Elleston Trevor wrote 19 novels in the highly successful Quiller series. Quiller captures the contrast between the new and the seedy in the West Berlin of the 60s and how Germany remains haunted by the sins of its recent past. Each reveal, in turn, provides a separate level of truth--or, as it may be, self-deception. I enjoyed this novel just as much (if not more) as the previous books that I have read, and I will certainly be purchasing any further Quiller novels that I come across in my exploration of second-hand bookshops. He recruits Berger to help him infiltrate the Neo-Nazis and discover their base of operations, but, once again, is thwarted. effective, low key, intelligent, spy film, Attractive, thoughtful spy film with an excellent cast. They are not just sympathisers though. Quiller investigates, but hes being followed and has been since the moment he entered Berlin. The mind of the spy The ploy works as one, two or all three of those places were where the Nazis did learn about Quiller, who they kidnap. He quickly becomes involved with numerous people of suspicious motives and backgrounds, including Inge (Senta Berger), a teacher at a school where a former Nazi war criminal committed suicide. For example, when the neo-Nazi goons are sticking to Quiller like fly paper, wasn't he suspicious when they did not follow him into his hotel? This reactionary quake in the spy genre was brief but seismic all the same. The movie made productive use of the West German locations. International in its scope its contributors include scholars from Australia, Quiller . The novel was titled The Berlin Memorandum and at its centre was the protagonist and faceless spy, Quiller. In typically British mordant fashion, George Sanders and a fellow staffer in Britain are lunching in London on pheasant, more concerned with the quality of their repast than with the loss of their man in the field! , . I havent watched too many movies from the 1960s in my lifetime, but the ones I have watched have been excellent (Von Ryans Express, Tony Rome, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Hustler, The Great Escape, etc, including this one.) Quiller is released. The book itself sets a standard for the psychological spy thriller as an agent (code-named Quiller) plays a suspense-filled cat-and-mouse game with the head of a neo-Nazi group in post-war Berlin. I had to resist the temptation to fast forward on several occasions. Updates? The story, in the early days of, This week sees the release of Trouble, the third book in the Hella Mauzer series by Katja Ivar. His understated (and at times simply wooden) performance here can be a tough sell when set against the more expressive comedic persona he cultivated in offbeat 1970s comedies like Blume in Love, The Owl and the Pussycat, Wheres Poppa?, California Spilt, and Fun With Dick and Jane. As a consequence I was left in some never-never land and always felt I was watching actors in a movie and never got involved. Agent Quiller is relaxing in a Berlin theater the night before returning to London and rest after a difficult assignment when he is accosted by Pol, another British agent, with a new, very important assignment. Can someone explain it to me? He begins openly asking question about Neo-Nazis and is soon kidnapped by a man known only as "Oktober". Quiller tells Inge that they got most, but clearly not all, of the neo-Nazis. A spy thriller for chess players. This was a great movie and found Quillers character to be excellent. Create an account to follow your favorite communities and start taking part in conversations. First isthe protagonist himself. Fresh off an Oscar nomination for the mental anguish he suffered at the hands of Richard Burton and Liz Taylor in Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf (also 1966), George Segal seems, in hindsight, a dubious choice to play the offbeat Quiller. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. His romantic interest is Senta Berger, whose understated and laconic dialog provides the perfect counterpoint to Segal's character. Fairly interesting spy movie, but doesn't make much sense under close scrutiny. Weary, Quiller only accepts the assignment on the assumption that he can fulfill a self-made promise revenge for a friend. Although competing against a whole slew of other titles in the spies-on-every-corner vein, the novel, "The Quiller Memorandum" was amazingly successful in book stores. With what little information the British operatives are able to provide him especially in his most recent predecessor, Kenneth Lindsay Jones, working alone without backup against advice, Quiller decides to take a different but potentially more dangerous tact than those predecessors in showing himself at three places Jones was known to be investigating, albeit in coded terms, as the person who has now taken over the mission from Jones in the probability that the Nazis will try to abduct him for questioning to discover what exactly their opponents know or don't know, and to discover in turn their base of operations in West Berlin. [6], The mainly orchestral atmospheric soundtrack composed by John Barry was released by Columbia in 1966. 