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A Dandy in Aspic (1968) HD online

A Dandy in Aspic (1968) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Action / Drama / Thriller
Original Title: A Dandy in Aspic
Director: Anthony Mann,Laurence Harvey
Writers: Derek Marlowe,Derek Marlowe
Released: 1968
Duration: 1h 47min
Video type: Movie
Double-agent Alexander Eberlin is assigned by the British to hunt out a Russian spy, known to them as Krasnevin. Only Eberlin knows that Krasnevin is none other than himself! Accompanying him on his mission is a ruthless partner, who gradually discovers his secret as Eberlin tries to maneuver himself out of a desperate situation.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Laurence Harvey Laurence Harvey - Krasnevin aka Alexander Eberlin
Tom Courtenay Tom Courtenay - Gatiss
Mia Farrow Mia Farrow - Caroline
Harry Andrews Harry Andrews - Fraser
Peter Cook Peter Cook - Prentiss
Lionel Stander Lionel Stander - Sobakevich
Per Oscarsson Per Oscarsson - Pavel
Barbara Murray Barbara Murray - Miss Vogler
John Bird John Bird - Henderson
Norman Bird Norman Bird - Copperfield
Geoffrey Bayldon Geoffrey Bayldon - Lake
Calvin Lockhart Calvin Lockhart - Brogue
James Cossins James Cossins - Heston-Stevas
Michael Trubshawe Michael Trubshawe - Flowers
Lockwood West Lockwood West - Quince

Director Anthony Mann died during production and was replaced by Laurence Harvey.

The film's ending was directed by Laurence Harvey who also directed some scenes shot in Berlin. Anthony Mann directed all of the scenes in Surrey and London as well as some of the Berlin scenes.

Writer Derek Marlowe once said of actor Laurence Harvey's partial direction of this movie: "He directed his own mis-talent, changed it and the script - which is rather like Mona Lisa touching up her portrait while Leonardo is out of the room".

Cinematographer John Alton, who had retired in 1960, met former colleague Anthony Mann in a Swiss casino high up in the Alps. Mann was directing "A Dandy in Aspic" at the time and wanted Alton to shoot his next picture. Alton agreed to talk to him about it the next day, but Mann died before their meeting. According to Alton, "He'd been losing so much money at the casino, that probably helped kill him. The industry lost a great man.". Laurence Harvey completed the picture.

First theatrical feature film for actress Mia Farrow after predominantly working in television and at the time being mostly known for appearing in Peyton Place (1964).

Final film of director Anthony Mann.

Laurence Harvey received top / first billing, Tom Courtenay received second billing and Mia Farrow received third billing.

Leslie Gilliat always said that he preferred shooting on the studio lot ("You don't have to hire generators and so on") to location work. This sentiment was confirmed by this film which Gilliat later described as "a bit of a mess", after director Mann died during filming in Berlin.

This movie was made and released about two years after writer Derek Marlowe's novel of the same name was first published in 1966. 'A Dandy in Aspic' was the first novel for author Marlowe.

This picture is a 1960s Cold War spy thriller and is also considered a Eurospy film.

Principal photography production of this picture went over-schedule.

Reportedly, the marriage of actress Mia Farrow and Frank Sinatra was in decline during the production of this movie. Apparently, when the film went over schedule, Sinatra phoned everyday to order Farrow to come home.

Debut credited English-language feature film of actor Calvin Lockhart who played the character of Brogue.

Julie Christie was offered the role of Caroline but turned it down. The film would have reunited her with previous co-stars Tom Courtenay and Laurence Harvey (from Billy Liar (1963) and Darling (1965), respectively).



Reviews: [15]

  • avatar

    fr0mTheSkY

    While the story is admittedly somewhat confusing, this is definitely not the disaster that Maltin et al. would have you believe it is. It's got some plot issues, and is in fact a bit baffling by the end, but these weaknesses are far outweighed by the sleek mid-60's visuals, the cool location shots of Berlin, and the whole spy-in-an-atmosphere-of-paranoia-and-dread vibe (ie., like the Prisoner). Definitely worth a rent if you're into spy movies and/or paranoia.

    p.s. the ever so mod and swinging soundtrack music is by Quincy Jones!
  • avatar

