor and the freedom to have fun with it. Her character, Jean, was a person who was impenetrable – and Harry was the first to penetrate that. Joe was asked if Harry was an anti-James Bond? Joe says he read that somewhere. He is very different and sees Harry as working class, who doesn’t have a lot of money, and who is hyper-intelligent and he’s fun. Cole says” The most important thing for me was to try to capture that.” The trick was making Harry likable too – likable but facetious, a balance. He wants to push a few buttons that make Harry tough and critical, but also likable. Cole gave an example of this when he described a scene from the beginning of the first episode when Harry is with Jean. He talked about how the writing and Lucy’s powerful performance as Jean in this scene really could make Harry “look like a dick”, and how he had to make Harry likable. The repartee between Joe as Harry and Tom as Dalby is great! Tom says it is in the taught, witty script – “dynamic class stuff in it!” They talked about how Harry knows he is trapped (forced to be a spy) but that Dalby is also trapped in a way – “both dancing on their own pinheads – restricted by the world that is theirs.” Joe also gave us some insight into acting with an accomplished actor like Tom Hollander playing Dalby. Joe initially thought that in his first scenes with Dalby, Harry would have a swagger about him. But then he thought, no, Tom will see right through that. So, he quashed those ideas and went with what John had written. You don’t hear actors talk too much like that, so we thought this was refreshing to hear. We thought that was a great insight. And you can see that in the characters themselves. Brilliant.

LOCATIONS

In general, they commented that locations were important for the character’s journey. James Watkins, the director says that they are going to some of the places that were in the book that they didn't have in the movie due to budgetary constraints. YES!!!! This makes us very happy because we saw the movie first and then read the book. There is a section of the book on an atoll that wasn’t in the movie but makes it into the series. We mentioned it in our podcasts on the movies. We didn't miss it in the movie since we saw it first, but after reading the book, we missed it immensely in the movie. Len Deighton’s description of this part of the story was so vivid we can’t wait to see what they do with it here in the series. We’re so glad they will have that and Beirut and Finland in the series. YES!!! Watkins also said that "James Bond is a superhero movie whereas Harry Palmer is a real person. He wants to not work on his weekends, and he wants to reclaim his expenses, is interested about what he's cooking. It's real life" he’s a real guy and the plot in the series is to get to know the characters and hang out with them. As for filming in Liverpool, they all said they liked Liverpool.
  • Tom Hollander said they liked Liverpool because it was full of amazing buildings and history – bits of Britain from the 1960s still there.
  • Ashley said it was the first production in the UK during Covid – so there were adjustments with masks, etc.
  • Joe said he liked Liverpool, while Lucy said she had not been to Liverpool before.
We found it was interesting to hear about how the pandemic lockdowns affected their experience.

COSTUMES

As for costumes, James Watkins said they looked at stuff from the 1960s so they could “incorporate elements of the character information” through the costumes. For instance, there is a collision between the way Dalby and Palmer dress – the class thing again.  Class is very important in this story.

THE COLOR PALETTE

As for the color palette in general: they wanted to show a bleached color palate – to look like 1965 – dirty whites, grit – more life textures in terms of costumes and design. A pattern of dirtiness. We thought this discussion was great. No one talks about this. Yes, people talk about the virtues of shooting on film or digital, but they normally don’t explain why they like one or the other. But Watkins talked about the differences here. He said that he and the cinematographer, Tim Maurice Jones, spent a lot of time on that. How to take a chemical film approach to digital film. how to make the reds right. They are plum red; the whites are dirty ivory whites. He said that if you film a white wall on digital it's all ones and zeros and it looks the same from frame to frame to frame, on film each frame is a different photochemical composition so there is a grain structure to it. Yes, this was geeky, but it helped us understand the differences and the challenges of trying to shoot something today and make it look like the 60s.  We loved this discussion.

CAMERA ANGLES

Another topic from this part of the discussion with Watkins scares Tom Pizzato, from Spy Movie Navigator, a bit, but not Dan Silvestri. Watkins mentions that there are off-kilter camera angles in the series. He says they looked at the movie The Third Man for inspiration. Remember at the beginning of this podcast we mentioned that the tricky camera angles in the movie, The Ipcress File, bothered Pizzato. Harry Saltzman, who produced the movie, got into disagreements with the director of the movie about them.  It was editor Peter Hunt who convinced Saltzman that they worked. Pizzato is wary about this while Silvestri loved the variety and unique camera angles in the original movie! One of Pizzato’s concerns here is that the cinematographer for the series is Tim Maurice-Jones. He was also the Director of Photography for the just-released movie The 355. In our review of that movie, we commented on the shakiness and off-plane camera shots, especially for the close-in fight scenes. Pizzato didn't like those. So, we’ll have to see what Watkins means with the “off-kilter” camera angles here in this series.

