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105 Reviews
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as good as "Tinker, Tailor," but still outstanding
It's probably safe to assume that anyone watching this BBC import miniseries has already seen -- and liked -- the classic "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." BBC's producers wisely recognized that the middle book of the series, "The Honorable Schoolboy," wasn't going to translate to the screen, so they went straight from the first story of the trilogy to the last. Comparisons...
Published on October 31, 2011 by L. S. Reed

versus
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This disc butchers this fantastic series!! Entire scenes and music cut, gone!! Ripoff!!
I am so returning this disk!! It's incredible!!

The amazing scenes in episode two in Hampstead Heath, where Smiley is retracing the General's steps? They cut it down! Threw out entire scenes! The so-perfectly-1970s Hari Krishna guy who offers to help him? Gone! Cut!

And the fantastic scene when Smiley sees the cigarette pack, that raises your hair...
Published 13 months ago by Richard Bondi


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as good as "Tinker, Tailor," but still outstanding, October 31, 2011
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This review is from: Smiley's People (DVD)
It's probably safe to assume that anyone watching this BBC import miniseries has already seen -- and liked -- the classic "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." BBC's producers wisely recognized that the middle book of the series, "The Honorable Schoolboy," wasn't going to translate to the screen, so they went straight from the first story of the trilogy to the last. Comparisons between Smiley and Tinker Tailor are inescapable and it speaks well of the sequel that it is a worthy successor to the original.

"Smiley's People" maintains some of the main strengths of the original: Le Carre's taut characterization and plotting; excellent scripting, casting, and behind-the-camera work; and, most of all, Sir Alec Guinness's magnificent portrayal of the brilliant but profoundly flawed Cold Warrior George Smiley.

In some respects, this series follows the arc of the first one: George Smiley again is in a rather unhappy and not-entirely-voluntary retirement, having been removed once again following his brief return as head of the Circus. And, like the original story, he is called back in to take on a delicate errand for the Circus. The premise of this one is a little different -- he's brought in officially, by the current head of the Circus, rather than being somewhat offline, sponsored out-of-channels by "Lacon and the Minister." And the errand initially seems somewhat trivial: cleaning up the somewhat disorderly murder of a long-ago Circus informant. Obviously, the story quickly builds into something much deeper.

The plot probably isn't quite as compelling as the original, but then, "Tinker Tailor" was one of the best miniseries ever. This one takes a little longer to develop and some of the "visits" Smiley makes in his investigation (the obligatory visit to former research chief Connie, for example) seem more like sentimental visits than necessary parts of the investigation. The cast of "characters" Smiley encounters also seems a lot more miscellaneous than in the former show and some of the subplots (the Russian woman in Paris, for example) aren't that compelling.

But it's a great yarn and a very satisfying ending to George Smiley's Cold War.

I missed the steady presence of Peter Guillam in this series. The replacement character was far weaker and seemed much less "Guillam-ish" (the original Peter seemed a little more like a soccer thug who went to college, while the new Guillam seemed more like a croquet player). But he didn't appear until the very end and didn't really matter to the story.

This loss is more than made up for by the greatly enhanced role for Toby Esterhaze, one of the great character roles I've ever seen.

It's a great Cold War spy yarn and a very satisfying end to this saga.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This disc butchers this fantastic series!! Entire scenes and music cut, gone!! Ripoff!!, January 30, 2014
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This review is from: Smiley's People [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I am so returning this disk!! It's incredible!!

The amazing scenes in episode two in Hampstead Heath, where Smiley is retracing the General's steps? They cut it down! Threw out entire scenes! The so-perfectly-1970s Hari Krishna guy who offers to help him? Gone! Cut!

And the fantastic scene when Smiley sees the cigarette pack, that raises your hair and sends shivers up and down your spine? What really makes that scene so marvelous is the brilliant theme music that sets in just as Smiley makes the discovery, and that continues all through the sequence of him finding what's in the pack. That music? Cut! Gone! They cut it!!