    Mettiarrb

    Dour spy film full of ambiance and interesting scenes, filmed on location in London and Berlin, in color, with an interesting story about a Russian spy who has been infiltrated into the British spying agency for eighteen years and wants to go back home. The twist is that he's done such a good job for the Russians, that the British want him killed. The added twist is that we're led to believe that they (the British) don't know about him (his true identity), and send him to Berlin to kill the Russian mole (himself). Who better to play the part than the intense Laurence Harvey? Combine him with Per Oscarsson as his Russian contact, the two of them both homesick and tired of the existential life of a spy, and both doomed, and you get a pretty brooding picture. Harvey's romance with Mia Farrow doesn't add much, but attempts to put him in some kind of human warmth out of the cold and danger of the spy world. If the film is pretentious, it's because of the Cold War world of espionage that it seeks to portray, Sartre existentialism with touches of Kafka, as well as swinging 60's jet set James Bond scenes, such as a great scene at the German Grand Prix, featuring Tom Courtenay with a rifle disguised as a cane, and the sophisticated and elegant opening theme written by Quincy Jones.
  • avatar

    godlike

    I loved Laurence Harvey in THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE. This is also a good performance. The spy stuff and his relationship with the character played by Tom Courtenay are interesting. Also interesting is the young Peter Cook in a "straight" role ( well sort of). Harvey brought such an air of sadness and despair to this kind of role ( much like his doomed brainwashed pawn in MC). I recall a scene where he is asked about his mother's death ( I believe) and he cannot remember how he felt. The life and emotion were drained out of him to create the perfect double agent. This kind of film was popular in the 60's as an antidote to James Bond and his clones. Others include THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD and THE DEADLY AFFAIR. The great Anthony Mann started this film and was replaced by Harvey when Mann died.
  • avatar

    Bandiri

    This is the last movie by a man who gave some of the best westerns ever made.After "Cimarron" (1960) ,he went to make epics ,the first of which ("El Cid" ) stands as his most sustained work in the sixties.

    "A dandy in aspic" ,which was finished by his star,looks like a cross between "the Manchourian candidate " (which Laurence Harvey's presence reinforces) and "the spy who came in from the cold" ,with a dash of Jorge Luis Borges thrown in for good measure It's not as bad as its reputation.First the dance of the puppet ,during the cast and credits ,is worthy of Saul Bass (the puppet comes back at the end).Then the movie,entirely filmed on location,takes us to the wharfs of London and to Berlin at the time of the Wall.Like many works of the era ,it deals with cold war and is not worse than most of them.Nothing from James Bond,except maybe the scene with Harvey's secretary ,but it's not Moneypenny.A threatening world where men are only pawns in a game,or puppets in the hands of a string man we never see .The best moment is probably the automatic photo booth ,a scene which has been imitated since.

    SPOILER Unfortunately ,the part of Caroline (Mia Farrow) gets in the way.As soon as he's in Berlin,Eberlin meets her and we may think that the character bears some relation with the plot.But her presence is purely decorative and as Tom Courtenay says :"You've got no past and he's got no future" .
  • avatar

    Fani

    I won't go into much detail as I don't disagree with many of the negative comments cast here, but overall this is an eminently watchable film- I've seen it perhaps 6 times. I like the quirky off balance, alternating dark and light nature (but then again I loved Fay Grim and other flawed gems).

    And although likewise flawed there are some great individual performances great shots of London/Berlin ( I was in East Berlin in 1980 and it didn't look or feel much different) that make it the perfect rainy Wednesday afternoon companion.

    Note, as uneven as it is, overall I think films like this are a more enjoyable experience than current releases like the Girl Who Played with Fire or the Social Network that are more consistent; but consistently mediocre. But as always, YMMV.
  • avatar

    Ylal

    It was somewhat of a feature of the late 1960s to make bleak and world weary spy movies. This film is in this mould. I saw the film upon it's release and quite enjoyed it, albeit it is slow and a little dull. Still, I think that it is an interesting piece of film making and enjoyed the performances of Laurence Harvey and Tom Courtenay who play British agents who do not like each other. (Harvey is in fact a double agent). There are some good locations shots of 1960's London (mainly bleak) and Berlin (not so bleak). Harvey trudges around both capitals after been given an assignment to kill a Russian Spy - who is in fact himself. Mia Farrow is a trendy young thing (tho' a bit on the thin side)and adds love interest. However, as she keeps turning up wherever Harvey goes, is she as innocent as she appears? A young Peter Cook also stars as a rather irritating junior British agent. John Bird and Lionel Stander add a little humour into an otherwise humourless film. Definitely worth a look.
  • avatar

    Marr

    Oh the trials and tribulations of being a spy. Alexander Eberlin (Lawrence Harvey) is in a bad way. You see, he's a Russian spy within the British Secret Service, and has been one for eighteen long years. He wants out, to go back to Russia but is forbidden to do so by his superiors. Things have just gotten worse for Eberlin too. He's been busy killing British agents on the sly and now suddenly he's been assigned to eliminate the person responsible - himself! As if that wasn't enough, the Brits think the assassin is a Russian agent, Pavel (Per Osscarson), who happens to be Eberlin's contact in London and an old friend. When Pavel turns up dead and is declared not to be the assassin after all, things get really complicated for Eberlin.