2 decades after the collapse of Nazi Germany, several old guard are planning to (slowly) rebuild. One of the first grown-up movies I was allowed to go see by myself as an impressionable adolescent (yes, this was some years ago now) was the Quiller Memorandum, with George Segal. There are a number of unique elements in the Quiller series that make it stand out. George Segal provides us with a lead character who is somewhat quirky in his demeanor, yet nonetheless effective in his role as an agent. Pol dispatches a team to Phoenix's HQ, which successfully captures all of Phoenix's members. If your idea of an exciting spy thriller involves boobs, blondes and exploding baguettes, then The Quiller Memorandum is probably not for you. Soon Quiller is confronted with Neo-Nazi chief "Oktober" and involved in a dangerous game where each side tries to find out the enemy's headquarters at any price. The source novel "The Berlin Memorandum" is billed in the credits as being by Adam Hall. Sadly, Von Sydows formidable acting chops are never seriously challenged here, and his lines are limited to fairly standard B-movie Euro-villain speak. You are a secret agent working for the British in Berlin. American agent Quiller (George Segal) arrives in Berlin and meets with his British handler Pol (Alec Guinness). Quiller goes back to the school and confronts Inge in her classroom. The Chief of the Secret Service Pol (Alec Guinness) summons the efficient agent Quiller (George Segal) to investigate the location of organization's headquarter. Required fields are marked *. Lindt (Berger) is a school teacher who meets Quiller to translate for him. The film is a spy-thriller set in 1960s West Berlin, where agent Quiller is sent to investigate a neo-Nazi organisation. The quarry for all the work is old Nazi higher officials who are now hiding behind new names and plotting to return Germany to the glory days of the Third Reich, complete with a resurrected Fhrer twenty years after the end of WW II. But his accent was all wrongtaking the viewer out of the moment. The plot revolves around former Nazis and the rise of a Neo-Nazi organisation known as Phonix. ago Just watched it. Your name is Quiller. But good enough to hold my interest till the end. Quiller's primary contact for this job is a mid level administrative agent named Pol. Before long, his purposefully clumsy nosing around leads to his capture and interrogation by a very elegantly menacing von Sydow, who wants to know where Segal's own headquarters is! This well-drawn tale of espionage is set in West Berlin, 15 years after the end of WW II. document.getElementById( "ak_js_1" ).setAttribute( "value", ( new Date() ).getTime() ); 2021 Crime Fiction Lover. I enjoyed the book. Harold Pinter was nominated for an Edgar Award in the Best Motion Picture category, but also didn't win. The protagonist, Quiller, is not a superhuman, like the James Bond types, nor does he have a satchel full of fancy electronic tricks up his sleeve. Also published as "The Berlin Memorandum" (UK title). The screenwriter, Harold Pinter, no less, received an Edgar nomination. Quiller: At the end of our conversation, he ordered them to kill me. Summaries In the West Berlin of the 1960s, two British agents are killed by a Nazi group, prompting British Intelligence to dispatch agent Quiller to investigate. Book 4 stars, narration by Simon Prebble 4 stars. He sounded about as British as Leo Carillo or Cher. The Quiller Memorandum came near the peak of the craze for spy movies in the Sixties, but its dry, oddly sardonic tone sets it apart from both the James Bond-type sex-and-gadget thrillers and the more somber, "adult" spy dramas such as Martin Ritt's The Spy Who Came In from the Cold (1965). A much better example of a spy novel-to-film adaptation would be Our Man in Havana, also starring Alec Guinness. I read it in two evenings. Quiller then returns to his hotel, followed by the men who remain outside. The thugs believe him dead when they see the burning wreckage. Quiller has a love affair with Inge and they seek out the location of Oktober. The only redeeming features of The Quiller Memorandum are the scenes of Berlin with its old U-Bahn train and wonderful Mercedes automobiles, and the presence of two beautiful German women, Senta Berger and Edith Schneider; those two females epitomize Teutonic womanhood for me. The films featured secret agent is the very un-British Quiller (George Segal), a slightly depressive American operative on loan to Britains secret services (take that, Bond!). A highly unusual and stimulating approach that draws us into the story. The setting is as classic as the comeBerlin during the 1960s. Sort of a mixed effect clouds this novel. The