A Dandy in Aspic

A Dandy in Aspic is a 1968 neo-noir[1] Technicolor and Panavision British spy film, directed by Anthony Mann, based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Derek Marlowe and starring Laurence Harvey, Tom Courtenay, and Mia Farrow. It was Mann's final film.

A Dandy in Aspic
French DVD cover
Directed byAnthony Mann
Laurence Harvey (uncredited)
Produced byAnthony Mann
Written byDerek Marlowe
Based onA Dandy in Aspic
1966 novel
by Derek Marlowe
StarringLaurence Harvey
Tom Courtenay
Mia Farrow
Peter Cook
Harry Andrews
Music byQuincy Jones
CinematographyChristopher Challis
Austin Dempster
Edited byThelma Connell
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
April 1968 (UK)
April 2, 1968
Running time
107 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish

Essentially a Cold War thriller, it is the story of a Russian counter-espionage agent known as Eberlin (Laurence Harvey) to his employers in British Intelligence, where he is working undercover for Moscow as a double agent.

Plot

Eberlin's (Laurence Harvey) superiors in Britain instruct him to find and assassinate a KGB agent named Krasnevin, believed to have killed a number of British agents. This presents a problem for Eberlin, as he is Krasnevin. Summoned to a meeting at a country house, he is presented with a photograph of the suspected Krasnevin. It turns out to be his handler and go-between with Moscow.

He is partnered with a ruthless, cynical, and sociopathic British agent Gatiss (Tom Courtenay), who openly distrusts and dislikes him. Mia Farrow plays a London-based photographer with whom Eberlin has an affair. Much of the film takes place in West Berlin, where Eberlin tackles the dilemma posed by his mission by attempting to escape across the Berlin Wall to the East. His attempts are frustrated by his partnership with Gatiss and by the Soviet authorities, who are keen to retain one of their top agents in British intelligence.

Cast

Production

Largely filmed on location in London and Berlin, this was Anthony Mann's final film; he died of a heart attack before it was finished. Its direction was completed by Harvey. The film also features Peter Cook, at a time when his TV career was at a peak, in a minor role as the foppish but libidinous British agent Prentiss.

DVD

A Dandy in Aspic was released to DVD on 1 August 2011 by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment as a DVD-on-demand title available through Amazon.

  1. Spicer, Andrew (2010). Historical Dictionary of Film Noir. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. p. 427. ISBN 978-0-8108-5960-9.
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