Billion Dollar Brain (1967)

Billion Dollar Brain (1967), directed by Ken Russell.

Harry Palmer has quit the Secret Service and wants to be a private detective, but of course his old bosses pull him back for a mission to wintry Finland. It is a confusing plot and I gave up on it when he fell in with black-marketeering rebels in Riga, Latvia. It eventually takes us to Texas where we meet a crazed super-patriot in his vast underground facility. He is much like a Bond Villain and is planning to invade the Soviet Union, which is a quirky switch on the 007 plots.

This is unserious throughout, with no tension and vast absurdity, getting into Derek Flint territory. Strong anti-American bias, or maybe just for the aggressive anti-communist cold warriors.

This is the third and final Harry Palmer feature film, following The Ipcress File (1965) and Funeral in Berlin (1966). Michael Caine did two more made-for-tv movies as HP.

Said to be Ken Russell's only mainstream picture as a director for hire. It's not as bizarre as his later projects. Much location shooting in Finland.

Available on Blu-ray from Kino. No subtitles.