    This is credited as an Anthony Mann production but Mann died before filming was completed and star Lawrence Harvey took over. Given the interesting premise it's a shame the film is so disappointing. It drifts aimlessly never creating the tension you'd expect and in the end poor Eberlin is killed after being made a monkey of by the Brits and Russians alike. Yes it was cynical but so coldly so that the film leaves virtually no impression and that's the real crime.

    There is a marionette credit sequence which is nicely done and symbolic as all get out but subtle it ain't and Quincy Jones' vague and formless score fits this meandering film but gives no weight to the proceedings. There are some nice wide screen compositions and deep focus photography to amuse your eyes but all in all this was a doomed production from the beginning and never found its footing.
  • avatar

    Aver

    I am not sure why this film gets a bad rap -- I thoroughly enjoyed it. Wonderful locations of an impossibly glamorous late-60s London, Lawrence Harvey suitably mysterious, a seeping sense of doom which won't give you nightmares but will make you appreciate the story arc even more.

    Yes there are plot holes but nothing major. The character of Mia Farrow remains a cipher, but maybe it's intentional.

    Watch out for two then future telly stars in minor roles: Richard O'Sullivan (of Man about the house) and Mike Pratt (of Randall and Hopkirk).

    Recommended.
  • avatar

    Bumand

    It's difficult to watch the cold war thriller A DANDY IN ASPIC and not scratch your head wondering what is going on. Laurence Harvey is a double agent chosen by British intelligence to track down a double agent who is working for the Russians. The double agent turns out to be himself...and we know that early on so you spend the rest of the movie wondering who's who and what side are they on. Nevertheless, the game of cat-and-mouse played between Harvey and nasty British spy Tom Courtney (a great actor) is fun. A DANDY IN ASPIC is not a bad movie, it just that the plot is thicker than Laurence Harvey's out of control pompadour. Mia Farrow is a swinging London photographer who gets involved with Harvey and Lionel Stander plays a witty Russian mole.
  • avatar

    ALAN

    Mia Farrow made this one about the same time as Rosemary's Baby...this one is MUCH more low key... a spy thrilla. Lithuanian born Laurence Harvey had been in films since the 1940s, and was nominated for an oscar in 1960. died young of cancer at age 45. Harvey is "Eberlin", who is hired to find and kill Krasnevin, another spy. Moves pretty slowly, and the music is more erie than it needs to be. the special effects are pretty lame, lots of un-necessary echoing for effect. and it would have been more exciting if they hadn't given away so much of the plot so early on. Gets a bit more exciting when he tries to travel into east berlin, which was still quite restricted in 1967. It's ok. tries to be more exciting and mysterious than it is. Eberlin bumps into various characters along the way, and he must figure out who's on his side, and who is not. apparently the first director croaked during filming, so this probably accounts for some of the choppiness. Keep an eye out for "Max" from Hart to Hart (Lionel Stander). No big dealio. Writer Derek Marlowe had done mostly television... had a couple stories made into films.
  • avatar

    Togor

    This is the last film directed by Anthony Mann, whose 'Raw Deal' (1948) was the perfect noir film, and who was a man of immense talent. But he died while shooting this, and Larry Harvey finished the job. This resulted in an imbalance and a lack of conception and tone. What is mostly wrong with the way this turned out is that the film is 'so VERY late sixties' in its depiction of the bowler-hatted old school tie mandarins and spy chiefs as arch, coy, and menacing in a prep sort of way. Mia Farrow is also completely hopeless as 'the girl'. She is supposed to be an irresistible little elf of a thing, but she merely looks like she is dying of anorexia (her arms are as big as knitting needles, though less strong) and about as much elfin charm as a cockroach. Farrow may be a fine actress now, but she was terrible when young. Her failure, of course, took all the zing out of the picture. Larry Harvey is absolutely fascinating as a double-agent going to pieces in private, with a constipated desperation. Larry actually had that enigmatic, super-cool manner a lot of the time. He had cultivated it so well that it became ingrained and a part of him, and it had ceased to be affectation long before I knew him towards the end of his life. I had several long chats with him alone, when he dropped his guard very much indeed, and underneath any patina of persona he had made for himself, he was at heart a very genuine person. And he WAS as fascinating as he seems in his movies. He didn't know why either, but then true stars never do. This film is worth seeing for him, and for a hysterically funny cameo by John Bird. Clearly, Larry thought it was so funny he refused to restrain him, on a 'what the hell' basis, and a good thing too, as it made a rather pedestrian film come alive a bit. Lionel Stander, however, hammed up his part of a Russian so much he deserved an apple in his mouth. Per Oscarsson was wan and Ingmar Bergman-like, just as you would expect. Peter Cook floats around cheerily not knowing what to do and never did find out. Oh yes, this whole thing is about spies and betrayal and double-agents and all that sort of thing. Hardly matters. Tom Courtenay, that pipsqueak, cast here as a 'heavy', does not work. One does not believe in the rifle he is always carrying as a shooting stick, not his ability to use it. One strange aspect of this tale is that the double-agent is disillusioned and wants to return to Russia, but they won't let him and keep turning him back at the German border: a variation on Thomas Wolfe's 'You Can't Go Home Again'? Just joking. This film is past is 'view by' date.
  • avatar

