February 28, 2009


Spy Vibe continues its series on Spy TV/film production design and the influence of Art and design movements, Playboy, Hugh Hefner, adventure story conventions, and the Space Race.

Guest Set Lists: Lee Pfeiffer, Jeremy Duns, Armstrong Sabian, Steve Bissette, Roger Langley, Matthew Bradford, Wesley Britton, David Foster, Matt Kindt.

Spy Vibe's Set For Adventure here, Set Countdown #10, #9, #8 ,#7, #6, #5, #4, #3, #2, #1.


agent JEREMY was born in 1973 and lives in Sweden with his wife, kids, and massive collection of vintage spy thrillers. His first novel, Free Agent, set in Nigeria in 1969, will be published by Simon & Schuster in the UK on May 5 and by Viking Penguin in the US on June 25. It's the first in a trilogy featuring British double agent Paul Dark and has been praised by David Morrell, Gayle Lynds, Eric Van Lustbader, Christopher Reich and Jeff Abbott. Jeremy's picks from #1-5:

1. DR NO (1962). Ursula Andress' bikini-clad introduction is the most iconic moment in the film - perhaps in the whole of the Bond series, perhaps in the whole of spy cinema - but Ken Adam's sets, from the low-ceilinged ante-rooms of No's lair to the oriental elegance of Miss Taro's bachelorette pad to the strangely-angled cell Bond must escape from, gave the film a sleek claustrophobic sheen.

2. THE IPCRESS FILE (1965). Ken Adam again, and more peculiar angles. But despite Palmer's own bachelor pad tendencies, the effect here is less glamorous than in the Bond films - and the disused warehouse would never be the same again.

3. BILLION DOLLAR BRAIN (1967). This was probably the weakest of the Harry Palmer films (the originals, I mean – not the later ones!), but it had great Syd Cain sets, from the banks of computers of the title to the swinging furniture in Finland.

4. ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE (1969). Syd Cain again, and almost as snowy as Billion Dollar Brain. The sets are less extravagant, and perhaps less obviously ‘Bond’ than even Billion Dollar Brain, but they are nevertheless rich, atmospheric and perfectly suited to the story, from Blofeld’s groovy mountain clinic-cum-fortress Piz Gloria to the magnificent casino that James Bond (George Lazenby) walks through early in the film. It helps that the film itself is terrific.

5. A DANDY IN ASPIC (1966). Another of the lesser known British Sixties spy flicks, starring Laurence Harvey as double agent Alexander Eberlin – both this and Derek Marlowe’s novel, from which it was adapted, were major influences for me. The film has its problems but I find the look and atmosphere of it compelling, from a firing range to a military airfield. There’s a haunting scene as Eberlin walks around the tiny London flat of his burned-out, drug-addicted handler Pavel (Per Oscarsson): as he squeezes past lampshades and picks up a photograph of Pavel’s wife back in Russia, the bleak life of a spy hits home.


  1. A great list. I too love the sets in Ipcress and Billion Dollar Brain. Especially the former. Adams was able to go completely over the top for the Bond movies, but choose an appropriate tone for the less glamorous Harry Palmer. I still hope to one day see the real Piz Gloria....

  2. the real Piz Gloria... I would love to see that, too!

  3. A reminder to check Jeremy's website for publishing details. His novel is available for pre-order at booksellers, and an audio version is also in the works!

  4. A Dandy In Aspic has one the great title sequences - nothing subtle about it - but great!