The Quiller Memorandum

By Spies and Sleuths

3 out of 5 stars
Despite a good cast and an often interesting screenplay, THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM was sent to the public in the middle of a flood of rock 'em-sock 'em spy movies and suffered from being a bit too literary and not having enough action to suit the temper of the times, though it is better received today. Quiller (Segal), an American agent, is sent to Berlin to infiltrate a neo-Nazi organization after two British agents have been killed trying to do the same. Under the direction of his boss, Pol (Guinness, in a brief but excellent performance), Quiller goes to a school where a teacher has hanged himself after being accused of being a war criminal. At the school, he meets Inge (Berger), the dead teacher's replacement, but when he goes home with her, Quiller is kidnapped by Nazis, drugged, and brought to meet the leader of the group, Oktober (von Sydow), who demands to know the location of the British spy headquarters in Berlin. No sooner does Quiller escape (the bad guys have allowed him to do so, hoping he would lead them to Pol) than he is Oktober's prisoner again. This time Quiller has until morning to reveal the sought after information or he and Inge will be killed. Harold Pinter's spare screenplay gives George Segal some funny lines, but the fact that Segal doesn't engage in the usual Bondsmanship is welcome relief for audiences bore with one fantastic exploit after another and yearning for a more human look at spying.

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Last modified: Saturday, July 21, 2001

This entry was taken from Spies and Sleuths, 1988.