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  • Funeral In Berlin [DVD] [1967]
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Funeral In Berlin [DVD] [1967]

Price: £9.95
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Funeral In Berlin [DVD] [1967] + Billion Dollar Brain [DVD] + The Ipcress File [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Michael Caine, Oskar Homolka, Paul Hubschmid, Eva Renzi, Guy Doleman
  • Directors: Guy Hamilton
  • Writers: Evan Jones, Len Deighton
  • Producers: Charles D. Kasher, Harry Saltzman
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English, German
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Jan. 2004
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005UO5X
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,265 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Suspenseful story about a British spy who helps arrange for the defection of the head of Russian security. Shot on location in Berl in. Based on the novel by Len Deighton.


Funeral in Berlin (1967) is the sequel to 1965's The Ipcress File, again featuring Michael Caine as reluctant spy Harry Palmer. It was clearly the filmmakers' intention to make Palmer a harder-nosed James Bond, and director Guy Hamilton was brought to this project in between Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever for that purpose. There's espionage intrigue, easy women (Eva Renzi as Samantha Steel), and gunplay. But without the gadgetry, one-liners, or even the John Barry score of the first movie, the Bond comparison runs dry. Against the backdrop of a bombed-out industrial wasteland that was Berlin in the mid-Sixties, Palmer is sent to facilitate the defection of Col. Stock (Oscar Homolka). Numerous sub-plots weave together involving indifferent chief Ross (Guy Doleman from IPCRESS), mission aide Johnnie Volkon (Paul Hubschmid), and the untrustworthy Kreutzman (Günter Meisner, who was more memorable as Slugworth in Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory). It all comes down to revealing who's working for whom and who's really defecting in the set-piece funeral of the title. The main reason the series continued (Ken Russell's OTT Billion Dollar Brain came next) was the commanding presence of Caine. It's fun to hear him try German, and he manages a few subtle comic gems, such as when a waiter asks "Bitte mein heir?" and he replies, "No. Lager please", but the best moment of characterisation recalling the womanising Palmer of Len Deighton's novels is the put down guaranteed to win any woman: "You're useless in the kitchen. Why don't you go back to bed?" --Paul Tonks --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Victor HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 11 May 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Michael Caine as Harry Palmer really is my favourite sixties spy. From the same stable as Bond, but with better plots, more realistic portrayal of the spy world and great actors and characters. Not relying on silly gadgets and big stunts, the films relied on a sense of drama and mystery as Palmer used his native wit to figure out what he was involved in and find a way out of it, using as little violence as possible.

In this, the second film in the series, we find Palmer sent off to Berlin to arrange the defection of a high value Russian. But as usual things are not what they seem, and Palmer is soon immersed in a deadly situation, as various bodies start popping up unexpectedly, and all the people he thought he could trust seem to be out to double cross him. And just who is the mysterious beauty who seemingly innocently bumps into him? The plot is quite engrossing as he follows the various threads, leading to a thrilling denouement in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. Once again Caine is outstanding as Palmer, quietly working his way through his various problems, and trying to stay alive. I loved the Ipcress File, but in all honesty I think that this film is just as good, if not better. A rare achievement!

This edition is presented in widescreen with a mono sound track. The picture has not had any visible restoration, and looks a bit washed out in places with some scratches. It's perfectly watchable though. The sound is similarly a bit unclear and only in mono. There are no extras. The disc comes in a slimline case. So a great film, but the presentation is only acceptable. But it will do until something comes along. Four stars.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Mr Stewart Naunton on 14 Jun. 2001
Format: VHS Tape
As usual the machiavellian Colonel Ross (Guy Doleman) summons Harry Palmer (Michael Caine) at the most inconvenient time. So it is on a Saturday that the unwilling British spy and former thief has to leave a girl and fly to Berlin. A senior Soviet officer wishes to defect. Harry is not fooled, not at first. But events tumble over themselves in an ever more complex plot, involving Harry's seduction, the machinations of Soviet and Israeli intelligence services, the private conspiracies of British agents, German escape agents and a reconstructed Belsen guard. Nothing very good comes of all this in the end. There are winners, but not the obvious ones.
This fine production is from a golden period of British spy fiction and spy films. Harry Palmer represents a character typical of 1960s Britain, not a public school and Oxford hero of the 1950s, no distinguished service as an officer in the War. He is working class, cockney, cynical and rootless, doing it for the money and to keep himself out of gaol. The only character more cynical than Harry is Ross, an officer with a public school and Oxford background. This film does not come from an age of belief. The only character with any real convictions, Eva Renzi's Samantha Steel, is the most terrifyingly ruthless of them all.
So what does happen in Berlin? Is the defection of Colonel Stock (Oskar Homolka) real, a joke, or something more sinister? Who cares? Suddenly the action centres around greed for Jewish gold stolen by a Nazi and stashed in a Swiss bank. Just about everyone, it seems, is involved in some way and most seem to want the loot. Tension grips the audience, as it struggles to keep up with the twists and turns of Len Deighton's plot, as coincidence piles on coincidence, mystery on mystery, until the final resolution.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Marcus Manilius on 16 Aug. 2007
Format: DVD
The Ipcress File was first-class and it was always going to be difficult to make a follow-up which was as good. Funeral in Berlin doesn't come close to the success of the earlier film, for different reasons.

The first thing that struck me was that the soundtrack was way too insistent, almost as if it were trying to set the scene, rather than let the storyline set the scene and complement it by adding to the atmosphere. It didn't work - it was scored for orchestra, and who wants a screeching brass section when they've heard the delicious, moody, low key, jazzy number from Ipcress?

Then there's Palmer: he likes to be a bit of a joker and had some splendidly dry comic lines in Ipcress, but he goes too far here - you'll notice it in the first ten minutes - gags abound and, while they may be mildly amusing (most aren't even that), they do nothing to establish the credibility of the plot or the seriousness of the actors. If you want humour, go for Pierce Brosnan in James Bond (I saw Die Another Day recently and it was full of crap jokes and innuendo. I never realised how bad an actor Brosnan was until I saw it again.) or Sid James in a Carry On film.

The plot was okay but I thought it a bit muddled, with too many things going on, so it lacked the direct simplicity of the earlier film. There are agents from Russia/East Germany, West Germany, GB and Israel all vying with one another. Hmmm! Too much.

On a positive note, the picture quality is sharp and the colours very strong, and you get a chance to see Palmer being pulled by a gorgeous bird and Guy Doleman doing his suave bit as Palmer's unflappable boss with a superb accent and a great line in withering put-downs. The grittiness of this film is Berlin in the mid-sixties - how run-down and seedy it all looked, but this was only twenty years after the war and regeneration was still proceeding.

It's good enough for an evening's entertainment, but a disappointing sequel for Palmer.
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