KEVIN LYGO FROM ITV

ITV’s Director of Television, Kevin Lygo, came on at end of the discussion and said that this is a great production – movie quality. The team joked around a bit that this was a higher-level production than what ITV normally produces. They compared it to a big-budget Netflix series. And from what we saw, it looked like that for sure.

OUR WRAP UP

If you look at the list we mentioned at the beginning of the podcast, it looks like this team kept the stuff we liked from the movie The Ipcress File and except for the off-kilter camera stuff, addressed the stuff we didn’t like. We can’t wait for this to come out. The atoll was a bit later in the book, so we’ll probably have to wait for a few episodes to see it, but this press conference has us on the edge of my seat waiting for March when this comes out. Finally, it was great to be invited to the press conference – we were two of 64 journalists around the world on the call, so this was pretty special!  We want to thank ITV for inviting us to this press conference for the upcoming ITV series “The Ipcress File”. Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato are the creators of the website SpyMovieNavigator.com.  We create podcasts, YouTube videos, and more focusing on spy movies.  Our podcast and our YouTube channel share the name “Cracking the Code of Spy Movies”! You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@SpyNavigator), and Instagram too! And we welcome you to join our private Facebook group, The Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans!

THE IPCRESS FILE – Discussion of the ITV Series Briefing with Actors, Director

Join Dan and Tom as they discuss the press briefing for "The Ipcress File "TV series through ITV Studios, with the actors, director & more!  The series starts its run in March 2022. It will be shown on ITV and through the ITV Hub, AMC+, Lionsgate Play, Seven Network, Now TV, and Tohokushinsha. The Ipcress File! No, we’re not talking today about the 1965 movie with Michael Caine! We are talking about the ITV TV series, "The Ipcress File" starring Joe Cole – coming in March! And . . .  
THE IPCRESS FILE – ITV Series Briefing with Actors, Director

Podcast Episode

THE IPCRESS FILE – ITV Series Briefing with Actors, Director

On December 16, 2021, we had the wonderful opportunity to “attend,” via a Zoom meeting, a press briefing for "The Ipcress File TV" series through ITV Studios, with the actors, director & more!  Join us as we discuss this briefing and the ties with the 1965 movie.

The Ipcress File! No, we’re not talking today about the 1965 movie with Michael Caine! We are talking about the ITV TV series, “The Ipcress File” starring Joe Cole – coming in March! And . . .

On December 16, 2021, we had the wonderful opportunity to “attend,” via a Zoom meeting, a press briefing for The Ipcress File TV series through ITV Studios, with the actors, director & more!  Join us as we discuss this briefing and the ties with the 1965 movie.  The series starts March 2022, on ITV and through the ITV Hub.

Ideas: Info@SpyMovieNavigator.com

Related Content

We discuss the following about the ITV series “The Ipcress File: press briefing:

  • The Cast
  • The Cinematography
  • How the length of the series lets us see more of the story
  • Locations from the book that weren’t in the movie
  • Filming locations
  • What items from the movie are brought into the series
  • And More …

 


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THE IPCRESS FILE (1965) – Part 1

Watch the Video Version of this podcast Join Dan and Tom and they take a fresh look into one of the more significant spy movies of the 1960s, The IPCRESS File.

<em>The 39 Steps</em>

The 39 Steps, directed by Alfred Hitchcock is considered by many to the first spy movie ever made! If you came to our site as a Bond, Bourne, Hunt, Smiley, or other spy movie fan, you might not have seen…

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Find out what we are doing at SpyMovieNavigator.com and how we are building a Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans! Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato explain the roots of SpyMovieNavigator and how this whole thing got started, and how we…

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)

THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH – Decoded!

Podcast Episode

THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH – Decoded!

Dan and Tom are joined by Bill Koenig of The Spy Command website. We decode both versions of the Hitchcock classic The Man Who Knew Too Much!

