The seventies version was, George informed me, evidently a Canadian tax dodging exercise in Canada by the film mogul Harry Alan Towers. But it can’t do that while the options remain sitting in Clerkenwell Film’s to-do pile. That Deighton had very little say in the matter is a reflection on Towers’ approach to quality film-making and, more importantly, deal making! Perhaps we now live in a more aspirational world. Anonymous 14 April at There is no artificial lighting used to dramatise the scene.
The sound quality overall sounds puffy and muted, with at time unclear dialogue and extraneous background noise. Compare this to, say, the opening of Billion-Dollar Brain, and you can see the films are worlds apart in ambition and temperament. Tuesday, 12 April The strange story of the submerged spy film Linked to the Harry Palmer films from the ‘sixties, this film in contrast failed to sparkle. The news articles, Tweets, and blog posts do not represent IMDb’s opinions nor can we guarantee that the reporting therein is completely factual. The clicking of his heels on the pavement dominates the soundscape, but is anything but dramatic, instead it becomes monotonous and lacking in any sense of adding to the story. A great potential story – war games, submarines, the artic – was seemingly wasted by a director who, unlike Sidney Furie, really didn’t know what to do with the content.
Stuck, in other words, in ‘development hell’ where movie options are ten-a-penny clerkenwwll successfully completed projects are as rare as hen’s teeth. The understated, average-man character of Palmer, though rebellious, is constrained within the system.
There are, in the Deighton canon – as is the case with other writers too – many stories which had hopes of being made into films or TV series, but have instead languished as ‘non films’, ethereal ‘might have beens’ which are destined to roam the corridors of Hollywood or Soho as film spirits, seeking a corporeal existence. Deighton also famously created another iconic spy – an anonymous anti-hero in four novels.
The failure of the Spy Story film should not be a surprise. It sounds like a potential quality film – judging by the line-up of actors – but, like many films, never reached the cinema or the TV screen, ending up as an ‘unfinished project’ which, like so many, never got off the ground.
The production values and filming style – it is horribly dated in a way that the more stylish film adaptations of Deighton’s works haven’t been. Another ‘non-film’ that makes the viewer wonder just what might have been, or could still be. Harry Palmer portrayed by a cockney actor exemplified the above trait. The recent Matt Damon and Pail Greengrass combination again is yielding another Jason Bourne film to be released in the very near future.
They were not stories I had written. What might the Canadians have done with this? I admitted I didn’t, but it piqued my curiosity. As I reported back in on this blogit was ‘in development’ by a London-based financier called Bob Wigley. Remember a few weeks ago when we broke down the various projects Quentin Tarantino has flirted with in the past? Links to this post Email This BlogThis! This producer, who had a varied career in the UK with the BBC and then internationally, frequently churning out what might be called product targeted at the lower quality end of the market, or producing films linked to Liechtenstein-based companies – tax write-offs, in other words – has a couple of interesting Deighton connections.
The great second ‘Harry Palmer’ novel, Horse Under Water, has I’ve been reliably informed also been held under option for a number of years, with the intention of eventually filming an ‘updated’ version of the story that will likely depart from the Caine-influenced Palmer tradition.
Let’s not have another film end up as just another missed opportunity. How successful would the Palmer story be now? Mark 12 April at While there are some lucky writers, like Ian Fleming, whose entire canon pretty much has been adapted in some, even for established spy and thriller writers like Len Deighton – whose books memorably delivered the ‘Harry Palmer’ trilogy of movies – getting optioned is no guarantee of seeing a film or TV series being produced.
The director – Lindsay Shonteff was, by all accounts, not one of Hollywood’s directing success stories, let’s say. I summarise the film’s plot on the main Deighton Dossier website, here. Five years on, the tumbleweed continues to drift aimlessly across this particular development desert.
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So we have Towers to thank – if that’s the word – for these two movies reaching the screen and reminding viewers, in cleroenwell perverse way, of just how good the original Harry Palmer movies were. It is a symbolic lost opportunity in the ‘seventies to rekindle the public’s appetite for the sorts of spy adventures that The Ipcress File deightonn, Funeral in Berlin and Billion-Dollar Brain created.
Unlike Funeral in Berlin, Spy Story barely surfaced in the public’s imagination.
The Deighton Dossier
Spy Story as a film is neither a stunning success or a filmic debacle. Similarly about the Jason Bourne films too. Bomberfor example, is one of Deighton’s greatest works – one of the 99 novels of the 20th Century according to Anthony Burgess – but has never made it to the silver screen.
But that’s all it really is, a rumour, an idea. Posted by Rob Mallows at Sunday, April 15, 5 comments: Another book which has been optioned at some point, I understand, is Goodbye Mickey Mouse. The synth used in the scene when Armstrong returns to his old flat, rather than creating tension, simply gets in the way and becomes annoying. Interest in the old James Bond films has not decreased, thanks to the recent periodic release of James Bond films recently, and the repeated screening of old films, even at the 9: Compare this to, say, the opening of Billion-Dollar Brain, and you can see the films are worlds apart in ambition and temperament.
Benedict 13 April at No, we have Derren Nesbit’s grumpy communist, with a terrible gummed-on beard and little evidence of being someone with his finger on the nuclear button whom the audience – and Armstrong – should fear.
Game Set Match Overview
That Deighton had very little say in the matter is a reflection on Towers’ approach to quality clerkenwrll and, more importantly, deal making! The news articles, Tweets, and blog posts do not represent IMDb’s opinions nor can we guarantee that the reporting therein is completely factual. It’s quite fun but also, not really that memorable. Share your thoughts below in the comments.
His list of movies on the imdb database is questionable in quality – none of the films made are in any way notable or challenging. What made Shonteff the right choice for this film adaptation of a successful novel. A great potential story – war games, submarines, the artic – was seemingly wasted by a director who, fils Sidney Furie, really didn’t know what to do with the content. Granada made a part TV series adaptation of the first trilogy back inthen immediately withdrew it from release after the withdrawn at Deighton’s instruction.
The most egregious example of ‘development hell’ – where development is a euphemism for doing nothing – is the Game, Set and Match ennealogy, whose rights were purchased by Clerkenwell Films. Indeed, the original xlerkenwell can no longer be found on their website, which gives a hint perhaps as to where it is in the company’s priorities.
In the second scene, as Patrick Armstrong returns to his flat, see how the night lighting in the street outside is so poor as to create little tension or atmosphere. Is the audience possibly becoming ddeighton conservative filma nationalistic, staying home when the threat of terrorism restrains international travel, contrary to the phenomenon of our greater global connectivity.