Quiller character is constantly making terrible decisions, and refuses to use a gun, and he's certainly no John Steed. Watchable and intriguing as it occasionally is, enigmatic is perhaps the most apposite adjective you could use to describe the "action" within. It's a bit strange to see such exquisitely Pinter-esque dialogue (the laconic, seemingly innocuous sentences; the profound silences; the syntax that isn't quite how real people actually talk) in a spy movie, but it really works. Which is to say that in Quillers world, death is dispensed via relatively banal means like bombs and bullets instead of, say, dagger shoes and radioactive lint. The mission in Berlin is a mess, two of the Bureaus spies have been murdered already by the shadowy Phoenix. In many ways, it creates mystery through the notion of exploring "mystery" itself. The plot holes are many. Set largely on location in West Berlin, it has George Segal brought back from vacation to replace a British agent who has come to a sticky end at the hands of a new infiltrating group of Nazis. I just dont really understand the ending to a degree. movies. Dril several holes in it, the size of a pin, one the size of a small coin. A bit too sardonic at times, I think his character wanted to be elsewhere, clashing with KGB agents instead of ferreting out neo-nazis. Quiller also benefits from some geographically eclectic West Berlin location shooting from master cinematographer and Berlin native Erwin Hillier. Quiller, however, escapes, and with Inges help, he discovers the location of Phoenixs headquarters. Quiller continues his subtle accusations, and Inge continues her denial of ever meeting Jones. This demonstration using familiar breakfast food items serves to stimulate the American spys brainwaves into serious operative mode. Quiller's assignment is to take over where Jones left off. But don't let it fool you for one minutenor Mr. Segal, nor Senta Berger as the girl. As such, it was deemed to be in the mode of The Ipcress File (1965) and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965). Directed by Michael Anderson; produced by Ivan Stockwell; screenplay by Harold Pinter; cinematography by Erwin Hiller; edited by Frederick Wilson; art direction by Maurice Carter; music by John Barry; starring George Segal, Max Von Sydow, Alec Guinness, Senta Berger, and guest stars George Stevens and Robert Helpmann. Once Quiller becomes extra-friendly with Ingewhich happens preternaturally quicklyits clear someone on the other side is getting nervous. You HAVE been watching it carefully. Alec Guinness never misses a trick in his few scenes as the cold, witty fish in charge of Berlin sector investigations. I feel this film much more typified real counter espionage in the 60's as opposed to the early Bond flicks (which I love, by the way). George Segal is a fine and always engaging actor, but the way his character is written here, he doesn't really come across as "a spy who gets along by his brains and not by his brawn"; he seems interested almost exclusively in the girl he meets, not in the case he's investigating, and (at least until the end) he seems to survive as a result of a combination of his good luck and the stupidity of the villains. The book is more focused on thinking as a spy and I found it to be very realistic. Its excellent entertainment. Inge tells him she loves him, and he tells her a phone number to call if he is not back in 20 minutes. That makes the story much more believable, and Adam Hall's writing style kept me engaged. From the latest Scandinavian serial killer to Golden Age detective stories, we love our crime novels! Michael Anderson directs a classy slice of '60s spy-dom. Quiller reaches Pol's secret office in Berlin, one of the top floors in the newly built Europa-Center, the tallest building in the city, and gives them the location of the building where he met Oktober. On the other hand, the female lead is played by the charming Senta Berger, then aged 25, who does very well, and manages to be enigmatic, and gets just the right tone for the story. Quiller drives off, managing to shake Hengel, then notices men in another car following him. THE SITE FOR DIE HARD CRIME & THRILLER FANS. Published chrismass61 Aug 21 2013 It certainly held my interest, partly because it was set in Berlin and even mentioned the street I lived on several times. ): as a result, they were summarily bumped off with stereotypical German precision. It's a more realistic or credible portrayal of how a single character copes with trying to get information in a dangerous environment. If Quiller isnt the most dramatically pleasing of the anti-Bond subgenre, its certainly not for lack of ambition, originality, or undistinguished crew or cast members. Journeyman director Michael Andersons The Quiller Memorandum, which was as defiantly anti-Bond as you could get in 1966, has just been rescued from DVD mediocrity by the retro connoisseurs at Twilight