 

Mistaken identities! World travelers! Mystery in the middle east! Secrets told, murder plots, kidnappings, and more – all in THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH!

Join Dan and Tom as they are joined by Bill Koenig of The Spy Command website. We decode both the 1934 and the 1956 versions of this Alfred Hitchcock classic spy movie!

Ideas? Info@SpyMovieNavigator.com

 

Related Content

We examine the following from both the 1934 and 1956 versions of The Man Who Knew Too Much:

  • Alfred Hitchcock’s thoughts on the two versions
  • Charles Bennet’s influence in these and other spy movies
  • The opening sequences
  • Cultural education of the audience
    The important role of the wives in these movies
  • The role of the children
  • Ben’s sleuthing skills
  • Other differences and similarities between the two movies
  • And more ..

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Funeral in Berlin (1966) – Part 2 – Scene Analysis & Connections

Watch Video Analysis & Review of Key Scenes Join Dan and Tom as they finish up their look at Funeral in Berlin! 

THE IPCRESS FILE – ITV Series Briefing with Actors, Director

On December 16, 2021, we had the wonderful opportunity to “attend,” via a Zoom meeting, a press briefing for "The Ipcress File TV" series through ITV Studios, with the actors, director & more!  Join us as we discuss this briefing…

North By Northwest – Part 1

Join Dan and Tom as they are Cracking the Code of Spy Movies. Today they navigate through part 1 of the 1959 Alfred Hitchcock classic, NORTH BY NORTHWEST.

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Billion Dollar Brain (1967)

Harry Palmer, a cold Helsinki winter, virus-filled eggs, outdoor festivals, evil computer programs, a maniac billionaire, a double-cross – make up the story of the third Harry Palmer movie, Billion Dollar Brain!

Billion Dollar Brain – Decoded!

Podcast Episode

Billion Dollar Brain – Decoded!

Join Dan and Tom as they decode the third Harry Palmer movie with Michael Caine, based on the Len Deighton novels!

Harry Palmer, a cold Helsinki winter, virus-filled eggs, outdoor festivals, evil computer programs, a maniac billionaire, a double-cross – make up the story of the third Harry Palmer movie, Billion Dollar Brain!

Join Dan and Tom as they decode the third Harry Palmer movie with Michael Caine, based on the Len Deighton novels!

Lots of connections to other movies and some disagreement between Dan and Tom on this one!  Join the fun!

Do you have a comment?  Email us at info@SpyMovieNavigator.com or click here to get to our comment page.  Finally, on our website, you can click the red button that says “Send us a voicemail”.

Related Content

Some of the topics discussed include:

  • The stellar cast
  • The impact of the character names
  • Is Harry Palmer the anti-James Bond?
  • Potential ties to movies like Mission: Impossible II, Get Shorty, Diamonds Are Forever, Patton and others
  • The value of going to a 1960’s shoe store
  • Dan and Tom’s disagreements about this movie
  • General Midwinter’s rant
  • Computer punch cards
  • and more …

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THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH – Decoded!

Dan and Tom are joined by Bill Koenig of The Spy Command website. We decode both versions of the Hitchcock classic The Man Who Knew Too Much!

Secret Agent (1936) – A second spy movie by Alfred Hitchcock

Join Dan and Tom as they are cracking the code of spy movies! Here, we're taking a close look at the 1936 Alfred Hitchcock movie, Secret Agent, its influence on future spy movies, and how sometimes being a secret agent…

Cracking the Code of Spy Movies – A Look at 2019 and A Look Ahead to 2020

Join Tom and Dan in our 2019 wrap-up podcast of our Cracking the Code of Spy Movies show! Here, we include clips from all of our 2019 podcasts - take a listen, find ones that interest you and subscribe (free)…

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Harry Palmer, Len Deighton, Billion Dollar Brain with Rob Mallows!

Podcast Episode

Harry Palmer, Len Deighton, Billion Dollar Brain with Rob Mallows!

Rob Mallows of DeightonDossier.net joins Dan and Tom as our prelude to our Billion Dollar Brain podcast!  We talk about Len Deighton, The Ipcress File, Funeral in Berlin with a focus on Billion Dollar Brain!  

