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THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 104 minutes, audio commentary, trailers

STUDIO: 20th Century Fox

RELEASE DATE: 11-7-2006

Quiller (George Segal) is sent to West Berlin at the height of the Cold War to find the base of Neo-Nazis. He thinks he is hunting them only to soon find out they have been hunting him from the start like the two agents before them (that they killed). Who can Quiller trust when anyone could be the ones hunting him?

THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM came out in 1966 during the height of people's craving for spy movies.  The movie is based on the Elleston Trevor novel of the same name and Quiller was featured in 18 other novels.  There was a Quiller TV series that ran for 13 episodes on the BBC in 1976. 

One of the things that really stand out is John Barry's score (he did the music for several James Bond films and DANCES WITH WOLVES) and the intelligent script by Harold Pinter. Max Von Sydow stands out like usual in his role as Oktober, the head of the Neo-Nazis. Senta Burger is gorgeous as the school teacher that Quiller befriends and has a relationship with. The casting is good from George Sanders (most known for The Saint films from the 1930s and his bad guy roles) and Alec Guiness (many Star Wars will only know him for being Obi-Wan).

THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM is notable for the way the spy doesn't always best the bad guys and he might not get the girl in the end. As a spy thriller, THE QUILLER MEORANDUM seems subdued compared to the James Bond films, but I think less action actually makes the film even more interesting and on equal footing with Bond. The film is more in line with what a spy might do without all those gadgets and being cool like Bond. Quiller uses fake names to gather info and his contact with fellow spies is a code revolving around cigarettes. It was also filmed in West Berlin. The West Gemran film censors at the time removed the Neo-Nazi references and audiences thought the enemies were communists. If you want a relistic counterpart to James Bond, check out this film.

VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

Nice and clear picture. Image detail is good.

AUDIO: English Mono, French Mono, Spanish Mono

Subtitles: English, Spanish

The audio is free of background hiss and the dialogue (and John Barry's score) comes in very clearly.

SPECIAL FEATURES: the only extras are an entertaining audio commentary by Film Historians Eddie Friedfeld and Lee Pfieffer, and trailers for various films including this one, THE CHAIRMAN, the flint films, and three Michael Caine films (some of the trailers are 4:3 letterboxed while others are anamorphic widescreen). The audio commentary makes reference to other spy films and TV shows of the 1960s, that critics and the novel's author thought George Segal wasn't the right guy for Quiller, and about how the film differed from other spy films. Included with the DVD case is a short booklet of production notes on THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM.

FINAL ANALYSIS: THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM is a captivating spy thriller that sucks you in (with a fantastic score by John Barry). I do wish they had a featurette with cast and crew interviews.

RELATED LINKS:

The Unofficial Quiller web site-  http://www.quiller.net/

Screenwriter Harold Pinter's  web site-http://www.haroldpinter.org/home/index.shtml

RELATED DVD Reviews:

THE CHAIRMAN-  http://enterline2.tripod.com/thechairman.html

this review is (c)11-30-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com