If you're going to build a Cold War thriller an implicate a massive government conspiracy along the way, try not to set your movie entirely in police stations and hotel rooms. This tepid Michael Caine drama doesn't get much past the excitement level of your usual county fair (Caine doesn't believe his son committed suicide! It's a cover-up!). Still, some fine performances from Caine, James Fox, John Gielgud, and others make this less painful than a poke to the eye.
Miss Jean Brodie (Maggie Smith) doesn't much care for the provencial attitudes of pre-WWII Edinburgh. She doesn't much care for traditional teaching methods, instead schooling the girls in her charge about art, love, passion, and so on. A primitive Dead Poets Society, Brodie encourages less-than-ladylike behavior, and not just because she's smooching guys in the classrooms when she thinks no one is looking. Smith is excellent -- and won an Oscar for the role -- helping to elevate the film above what can often be a somewhat stuffy character study.
Harry Palmer (Michael Caine), disgraced army sergeant and reluctant spy, heads off on his most renowned adventure in The Ipcress File, wherein a bunch of scientists are kidnapped, then summarily returned -- brainwashed. Harry fights the baddies and his own internal bureaucracy as he gets to the bottom of the matter, ignoring authority and cooking up a fine meal or two along the way -- and then he gets himself brainwashed, too! Goofy fun, but hardly a classic. James Bond, you ain't got nothin'!