Rob Mallows of DeightonDossier.net joins Dan and Tom as our prelude to our Billion Dollar Brain podcast!  We talk about Len Deighton, The Ipcress File, Funeral in Berlin with a focus on Billion Dollar Brain!

What Deighton novel should be turned into another movie?

Listen now!

Give us feedback at info@SpyMovieNavigator.com or leave a voice mail by pressing the red button to the right.

Related Content

Listen to us as we talk with Rob Mallows about:

  • How close is the movie to the book?
  • Where does the novel “Spy Story” fit in the Harry Palmer world?
  • What other Deighton novels does Rob think should be made into a movie?
  • What are Rob’s thoughts on ITV’s upcoming The Ipcress File tv series?
  • And more …

This discussion will lead us into our podcast where we decode Billion Dollar Brain.


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Interview w/Director & Screenwriter for ALL THE OLD KNIVES!

This episode features the Director of the film, ALL THE OLD KNIVES, Janus Metz, and the Screenwriter and also the author of the novel of the same name, Olen Steinhauer!  

ALL THE OLD KNIVES First Reactions – No Spoilers

Listen as Dan, Tom, and Vicky share their first reactions of the movie ALL THE OLD KNIVES. Is it worth a watch? This is a no-spoiler discussion.

Alfred Hitchcock’s NOTORIOUS Decoded!

Today we decode a Hitchcock classic, NOTORIOUS with our special co-host Bill Koenig of The Spy Command.

Keep current! Join Our Email List

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The Ipcress File (1965)

The Ipcress File (1965) is the movie introduction of Len Deighton’s spy character, Harry Palmer.  A name he was given for the movies as he was unnamed in Deighton’s novels.

This was Michael Caine’s first starring role.  He takes on the challenge of portraying Harry Palmer, without trying to mimic James Bond in his portrayal.  We see lots of connections to James Bond, including key personnel like Harry Saltzman, the producer, Guy Coleman (who was in Thunderball) and more.  However, Michael Caine’s portrayal brings a unique perspective into how we see spies in movies.  He’s gritty, not wealthy, likes some of the finer things in life, but not nearly to the extent James Bond does.

Oh, and he likes ‘birds’.

The Ipcress File is an interesting look at moles in intelligence agencies and the fascinating world of brainwashing.  We examine the many James Bond connections, Palmer’s use of quips, the role of social classes in London, brainwashing, and more.

Join the fun in Cracking the Code of The Ipcress File for some interesting reveals!  Watch the two part curation videos below for key scene analysis and commentaries, connections and more!  Each part is around 30 minute in length. You can also click on the related content at the top of this page and listen to the audio versions of the podcast, if you prefer to listen rather than watch.

Funeral in Berlin (1966)

FUNERAL IN BERLIN (1966) continues the development of Len Deighton’s spy character, Harry Palmer, in the movies.  In the novels Len Deighton’s character did not have a name.  For the movies, they gave him the name, “Harry Palmer!”

Starring Michael Caine as Harry Palmer, we see lots of connections to James Bond, including key personnel like Harry Saltzman, the producer, Guy Coleman (who was in Thunderball) and more.

Join Dan and Tom as they head to Germany to attend the Funeral in Berlin!   This 1966 movie is the second installment after The Ipcress File.

  • Lots of Bond connections,
  • quips,
  • key scenes are explored from a fresh angle.

If a funeral could be fun, this is it!  Join us, won’t you?

Join the fun in Cracking the Code of FUNERAL IN BERLIN  – some interesting reveals!  Watch the two-part videos below for key scene analysis and commentaries, connections and more!

Funeral in Berlin (1966) – Part 2 – Scene Analysis & Connections

Podcast Episode

Funeral in Berlin (1966) – Part 2 – Scene Analysis & Connections

Join Dan and Tom as they finish up their look at Funeral in Berlin! 

Join Dan and Tom as they head to Germany to attend the Funeral in Berlin!   This 1966 movie is the second installment after The Ipcress File, with Michael Caine as Harry Palmer, based on Len Deighton’s novels.  Part 2 of 2.

Lots of Bond connections, quips, key scenes are explored from a fresh angle.   If a funeral could be fun, this is it!  Join us, wont you?