Time and given a twenty-first-century Blu-ray upgrade. They are all members of Phoenix, led by the German aristocrat code-named Oktober. Director Michael Anderson Writers Trevor Dudley Smith (based on the novel by) Harold Pinter (screenplay) Stars George Segal Alec Guinness Max von Sydow See production, box office & company info In the mid-Sixties, the subgenre of the James Bond backlash film was becoming a crowded market. An almost unrecognizable George Segal stars in "The Quiller Memorandum," set in Berlin and made 40 years ago. The Phoenix group descend and take Quiller, torturing him to find out what he knows. It is very rare that I find anyone else who is even aware of the Quiller books and yet they are as your reviewer mentions, absolutely first class. Older ; About; In the West Berlin of the 1960s, two British agents are killed by a Nazi group, prompting British Intelligence to dispatch agent Quiller to investigate. And although Harold Pinters screenwriting for Quiller doesnt strike one as being classically Pinteresque, occasionally his distinct style reveals itself in pockets of suggestive menace where silence is often just as important as whats spoken. The friend proves to be Hassler, who is now much more friendly. In the process, he discovers a complex and malevolent plot, more dangerous to the world than any crime committed during the war. No doubt Quiller initially seems like a slow-witted stumblebum, but his competence as an agent begins to reveal itself in due course: for instance, we find out he speaks fluent German; in a late scene, he successfully uses a car bomb to fake his own death and fool his adversaries; and along the way he exhibits surprisingly competent hand-to-hand combat skills in beating up a few Nazi bullyboys. He notices the concierge is seated where he can see anyone leaving. As other reviewers have suggested, this Cold War Neo-Nazi intrigue is more concerned with subtle, low-key plot evolution than the James Bond in-your-face-gadgetry genre that was prevalent during the 60's-70's. In fact, he is derisory about agents who insist on being armed. Quiller befriends a teacher, Inge Lindt, whose predecessor at the school had been arrested for being a Neo-Nazi. Following the few leads his predecessor Jones had accumulated, Quiller finds himself nosing around for clues in the sort of unglamorous places in which Bond would never deign to set footbowling alleys and public swimming pools, especially. Omissions? Their aim is to bring back the Third Reich. While most realistic spy films of the 60s focused on the Soviet threat, Quiller pits the title character against a group of neo-Nazis. But for today's audiences, those films are a bit old fashioned and not always very easy to follow, too much complicated. She claims she turned in the teacher from the article, and points out the dilapidated Phoenix mansion. A Twilight Time release. Alec Guinness is excellent as a spy chief, and he gives a faint whiff of verisimilitude to this hopeless film. The name of the intelligence agency that Quiller ( George Segal) worked for was MI6. Its there to tackle the dirty jobs, and Quiller is the Bureaus go-to guy. The novel was titledThe Berlin Memorandum and at its centre was the protagonist and faceless spy, Quiller. Quiller admits to Inge that he is an "investigator" on the trail of neo-Nazis. 1 jamietre 8 mo. Despite an Oscar nomination for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," Segal's strength lies in light comedy, and both his demeanor and physical build made him an unlikely pick for an action role, even if the film is short on action. Quiller would have also competed with the deluge of popular spy spoofs and their misfit mock-heroes: namely, Dean Martins drinking-and-driving playboy agent Matt Helm (The Silencers, Wrecking Crew) and James Coburns parody of Bondian suavity, Derek Flint, in the trippy spy fantasias Our Man Flint (1966) and In Like Flint (1967). Guinness appears as Segal's superior and offers a great deal of presence and class. It was written by Harold Pinter, but despite his talent for writing plays, he certainly had no cinematic sense whatever. As usual for films which are difficult to pin down . The cast is full of familiar faces: Alec Guinness, who doesn't have much of a role, George Sanders, who has even less of one, Max von Sydow in what was to become a very familiar part for him, Robert Helpmann, Robert Flemyng, and the beautiful, enigmatic Senta Berger. After being prevented from using a phone, Quiller makes a run for an elevated train, and thinking he has managed to shake off Oktober's men, exits the other side of the elevated station only to run into them again. Written by Harold Pinter from the novel by Adam Hall Produced by Ivan Foxwell Directed by Michael Anderson Reviewed by Glenn Erickson The enormous success of James Bond made England the center of yet another worldwide cultural phenomenon. Pretending to be a reporter, Quiller visits