|A Dandy in Aspic|
French DVD cover
|Directed by||Anthony Mann|
Laurence Harvey (uncredited)
|Produced by||Anthony Mann|
|Written by||Derek Marlowe|
|Based on||A Dandy in Aspic|
by Derek Marlowe
|Music by||Quincy Jones|
|Edited by||Thelma Connell|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|April 1968 (UK)|
April 2, 1968
A Dandy in Aspic is a 1968 neo-noir 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.
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.
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 film footage 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.
- Laurence Harvey as Eberlin
- Tom Courtenay as Gatiss
- Mia Farrow as Caroline
- Harry Andrews as Fraser
- Peter Cook as Prentiss
- Lionel Stander as Sobakevich
- Per Oscarsson as Pavel
- Barbara Murray as Miss Vogler
- John Bird as Henderson
- Norman Bird as Copperfield
- Geoffrey Bayldon as Lake
- Calvin Lockhart as Brogue
- James Cossins as Heston-Stevas
- Michael Trubshawe as Flowers
- Geoffrey Lumsden as Ridley
- Elspeth March as Lady Hetherington
- Richard O'Sullivan as Nevil
- Mike Pratt as Greff
- George Murcell as Sergeant Harris
- Vernon Dobtcheff as Stein
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.
Reviews of the film were largely unfavourable. The New York Times described it as "a very wobbly spy movie...slow, blank, decorous and completely devoid of suspense." Variety dismissed the film as a "routine, poorly-titled espionage meller loaded with uninteresting, cardboard characters." Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide rates the film 2 out of 4 stars and describes it as a "wooden spy melodrama in which principals keep switching sides so rapidly it becomes impossible to follow." Among the more positive reviews, Time Out says "the film is strong on Cold War atmospherics and notable for its superior cast." The film has a 3.2 out of 5 star rating at Letterboxd and a 6.2/10 rating at the Internet Movie Database.
DVD, Blu-ray and streaming
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. A limited edition blu-ray disc with extensive bonus materials was released in the United Kingdom on 25 March 2019. In 2020, it became available for streaming on The Criterion Channel.
- A Dandy in Aspic on IMDb
- A Dandy in Aspic at AllMovie
- A Dandy in Aspic at the TCM Movie Database
- A Dandy in Aspic at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Spicer, Andrew (2010). Historical Dictionary of Film Noir. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. p. 427. ISBN 978-0-8108-5960-9.
- Adler, Renata. "Screen: Harvey Plays a Deadpan 'Dandy in Aspic'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
- Variety staff. "A Dandy in Aspic". Variety. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
- Maltin, Leonard (2015). Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide (2015 ed.). New York: Penguin Random House. p. 316. ISBN 9780451468499.
- "A Dandy in Aspic". Time Out. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
- "A Dandy in Aspic". Letterboxd. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
- "A Dandy in Aspic". IMDB. Retrieved 3 April 2020.