Related Content

In part 2, we look at:

  • Nikki van der Zyl’s role in this movie and in James Bond movies
  • Johnny Vulcan’s role in the plot
  • How Harry Palmer differs from James Bond
    • The type of woman he likes as evidenced in Casino Royale (2000)
    • Hailing a taxi (Dr. No (1962))
  • Why Tom thought Kreutzman was evil just on first glance
  • The “grieving widow”
  • The role of the forger, who we don’t see
  • A similarity with 3 Days of the Condor
  • Why Tom loves the character Alice
  • What is a lepidopterist or ( or lepidopterologist? And its role in both Funeral in Berlin and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
  • How The Nelson Touch may play into the ending
  • and more …

 

 


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ALL THE OLD KNIVES First Reactions – No Spoilers

Listen as Dan, Tom, and Vicky share their first reactions of the movie ALL THE OLD KNIVES. Is it worth a watch? This is a no-spoiler discussion.

Harry Palmer, Len Deighton, Billion Dollar Brain with Rob Mallows!

Rob Mallows of DeightonDossier.net joins Dan and Tom as our prelude to our Billion Dollar Brain podcast!  We talk about Len Deighton, The Ipcress File, Funeral in Berlin with a focus on Billion Dollar Brain!  

The Silent Enemy (1958) – A Thunderball Inspiration?

Watch the Video Version of this podcast Dan and Tom dive into THE SILENT ENEMY, a 1958 World War II spy movie, that has lots of connections with the 1961 novel and 1965 film, THUNDERBALL!  Explore this great film and…

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)

Funeral in Berlin (1966) – Scene Analysis & Connections – Part 1

Podcast Episode

Funeral in Berlin (1966) – Scene Analysis & Connections – Part 1

Join Dan and Tom as they head to Germany to attend the Funeral in Berlin!   This 1966 movie is the second installment after The Ipcress File, with Michael Caine as Harry Palmer, based on Len Deighton's novels.  Part 1 of 2. 

 

Join Dan and Tom as they head to Germany to attend the Funeral in Berlin!   This 1966 movie is the second installment after The Ipcress File, with Michael Caine as Harry Palmer, based on Len Deighton’s novels.  Part 1 of 2.

Lots of Bond connections, quips, key scenes are explored from a fresh angle.   If a funeral could be fun, this is it!  Join us, wont you?

Related Content

In Part 1, we discuss:

  • Comparing with The Spy Who Came In From The Cold for setting the tone
  • The use of quips
  • Airlines in movies
  • How Funeral in Berlin is like The Living Daylights
  • Other movies where we’ve seen Checkpoint Charlie
  • Did this movie influence a scene in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
  • Nikki Van Der Zyl who dubbed Samantha and her ties to James Bond
  • Is there a tie-in with Inglorious Basterds?
  • And More …

More Episodes

Funeral in Berlin (1966) – Part 2 – Scene Analysis & Connections

Watch Video Analysis & Review of Key Scenes Join Dan and Tom as they finish up their look at Funeral in Berlin! 

<em>The 39 Steps</em>

The 39 Steps, directed by Alfred Hitchcock is considered by many to the first spy movie ever made! If you came to our site as a Bond, Bourne, Hunt, Smiley, or other spy movie fan, you might not have seen…

Interview with author Tony Lee Moral on Hitchcock’s NOTORIOUS

Dan and Tom talk about Hitchcock's classic spy movie, NOTORIOUS, with Tony Lee Moral, author of three Alfred Hitchcock books, with a fourth, "Alfred Hitchcock: The Storyboards" available September 2022.

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)

THE IPCRESS FILE (1965) – Part 2

Podcast Episode

THE IPCRESS FILE (1965) – Part 2

Join Dan and Tom for Part 2 as they take a fresh look into one of the more significant spy movies of the 1960s, The IPCRESS File.

Join Dan and Tom and they take a fresh look into one of the more significant spy movies of the 1960s, The IPCRESS File.

Starring Michael Caine as Harry Palmer, this movie has a lot of Bond connections in staff, including Harry Saltzman as producer!  Great acting, great, gritty spy adventure and based on Len Deighton’s novels.

Looking at what was happening in the world at the time, and key scenes.  Is Harry Palmer at all like James Bond?  Let’s see!

Part 2 of a 2 Part podcast.

