Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Caine Puts Life in the "Funeral"

Cleveland Press January 19, 1967

"Funeral in Berlin" is a smooth and slickly done espionage movie that derives most of its success from the fact that actor Michael Caine is so able.

Caine is back as Harry Palmer, the soft-sell spy from "Ipcress File," the small time swindler turned cloak and dagger man.

This time around though he is a little tougher, a more astute and shrewder operative. His dialog is adroitly witty, sounding more as though it were derived from the soul of a cynic in the midst of dirty business than dreamed up by a gaggle of gag writers.

"FUNERAL" has an involved plot about the art of cross and double cross with no one being quite what he seems to be. In the midst of it all is Caine, looking a little dense, moving his own way and coming out on top because he can recognize the basic dishonesty of everyone in his particular line.

The setting for most of this is West Berlin, the main problem, one of smuggling a defector from East to West.

The supposed defector is a Russian officer (Oscar Homolka). The means of escape -- a funeral in which Homolka would be substituted for a real corpse in a real casket. Corpses come cheap in the cold war.

PAUL HUBSCHMID is Caine's contact another imponderable. Attractive newcomer Eva Renzi is an Israeli spy who likes to get cozy but who can order Caine's death without batting her great big beautiful eyes.

Though occasionally over slick and confusingly involved, "Funeral" is well ahead of the gimmicky Bond epics with their super-good, super-evil characters.

You may not believe everything agent Harry Palmer does, but you won't feel your intelligence was insulted.