FUNERAL IN BERLIN, published in 1964 as the third of Len Deighton’s ‘Harry Palmer’ novels (un-named in the books) turned up in 1966 as movie #2 of the group. Despite the success of The Ipcress File, its pictorially gimmicky director Sidney Furie was ditched in favor of the steady hand of Guy Hamilton, who had tuned Goldfinger into a phenomenon. Michael Caine returns as the calm, collected and clever Palmer, with Guy Doleman once again his supercilious boss.
The plot hinges–or starts to anyway–on facilitating the defection of Soviet intelligence officer Oscar Homolka, to be done from East to West Berlin. But complications naturally arise, from every corner, including a va-voom Israeli agent, played by Eva Renzi. It gets so dense by the third act you need a scorecard, but the cast is good (Homolka is a lot of fun), the Berlin locations are used to effect, the dialogue is smart without being show-offy–the exchanges between Caine and Homolka are particularly well crafted. Konrad Elfers handles the score this time instead of John Barry and for my ears it worked better (to each their own). The 102 minutes tick by engagingly.
Many, myself included, enjoyed it even more than the first escapade. It didn’t fare as well as Ipcress, however, coming in at #56 for the year, earning $4,380,000. With Paul Hubschmid, Hugh Burden, Heinz Schubert and Gunter Meisner. 21-year-old Marthe Keller makes her feature debut, uncredited.