The Ipcress File | 1965
Made on location around London, this was the first of three Harry Palmer spy movies from Len Deighton’s books (a series revived in straight-to-video productions years later). Director Sidney J Furie had little faith in the script (he claims to have set fire to a copy on the first day of shooting), and tricks the movie out with modish Sixties angles and framings.
The station from which the scientist is abducted at the opening is Marylebone Station, NW1 (a relatively quiet station, often used for filming, fresh from its appearance in The Beatles’ first movie, A Hard Day’s Night) (tube: Marylebone: Bakerloo Line).
When Palmer (Michael Caine) consults his cop pal for the lowdown on “Grantby – a right master criminal”, it’s at the original Great Scotland Yard building at Derby Gate on the Victoria Embankment (tube: Westminster: District and Circle Lines), before the Metropolitan Police HQ moved to its current home in Victoria.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Building, the old Admiralty Building, at the foot of The Mall alongside Admiralty Arch, became the ‘Ministry of Defence’ building where Palmer is summoned to the office of Colonel Ross (Guy Doleman) to be transferred to Major Dalby’s (Nigel Green) outfit (tube: Charing Cross; Northern and Bakerloo Lines).
Just south, Birdcage Walk, along the southern border of St James’s Park, is where Dalby and Ross plot their devious strategies.
T108, the bench used for clandestine meetings, is in Hyde Park, on Serpentine Road, running along the north of the park’s Serpentine lake.
Harry Palmer’s flat can be found just north of Uxbridge Road in Shepherd’s Bush, W12. It’s 9 Stanlake Villas on the corner of Stanlake Road (tube: Shepherd’s Bush: Hammersmith & City Line). This is a private home so, as always, please respect residents’s privacy.
30 Grosvenor Gardens at Ebury Street, Victoria, SW1, was the ‘Dalby Domestic Employment Bureau’, the staffing agency used as a front for Major Dalby’s outfit, to which Harry Palmer gets transferred. Much of the movie was shot within the building, which was entirely taken over for the production (tube: Victoria: District and Circle Lines).
It’s at Imperial College, Prince Consort Road, South Kensington that Palmer makes contact with ‘Bluejay’. The library is open to the public for personal research (tube: South Kensington: Piccadilly, District and Circle Lines). The same location crops up again when Harry Hart (Colin Firth) approaches Professor Arnold (Mark Hamill) in another Michael Caine spy movie, Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Furie perks up a fight scene by filming through the glass panes of a phone booth on the steps leading down from the south side of the Royal Albert Hall to Prince Consort Road (no, there’s not really a phone booth there). By the way, the impressive block of flats overlooking the top of the steps was home to Richard Hannay in the 1978 film of The Thirty-Nine Steps.
• Many thanks to Chris Mac for help with this section.