Related Content

This episode dives into the 1965 movie, The Ipcress File.   We examine:

  • Harry Palmer’s characteristics
  • Harry’s similarities to James Bond
  • Ken Adam’s sets
  • Harry’s cooking and its implications
  • Colonel Ross and the supermarket
  • The reality of proton scattering and mesons
  • How the “Albania” scene may have influenced Mission: Impossible
  • Fights(?) in this movie
  • And more …

More Episodes

<em>The 39 Steps</em>

The 39 Steps, directed by Alfred Hitchcock is considered by many to the first spy movie ever made! If you came to our site as a Bond, Bourne, Hunt, Smiley, or other spy movie fan, you might not have seen…

Q Planes (1939) – Historical Influences

Watch the Video Version of this podcast Join Dan and Tom as they pivot their analysis on the 1939 spy movie, Q PLANES. This movie was released just before the start of World War II and had some interesting historical…

Billion Dollar Brain – Decoded!

Join Dan and Tom as they decode the third Harry Palmer movie with Michael Caine, based on the Len Deighton novels!

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)

THE IPCRESS FILE (1965) – Part 1

Podcast Episode

THE IPCRESS FILE (1965) – Part 1

Join Dan and Tom and they take a fresh look into one of the more significant spy movies of the 1960s, The IPCRESS File.

Join Dan and Tom and they take a fresh look into one of the more significant spy movies of the 1960s, The IPCRESS File.

Starring Michael Caine as Harry Palmer, this movie has a lot of Bond connections in staff, including Harry Saltzman as producer!  Great acting, great, gritty spy adventure and based on Len Deighton’s novels.

Looking at what was happening in the world at the time, and key scenes.  Is Harry Palmer at all like James Bond?  Let’s see!

Part 1 of a 2 Part podcast.

Related Content

This episode dives into The Ipcress File.   We examine:

  • The relationship of the key people involved with The Ipcress File and the James Bond franchise
  • Harry’s role as a reluctant spy and how that ties into La Femme Nikita and Mission: Impossible.
  • The brain drain of  top British scientists
  • The origins of Harry Palmer’s name
  • Product placement and why the coffee press is in the movie
  • And more …

 

 

 

 


More Episodes

Q Planes (1939) – aka Clouds Over Europe

Watch the Video Version of this podcast Join Dan and Tom as they dig deep into the key scenes of the 1939 movie, Q PLANES, which is also known as CLOUDS OVER EUROPE in the US. They'll look into where…

All About Spy Movies – SpyMovieNavigator

Find out what we are doing at SpyMovieNavigator.com and how we are building a Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans! Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato explain the roots of SpyMovieNavigator and how this whole thing got started, and how we…

THE IPCRESS FILE Series Launched! Is it worth your time?

We've had the opportunity to view all 6 episodes of this monumental series. Dan, Tom, and Vicky share their no-spoilers insights here!

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)

The Silent Enemy (1958) – A Thunderball Inspiration?

Podcast Episode

The Silent Enemy (1958) – A Thunderball Inspiration?

Dan and Tom dive into THE SILENT ENEMY, a 1958 World War II spy movie, that has lots of connections with the 1961 novel and 1965 film, THUNDERBALL!  Explore this great film and all the connections to Bond movies!

Dan and Tom dive into The Silent Enemy, a 1958 World War II spy movie, that has lots of connections with the 1961 novel and 1965 film, Thunderball!

The Silent Enemy, while not a documentary, looks the deadly human torpedoes that the Italians created in World War II. We see how the British learn to deal with these deadly weapons. They need to figure it out in order to protect Malta. Explore this great film and all the connections to real-world events and Bond movies!

Related Content

In this podcast, we examine:

  • The historical background of this movie, set in World War II
  • The real-life Lieutenant Lionel Crabb upon who this movie is centered
  • Our assumption of the influence of The Silent Enemy on Thunderball
  • The role of the Human Torpedo
  • Ties to the real-life World War II decoy called Operation Mincemeat
  • And more …

More Episodes

Q Planes (1939) – Historical Influences

Watch the Video Version of this podcast Join Dan and Tom as they pivot their analysis on the 1939 spy movie, Q PLANES. This movie was released just before the start of World War II and had some interesting historical…

THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH – Decoded!

Dan and Tom are joined by Bill Koenig of The Spy Command website. We decode both versions of the Hitchcock classic The Man Who Knew Too Much!

Billion Dollar Brain – Decoded!

Join Dan and Tom as they decode the third Harry Palmer movie with Michael Caine, based on the Len Deighton novels!

