Following The Ipcress File (1965) and Funeral in Berlin (1966), producer Harry Saltzman turned to up-and-coming British director Ken Russell to direct Billion Dollar Brain and wound up with the most wildly surreal, and strangely poetic, film in the Harry Palmer series.
Michael Caine’s Palmer turns to the private eye business but is forced back into Britain’s service to deliver an odd package to an old friend, Leo Newbegin (Karl Malden), an ex-CIA man.
He infiltrates an organisation controlled by deranged American General Midwinter (Ed Begley), who plans to use his computer network (called ‘The Brain’) to start a war with Latvia and other countries of the Communist regime
British intelligence blackmails Palmer back into government service, and Harry must join forces with his old Soviet nemesis Colonel Stok (Oskar Homolka) to foil the general’s plans.
Palmer finds himself wrapped in fur, roaming around the Scandinavian tundra with the gorgeous Anya, played by enigmatic Françoise Dorleac (Catherine Deneuve’s sister, who died at a tragically young age).