    Marilbine

    I found the dull, pointless A Dandy in Aspic a most disappointing movie when I saw it back in 1968. Alas, it proves equally time-wasting in its excellent Sony DVD version. Despite the credits, the film was not directed by Anthony Mann but by the far less talented Laurence Harvey (who gives a slack performance to boot). Mann died of heart attack in Berlin on 29 April 1967 after directing only a few location shots. Harvey gallantly picked up the reins, finished the German scenes and then did all the British location and studio shots, accounting for at least 99% of the film, which premiered in April, 1968, almost a year after Mann's death. True, Harvey was saddled with an impossible script. I assume the way that the totally extraneous Mia Farrow character keeps popping up in all sorts of really way-out places was supposed to be funny, and the totally far-fetched plot was perhaps intended as cynical satire; but Harvey plays all these ridiculous scenes (both as actor and director) dead serious with a banal over-use of close-ups and super-slow dialogue. Of the main stars, only Tom Courtenay manages to convey a hint of true characterization, although it's left solely to Lionel Stander, in a small, fleeting role, to convey just the right atmosphere of jocose, ruthless menace.
  • avatar

    Whilingudw

    Laurence Harvey plays a Russian-born spy based in London who is now working for both countries as a double-agent; he's assigned by the British to kill his alter-ego, and hopes to find a target to assume his alias. Opening with a wonderful credits sequence, "A Dandy in Aspic" looks initially to be an enjoyably old-fashioned Cold War excursion with such familiar elements as CIA operatives and the KGB. Unfortunately, though screenwriter Derek Marlowe adapted his own novel, the key ingredients of such a spy-drama appear to have gone missing; the film is all talky exposition and little pay-off. Mia Farrow continually pops up unannounced as Harvey's love-interest, probably in the faint hope we'll assume she's sneakily involved somehow. There are so many camera set-ups, verboten conversations, and obtuse face-offs that the overall effect is both exhausting and stultifying. Harvey took over the direction of the film after original director-producer Anthony Mann passed away unexpectedly. This must account for the funereal pacing and the cloudy character interaction, though the plot itself wasn't exactly timely--not even for 1968. Farrow (just prior to "Rosemary's Baby") adds quite a bit of gamine magic to the proceedings as an amateur photographer who appears to be following Harvey wherever he goes; it isn't much of a role, but Mia's beauty and youthful charm go a long way towards making the picture tolerable. Other assets: Quincy Jones' low-keyed score and the fine cinematography by Christopher Challis and Austin Dempster. ** from ****
  • avatar

    Giamah

    Very entertaining late 60's Cold War romp through Britain and Germany. Excellent realism (Russian agent heroin user who longs for home simultaneously with the next hit!) and Laurence Harvey's cold, matter-of-fact demeanor as the disgruntled agent who is pretty much fed up with the whole political spy scene. He turned out to be a super choice for this role!

    Also, Mia Farrow is excellent as the ditsy, naive "bird" who takes a fancy to LH's counterpoint character. But the real kudos go to Peter Cook, the mod devil-may-care chap who supplies to LH all the pertinent spy goings-on with a mordant, off-color humorous style. (Note his playboy flirtations juxtaposed with his serious delineations of Home Office tidbits to LH at the penthouse tower bar in Germany.) Lionel Stander gets in a good dry line or two as a Russian agent who confronts LH in Germany. Quincy Jones gets my musical kudos for the tasteful soundtrack! Finally, the ending is also tastefully done, all too apropos for LH's downward spiraling lifestyle.
  • avatar

    Paster

    Laurence Harvey is assigned to kill a KGB agent who's killed several British agents. But, when he's informed of the man's codename, he panics—because it's actually his codename. He's a double agent! He spends the rest of the movie trying to protect his identity and escape back to Russia without any of his British co-workers suspecting his disloyalty. Along the way, he meets free-spirit Mia Farrow and has a passionless affair with her.

    I like Laurence Harvey, and I love Mia Farrow, but I was bored to tears with this movie. I could lay blame on the script, pace, or acting, but it's probably a combination of all three. I didn't understand the characters, the pace was uneven, and the acting felt tired. Laurence Harvey never acted like he was truly afraid to be discovered, and if his only motivation was to make it out of the country alive, why even bother with Mia Farrow? It made him even more unlikable to me, since he obviously had no feelings for her. If you have any interest in seeing this movie, pop in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold or any James Bond flick instead.