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)

Q Planes (1939) – Historical Influences

Podcast Episode

Q Planes (1939) – Historical Influences

Join Dan and Tom as they pivot their analysis on the 1939 spy movie, Q PLANES. This movie was released just before the start of World War II and had some interesting historical ties. Take a listen.

Join Dan and Tom as they Crack of Code of the history that surrounded & impacted directly the making of the 1939 movie, Q Planes (Clouds Over Europe).

Our first podcast on Q Planes called, Q Planes (Clouds Over Europe) is an analysis of the movie, scene by scene.  In this new podcast, a different approach is taken, looking at historical events (the oncoming of World War Two, etc.) that directly affected the making of the film, looking at some very interesting connections!

The real world does find its way into spy movies!

Related Content

Some of the items we discuss are:

  • How the British Secret Service was involved with this movie
  • How the movie was made to try to influence the United States from its neutral stance on Germany
  • How a phrase by Lord Horatio Nelson made its way into the movie
  • How the newspaper headlines in the movie are reflective of real 1938 headlines raising alarm of the British people
  • How the characters were created to portray different classes of people
  • How a scene with an American showgirl may have been made to make some not-so-flattering impressions about Americans
  • How this movie influenced the TV show “The Avengers”
  • The many ways this movie influenced the James Bond series of movies
  • Some similarities to The 39 Steps
  • and more …

More Episodes

North By Northwest – Part 2

Join Dan and Tom as they are Cracking the Code of Spy Movies. Today they navigate through part 2 of the 1959 Alfred Hitchcock classic, NORTH BY NORTHWEST.

Funeral in Berlin (1966) – Scene Analysis & Connections – Part 1

Watch Video Analysis & Review of Key Scenes Join Dan and Tom as they head to Germany to attend the Funeral in Berlin!   This 1966 movie is the second installment after The Ipcress File, with Michael Caine as Harry Palmer,…

Alfred Hitchcock’s NOTORIOUS Decoded!

Today we decode a Hitchcock classic, NOTORIOUS with our special co-host Bill Koenig of The Spy Command.

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)

Q Planes (1939) – aka Clouds Over Europe

Podcast Episode

Q Planes (1939) – aka Clouds Over Europe

Join Dan and Tom as they dig deep into the key scenes of the 1939 movie, Q PLANES, which is also known as CLOUDS OVER EUROPE in the US. They'll look into where this movie has connections to other spy movies and real-world events to come!

Q Planes is a spy comedy, treating a top-secret invention the British were testing just prior to World War II and what they had to do to keep the invention and information about it out of enemy hands.   In the US, it is also known as Clouds Over Europe. It is more spy than comedy, but it has a comedic element.   Starring Ralph Richardson, Lawrence Olivier, and Valerie Hobson.

Join Dan and Tom as they dig deep into the key scenes in this film and connections to other spy movies to come!

Related Content

Q Planes is one of those cult-spy movies that has a small but avid following. True spy movie fans should know this movie.

In this podcast, we’ll examine:

  • The reason for the two different names: Q Planes and Clouds Over Europe
  • The basic premise of the film
  • The impact Ralph Richardson’s portrayal of Colonel Hammond had on the tv show “The Avengers”
  • Ties into the world of James Bond in print and on the big screen: Including You Only Live Twice, For Your Eyes Only and The Spy Who Loved Me
  • Ties into the Mission: Impossible franchise; both on tv and movies.
  • The “Nelson Touch”
  • And many more items

More Episodes

THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH – Decoded!

Dan and Tom are joined by Bill Koenig of The Spy Command website. We decode both versions of the Hitchcock classic The Man Who Knew Too Much!

Interview w/Director & Screenwriter for ALL THE OLD KNIVES!

This episode features the Director of the film, ALL THE OLD KNIVES, Janus Metz, and the Screenwriter and also the author of the novel of the same name, Olen Steinhauer!  

North By Northwest – Part 1

Join Dan and Tom as they are Cracking the Code of Spy Movies. Today they navigate through part 1 of the 1959 Alfred Hitchcock classic, NORTH BY NORTHWEST.

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)

Q Planes (1939) – Clouds Over Europe (US)


Q Planes movie posterQ Planes
is a 1939 spy movie.  Clouds Over Europe was its name in the United States.

