• THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM (3 outta 5 stars)

    The 1960s saw a plethora of two kinds of spy movies: the outrageous semi-serious James Bond ripoffs (like the Flint and Matt Helm movies) and the very dry, methodical ones that were more talk than action (mostly John Le Carre and Alistair MacLean adaptations). This is one of the better examples of the talky thrillers. Not that the movie is boring... there is lots of good, cat-and-mouse dialogue courtesy of playwright Harold Pinter. George Segal plays the hero, an undercover spy who goes to West Berlin to find out who killed his predecessor... who was on the trail of modern-day Nazis. Segal has surprisingly little difficulty in finding himself right in the thick of things... being captured and drugged by the baddies... and even having time for a romance with a German schoolteacher who may know more than she lets on. Parts of the movie reminded me a lot of the classic "The Third Man"... which I think the director was trying to emulate at times. Well, this is not quite a classic of that caliber but it is a very well-written and smoothly-paced "old school" thriller. Segal makes a very cool lead... witty and sarcastic, yet with a vulnerable side, too.