The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

DVD - 2008
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13
After a fellow spy is murdered, an agent who is working as a defected spy trying to get inside information realizes that he is just as expendable as his fellow agent.
Publisher: [United States] : Criterion Collection, 2008
Edition: Special ed
ISBN: 9781604650891
Branch Call Number: DVD SPY
Characteristics: 2 videodiscs (112 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 booklet

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a
akirakato
Apr 04, 2019

Directed by Martin Ritt in 1965 based on the 1963 John le Carré novel of the same name, this British spy thriller depicts the life of British agent Alec Leamus who plays a faux defector to East Germany.
Alec Leamus sows damaging disinformation about a powerful East German intelligence officer.
As part of a charade, Leamus pretends to quit British intelligence and live as an embittered alcoholic.
Compared to other spy thrillers, this drama appears quite realistic and believable without getting too romantic and too super-duper.

b
BookEMonster
Apr 01, 2019

Love the gorgeous cinematography, probably revolutionary for its time. Solid film, but just to dated for today's Jason Bourne world. Not just the long edits, stationary camera, lack of effects, stage acting, etc, which would be found in any movie of this era, but just too slow moving, over-directed, and Burton was too shallow for this leading role.

r
richibi
Mar 01, 2019

Burton doesn't have the gravitas to hold together an otherwise mostly superb cast with his pivotal but unconvincing portrayal of Leamas here, the existential antihero the novel required, nor does this story pick up much until the last hour when the psychological set-up becomes a taut, and satisfying, spy-versus-spy shoot-out

l
laura_borealis
May 28, 2018

Agree with most comments here except the half-star reviewer: The novel "Spy" does not contain much about George Smiley, Control was the master of the Circus at this point.
As with "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy", the movie is far easier to understand than the novel. "Spy" has been pared down, very artfully, which reduces the complexity -- and the interest -- of the book (which I had to read twice). Burton's performance is beautifully understated, no acting pyrotechnics here. What is fascinating about Le Carré's stories is the way agents were just pawns in the hands of their masters and knew only as much as was deemed necessary for them to carry out their part in the game that was being played. The final twist in the espionage is a shock, and the final twist in the personal story is as well, but it was more moving in the book.
A wonderful film, but I would definitely recommend reading the book.
This copy does not have a disc 2, there is no supplemental material.

s
swyckl
Jun 11, 2017

I found this movie to be okay. It seems to be plausible. It is a possible non-fiction story with fiction names and places about a man who wants to leave Eastern Germany to Western Germany shortly after the end of the second world war. It is slow moving. The story is strong. It is well acted. The script is well written. I like the book author.

gritty. this is what the cold war felt like. on a par with the third man. Richard burton before the drink caught up with him. the amazing Claire bloom. what a tight script. standing ovation!

b
Bookafterbook
Jul 14, 2016

Loved the actors but loved the book more. Still as Le Carre's first spy novel it is exceptional.

j
JihadiConservative
Apr 19, 2016

Some novels just tell a good story while others make the reader think, even when they don't want to. John LeCarre's novel brought a light to the espionage field, where readers were used to our spies being good guys who saved the free world and got laid. The Spy who Came in from the Cold tells a very different story, one where the spies are no better than the people they're spying on. The ideals of democracy and freedom are stepped on by the people who are supposed to be defending these ideals.

The title refers to Alec Leamas who is asked to remain "in the cold" which was the British espionage term for an undercover mission. Leamas' goal is to make the East Germans think that he is defecting and giving them false information about another double spy, in hopes of getting the East Germans to kill him, thereby removing one of their own. The plot is even more confusing as it moves along, each person saying whatever they need to accomplish their ends. The men tasked with saving the world for democracy are more cynical than those at a mid-afternoon strip club. This is a must-read for the effect it had on a nation who thought that gadgets and fornication saved Britain from the likes of Blofeld.

v
Vivica
Feb 28, 2015

Classic and timeless...if you love movies...this one is definitely a must!!

r
Ron@Ottawa
Feb 27, 2015

This 50-year old film still holds its charm after all these years. And being black-and-white gives it character. The materials, however, are definitely very dated. A must if you are into espionage stories and twisted plots.

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