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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Billion Dollar Brain (1967)



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It's hard to pin down why Billion Dollar Brain feels like such a step down from its excellent predecessors, The Ipcress File and Funeral In Berlin. The slyly insubordinate character of Harry Palmer is every bit as compelling as before, and the spy story has all the twists and turns you could hope for. The problem is probably that it strays too much into James Bond territory, creating a cartoon villain -- complete with elaborate underground hideout -- in place of a real one. Computers play a large role in the story, too. In 1967, computers were not well understood. They were employed admirably in comedies, where the technical inaccuracies were unimportant, but here, in what is supposed to be a semi-realistic spy story, it just feels silly. Still, fans of the first two movies should also enjoy the third, just maybe a little less.

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