MidnightSidebar

DVD Box cover

Midnight in St. Petersburg - 1995

The plot

Harry Palmer, after doing the job for Alex Alexovich in the first film, decides to set up a private security agency in Moscow (modelled by the producer on the real life agencies cropping up to protect the oligarchs, staffed by ex-KGB agents).

He gets a job to locate and recover a consignment of stolen plutonium, and with the help of colleague Nikolai Petrov (Jason Connery), he sets off to St. Petersburg to try and find it. Along the way he must deal with the violent Russian Mafia and also find Nikolai's girlfriend Tatiana (Tanya Jackson) who has been kidnapped.

Film notes

Unlike the other modern adaptation, Len Deighton is - apparently - involved as a co-writer of the film script, though the book again is not based on any existing novel. Len has advised the Deighton Dossier that he was not involved in any way with the movie, beyond simply 'green lighting' it. As he recalled: "I said ‘if you can persuade Michael to play the lead, I will let you have the necessary screen rights.’ I was quite confident that I would hear no more about it. But I did!"

There is ample evidence to suggest that much of this cobbled together film comprises edited-together out-takes from the earlier Bullet to Beijing filming; in truth, the storyline is a little threadbare and suggestive of patching together of spare parts.

The acting overall is pretty tame and Connery's performance in particular is wooden. This film, nevertheless, has curiousity value as much as anything.

This made-for-TV movie was produced for a pay-TV channel in the states, Showtime. Part of the deal with Caine was that he would only make it if a big-budget movie - Bullet to Beijing - was made alongside it. It's not great, but it is fun to see Harry Palmer close to retirement but still full of character!

The film's tag-line is: 'No One Can Be Trusted. Nothing Is As It Seems. One Wrong Move Could Cost Everything.'

Official TV trailer - 1995

This sequence was targeted at TV viewers in the US market for which this add-on film was made. It is described as 'Len Deighton's Midnight in St. Petersburg' even though he had no creative contribution to it. Much is made visually of the 12-hour countdown to midnight for Palmer to locate the stolen plutonium.

All content (c) Rob Mallows 2010-2016 (unless otherwise stated)