OMFG UFB. Complete ripoff.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, But Edited (!), August 8, 2014
By 
Shazbat "rsktmc" (Trumbull, CT United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Smiley's People (DVD)
Several years ago, I was fortunate to have seen the U.K. issue of this marvelous film. Sadly, the 3-disc DVD version that I received has been edited, omitting several key scenes; e.g., the General (Kurt Jurgens) meeting with his "nephew" on the highway to implore him to take a trip to Hamburg, Smiley retracing the General's steps on Hampstead Heath, etc. Without them, some of the connections in this mystery are mysteries in themselves, and only serve to confuse the viewer. One would expect that, for a premium price, one would receive the complete version of the series. Alas, 'twas not the case, and the main reason I have rated this at 3 stars.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Feeble Blu-ray Retains Woolly Focus & Murky Sound of DVD, October 26, 2014
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This review is from: Smiley's People [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Just to clarify, one * for the Blu-ray, 5 ***** for the dramas. Sad to say, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" & "Smiley's People" haven't fared well on home media. After their BBC debuts in 1979 and 1982, for twenty-odd years you couldn't find or see them at all. No VHS, no laserdisc, no re-broadcasts to my knowledge -- at least nobody online was hawking off-the-air dubs. Unobtainable, the series ascended to myth. It was eBay late 90s when I first saw them posted as converted dubs of UK PAL tapes. $200. An insane price for awful quality, beyond awful. But they found customers. Because there was no alternative, and because that's how good they really are. On one hand you had something approaching consensus that these shows were the best of their kind ever produced on television, and on the other hand, they'd only been released on PAL VHS after twenty years. Nothing changes until 2011, when out of the blue the Acorn DVD appears, and on its heels the 2014 Blu-ray. Whatever internecine squabbles required thirty-two years to sort out, Acorn Media emerged as the owner of record -- sadly, not a distinction they now wear with honor with this Blu-ray release. On DVD both "Tinker Tailor" and "Smiley's People" were thin high-priced boxes. On Blu-ray they are high-priced doubles. To my amateur eyes and ears, however, this dismal Blu-ray is identical to the DVD in picture and sound -- if anything, the sound mix may be worse -- and the DVD was, in turn, suspiciously reminiscent of those ancient VHS dubs, only marginally improved if at all. In any case these expensive Blu-rays aren't good value, and certainly add no value. The picture still looks pale and bloated like an upconverted old VHS tape, and the dialogue often sounds indistinct and congested. It's all as inexplicable as it is inexcusable. Acorn could not have believed much in these great titles (or in their sales) to toss them in the market without so much as a second glance.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good Show, Very Poor Quality Product, September 4, 2012
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This review is from: Smiley's People (DVD)
This feature is not as good as Tinker Tailor. But regardless, the quality of the DVD - in particular the audio, is extremely poor. You cannot even hear some sections of the show. And of course this was not a cheap product.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Expectations, June 23, 2013
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This review is from: Smiley's People (DVD)
When ordering I was under the impression that the DVD had subtitles. Unfortunately this was not the case. Maybe in the future subtitles will be added.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Leave Perfection Alone, September 3, 2014
By 
Peter T. Wolf "Gilded Age Lover" (lake forest, ca United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Smiley's People (DVD)
When this series hit the TV in 82 it was a miniseries with commentary by actor Ray Milan during the breaks. This was the unedited version and it was hypnotic. Milan's excellent commentary, during the intermissions, on the performance of Guinness and the story only added to the spine tingling allure of this series. I just wish that the producers had transferred THAT entire TV production to disc. Instead, this version is edited in unfortunate ways. Why they did so is incomprehensible. You don't tamper with perfection.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Le Carre at his best, March 9, 2012
By 
SLOreader (San Luis Obipos, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Smiley's People (DVD)
These DVDs are of course of the famous 1982 BBC series and are, to put it mildly, elderly. The video quality is certainly not up to current standards. No matter, the climax of the Karla trilogy is terrific entertainment and Guiness, surrounded by a fabulous cast, is incomparable. John le Carre is surely one of the most underrated authors of our time. To get the most our of Smiley's People one should have seen or read "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier,Spy" from the same era, not the horrible current movie, which is a sort of visual "Cliff's notes" and very unsatisfying.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great cast great story, buy Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy first, the version with Alex Guinness which is far better than the film, December 13, 2013
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This review is from: Smiley's People (DVD)
This is the sequel to the original Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy, it tells you about Mr. Smiley's return, to help out the British intelligence. Smileys part is play by Sir Alec Guinness who is marvelous. To understand the story it will help if you buy the first series Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy not the film version but the series by the BBC and again featuring Sir Alex Guinness in the Part of Smiley. This story will round off the first series and has all the ingredients of a great thriller.
Well worth the time to watch it and re watch it again. Enjoy and hopefully you will get as much fun from this series as I did. When the British really get the right people to write produce and act, you get this excellent thriller. Watch both of these series, you will only enjoy them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Karla's end is Smiley's end as well., March 1, 2013
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This review is from: Smiley's People (DVD)
I have wanted to view this motion picture since first purchasing John Le Carre's; "Tinker, Tailor, Solder, Spy" video starring Alec Guiness. TTSS was also seen as a PBS six part series. However, it is best to view the video after reading the book or first. Reading the video insert is helpful as well. Trying to figure out what when and where can be problematic when foreign names and places are visited without visual cues to give the viewer a sense of location. It is only after many viewings does the puzzle begin to become clear. But the suspense is captivating along with the background noises that provide the tension that the director is trying to manifest. It is unfortunate that Alec is no longer with us but I suppose smoking had its effect on his life span. The reintroduction of actors (Toby, Oliver and Connie) were appreciated but I did miss some of the previous actors from TTSS (Peter[single], Jerry, & Sam). Finally, the remark made by Oliver to Smiley's marrage problem to Ann might have been different if Smiley had used her as an agent instead of a wife, in my opinion, was on the mark, . I suppose had Smiley given this advise to Oliver his marital outcome would have been different as well.
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Smiley's People [Blu-ray]
Smiley's People [Blu-ray] by Smiley's People (Blu-ray - 2013)
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