It is about a British Agent and his mission to discover who is trying to steal top-secret experimental equipment.  The focus of this search is around the attempted theft of a new supercharger which should increase the flight speed of aircraft.

Above all, this light-hearted, spy comedy delivers a message to the world about threats. Released about 6 months before World War II, it was, in part, a propaganda movie.

Earlier movies influenced Q Planes. This movie influenced future spy movies such as James Bond and Mission: Impossible.

Our curated videos below show these influencers via video clips and descriptions. Also, check out our podcasts which discuss this movie in more detail.

WHERE TO STREAM:

  • It is available on Amazon Prime (Prime Link). (There may be a cost)
  • In addition, it is on YouTube: (YouTube Link)

Did the title Q Planes come from Q-Ships?

The movie Q Planes got it's title post-production.   It is assumed the name was derived from the Q-Ships that were popular in World War I. These were freighters or steamer designed to look like non-military ships that would be easy targets for German U-boats. The idea was to get the U-boat to surface, and then the Q-ship would reveal its guns and blast away. In the movie Q Planes, no one ever does this with one of the planes. Nor is the term Q Planes ever used in the film!  The title appears to have been thought of more for marketing to UK audiences than for how it relates to the plot. The British public loved Q-ships in World War I, but they were not terribly effective according to some historians, and even less effective in World War Two. The designation “Q” came from the ships being outfitted in Queensland, Ireland, and it helped promote the idea of “Q” being a designation for taking something ordinary and outfitting it to be a deadly weapon. This clip lets you see a real Q-Ship.  It's old footage showing the troops and a Q-ship in action. RELATED CONTENT:

Eastern Importations and Amnesia

Here we meet the quirky Major Hammond as he is arrested.  We don't get his name in this scene, but we learn it soon afterward.  Additionally, we believe two items in this scene (Eastern Importations Company and Major Hammond's amnesia) have influenced future spy books and movies. We examine these two items below:
  • Eastern Importations Company - This is the sign on the door of the place where the police first meet Major Hammond.  This isn't Hammond's company and we don't learn specifically why he was there.  However, we do learn this was a place that he was investigating, but don't get the specifics.  We don't see why this place had any significance to him other than this is where he got hit in the head.
    • Similarly, Ian Fleming used Universal Export for the first time in his 2nd book, "Live and Let Die" as a cover company for the 00's.  However,  we must note that "Export" was singular, not plural.  In the books and especially in the movies, "Exports" changes from singular to plural.  The movie Dr. No uses the plural form of "Exports".  However,  On Her  Majesty's Secret Service uses the singular "Export".
    • So, did Ian Fleming get his idea of using "Universal Exports" from Q Planes "Eastern Importations"?
  • Amnesia - Major Charles Hammond is acting quirky here. He stays a bit quirky throughout the movie but does seem confused or out of it in this scene.
    • Did a blow to the head give Major Hammond amnesia?
    • Is this a precursor to Jason Bourne and his amnesia?
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Q Planes and The Nelson Touch

When we at Spy Movie Navigator watch spy movies, we try to find where a movie may influence or was influenced by a real-world event or another spy movie. Happily, two things from this 11-second clip give us one of each type of influence. Specifically, Q Planes delivers with a phrase right at the end of this clip ("The Nelson Touch") that has real-world historical significance.  Additionally, we get one phrase that may have influenced the Mission: Impossible series of movies and TV.
  • "You're acting against instructions" - Major Hammond's boss tells him "Unofficially, of course, you understand. I'll give you every facility, but if he finds you out, you're acting against instructions."
    • This instantly brings a 20th and 21st Century spy movie fan to the Mission: Impossible TV and movie series.  "As always, should you or any of your IM Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions."
    • Does this line get it's birth from the movie Q Planes?  Remember, this movie came out in 1939.  The "Mission: Impossible" TV show didn't happen for another 27 years.
  • Q Planes and "The Nelson Touch" -  Major Hammond says "The Nelson Touch" in response to the above directive.  This phrase brings a real-world reference into the movie.  It refers to Lord Horatio Nelson and what he initially described as one of his battle strategies.  It's great to see a historical reference in this type of movie.  Q Planes use of the phrase The Nelson Touch brings us to two different eras of history and two different wars.  We discuss this in more detail in our Q Planes podcast.
So, check out this clip and see if you agree with us. RELATED CONTENT

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