The Quiller Memorandum (1966)

February 9th, 2003  |  Published in Uncategorized

The Quiller Memorandum is a spy movie with a few differences from much of the rest of the genre that make it seem a little less anchored in its Cold War setting. George Segal plays a spy trying to track down murderous neo-Nazis in Berlin. Alec Guiness stands in as the prissy, antagonist “controller,” and Max von Sydow is the head bad guy.

Segal’s acting is interesting. Though he’s young and brash (providing much of Harrison Ford’s eventual “smirking, irreverent hero” playbook), he conveys a certain unhappiness with the business he’s in, and a sense of vulnerability that indicates his seduction of the leading lady isn’t without a price. The most distracting part of the movie is the collection of mod goons who pursue Quiller through Berlin: in twenty years, their children will be shaking down bowlers and sneering “Vheeeere’s the MO-ney Le-BOW-ski?”

Pretty fun movie, though. Less by-the-numbers than Bond, and a lot more suspense.

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