the school featured in the article. This movie belongs to the long list of the spy features of the sixties, and not even James Bond like movies, rather John Le Carr oriented ones, in the line of IPCRESS or ODESSA FILE, very interesting films for movie buffs in search of a kind of nostalgia and also for those who try to understand this period. He is British secret agent Kenneth Lindsay Jones. Alec Guiness and George Sanders have brief roles as Segal's Control and Home Office head, respectively, and both rather coldly and matter-of-factly pooh-pooh over the grisly death of Segal's agent predecessor. Quiller, a British agent who works without gun, cover or contacts, takes on a neo-Nazi underground organization and its war criminal leader. The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett, Norwegian crime show Witch Hunt comes to Walter Presents, The Wall: Quebec crime show comes to More4, Irish crime drama North Sea Connection comes to BBC Four, The complete guide to Mick Herrons Slough House series. Soon after his amorous encounter with Inge, Quiller is drugged on the street by a crafty hypodermic-wielding operative and wakes up in a seedy basement full of stern-looking Nazis in business attire. This isachievedviaQuillers first person perspective. Corrections? His two predecessors were killed off in their attempts, but he nevertheless proceeds with headstrong (perhaps even bullheaded) confidence without the aid of cover or even a firearm! Author/co-author of numerous books about the cinema and is regarded as one of the foremost James Bond scholars. I'll give this horribly dated film a generous **1/2 rating anyway; hell, you don't see a cast as great as this one every day! Nobel prizes notwithstanding I think Harold Pinter's screenplay for this movie is pretty lame, or maybe it's the director's fault. Released at a time when the larger-than-life type of spy movie (the James Bond series) was in full swing and splashy, satirical ones (such as "Our Man Flynt" and "The Silencers") were about to take off, this is a quieter, more down-to-earth and realistic effort. The characters and dialog are well-written and most roles are nicely acted. A crisply written story that captured my attention from beginning to end. The Quiller Memorandum subtitles. After they have sex, she unexpectedly reveals that a friend was formerly involved with neo-Nazis and might know the location of Phoenix's HQ. An American agent is sent to Berlin to track down the leaders of a neo-Nazi organization, but when they . The newspaper clipping that Hengel gives to Quiller, in the cafe when they first meet, shows that a schoolteacher called Hans Heinrich Steiner has been arrested for war crimes committed in WW2. Pol tells Quiller that Kenneth Lindsay Jones, a fellow agent and friend of Quiller's, was killed two days earlier by a neo-Nazi cell operating out of Berlin. The photo shows a man in Luftwaffe (airforce) uniform. Fans of realistic spy fiction will enjoy David McCloskeys debut thriller Damascus Station, newly available in paperback in the UK. When Quiller returns to his hotel, a porter bumps Quiller's leg with a suitcase on the steps. Mind you, in 1966-67 the Wall was there, East German border guards and a definite (cold war) cloud hanging over the city. Is there another film with as many sequences of extended, audible footsteps? In the West Berlin of the 1960s, two British agents are killed by a Nazi group, prompting British Intelligence to dispatch agent Quiller to investigate.In the West Berlin of the 1960s, two British agents are killed by a Nazi group, prompting British Intelligence to dispatch agent Quiller to investigate.In the West Berlin of the 1960s, two British agents are killed by a Nazi group, prompting British Intelligence to dispatch agent Quiller to investigate. Read our extensive list of rules for more information on other types of posts like fan-art and self-promotion, or message the moderators if you have any questions. Quiller slips out though a side door to the small garage yard where his car is kept. 2023 Variety Media, LLC. On its publication in 1966, THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM received the Edgar Award as best mystery of the year. Finally, he is placed in the no-win position of either choosing to aid von Sydow or allowing Berger to be murdered. [3], In a contemporary review for The New York Times, critic Bosley Crowther wrote: "Clearly, 'The Quiller Memorandum' is claptrap done up in a style and with a musical score by John Barry that might lead you to think it is Art. The British Secret Service sends agent Quiller to investigate. The Quiller Memorandum is a 1966 British neo noir eurospy film filmed in Deluxe Color and Panavision, adapted from the 1965 spy novel The Berlin Memorandum, by Elleston Trevor under the name "Adam Hall", screenplay by Harold Pinter, directed by Michael Anderson, featuring George Segal, Alec Guinness, Max von Sydow and Senta Berger.