25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Child' s rhyme? I think not......,
This review is from: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (DVD)
The first time I saw TINKER,TAILER, SOLDIER, SPY, it almost frightened me out of my wits. Of course when it aired on PBS the Cold War was on and the thought that spies were hidden in plain sight was terrifying. As a child growing up under the threat of Nuclear disaster in the days when we had `drills' and crawled under our desks, I thought the nightmare would never end. When Kim Philby was exposed as a traitor in the British Secret Spy Service everyone was asking `Who can we trust'. Philby had been recruited as a young student at Cambridge (I think), by a Communist who was his handler until he was exposed as a spy. I believe John Le Carré was inspired by this incident when he wrote his now famous books become tv thrillers.
The beauty of this film series is that the producers gave the plot time to develop, so if you watch it carefully you won't get lost even though the story is complex. Every detail of the context of London is lovingly portrayed and beautifully reflects the period which in the Philby case occurred. If you are an Anglophile, you will want to buy this series if for no other reason than to view it and engage in nostalgic reflection as it was shot before London was `overdeveloped' with towering modern office buildings.
The cast is stellar-Sir Alec Guinness as George Smily, British Secret Agent par excellent; Ian Richardson as Bill Haydon, Smiley's nemesis at the Circus and in bed with his wife Ann (Siàn Phillips); Ian Bannen as Jim Predeaux, betrayed British Agent; Patrick Stewart as Karla, Russian master spy; Bernard Hepton as the colorful Circus member-the unforgettable Hungarian `dandy" Toby Esterhase (MANSEFIELD PARK); and other familiar BBC faces. Sadly, many these actors are now gone.
I did not experience the same fear on rewatching this series as I had before, perhaps because I had seen it, but I also think it has to do with missing a worthy opponent. Le Carré humanized the communists and made the whole Cold War spy business dreadfully sad. Say what you will about the Communists, they never blew up huge office buildings in New York filled with civilians.