The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (The Criterion Collection)
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Directed by Martin Ritt (Hud, Sounder, Norma Rae)
Starring Richard Burton (Becket, Who s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Equus)
Starring Claire Bloom (Limelight, Richard III, Crimes and Misdemeanors)
From the novel by John Le Carré (The Russia House, The Tailor of Panama, The Constant Gardener)
SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET FEATURES:
New, restored high-definition digital transfer
New interviews with author John Le Carré and cinematographer Oswald Morris
The Secret Center: John Le Carré (2000), a BBC documentary on the author s extraordinary life and work
Acting in the '60s: Richard Burton, a 1967 interview with the BBC s Kenneth Tynan examining the actor's performances
Gallery of set designs
PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by critic
Michael Sragow and a reprinted interview with Ritt
Burton gives one of his best screen performances. --Geoff Andrew, Time Out New York
- New interviews with author John Le Carre and cinematographer Oswald Morris
- The Secret Center: John Le Carre, a BBC documentary on the author's extraordinary life and work
- Acting in the '60s: Richard Burton, a 1967 interview iwth the BBC's Kenneth Tynan examining the actor's performances and accomplishments
- A booklet featuring a new essay by film critic Michael Sragow
Top Customer Reviews
Except that Alec Leamas(Richard Burton) is not really a defector, he is only masquerading as one. On his last assignment for the British Secert Service, he is to pretend to be burnt out and jobless. Never faraway from a bottle he walks around the streets of London cynical and depressed, his "masterstroke" in this act is an ugly fight with a shopkeeper who refuses to give him credit. This ofcourse attracts the attention of the East German agants who view him as a potential defector because of his dire need for cash and his embitterment towards the British Agency for abandoning him. It is a credit to Burton's brilliant and painfully realistic performance that you are pretty sure his embitterment in not entirely an act. That he really is a drunk. That he wholeheartedly agrees with the German when he calls him "the lowest currency of the cold war", even if he is not a defector. To him, all spies, on both sides, are scum.
John Le Carre was an ex-British intelligence officer when he wrote the celebrated novel on which this film was based. It was called "the finest spy story ever written" by the writer of The Third Man, Graham Greene. And in a sense, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold starts where The Third Man left off. The lead character has already lost any faith he had in humanity.Read more ›
While a British production, the film's director was American Martin Ritt, an accomplished master of providing films of compelling seriousness with a touch of the grim, as exemplified by "No Down Payment", "Hud" and "The Front." Burton plays an intelligence operative gone to seed, hence the reference to "coming out of the cold" which, in spy talk, involves being taken out of the field of operation. Burton goes to planned seed, becoming an alcoholic who ultimately is thrown into prison for pummeling a thoroughly decent London grocer who had extended him credit and ultimately had to draw the line, incurring Burton's well orchestrated rage in accordance with plans from MI5.
As soon as Burton leaves prison Michael Hordern is waiting for him. They discuss "doing articles," a cover for what is really expected, turning allegiance and going to work for the Soviets. During this period Burton is provided with a job at a small library featuring psychic works. It is here that he meets Claire Bloom, an ideologue who attends local Communist study groups as a way of making a difference in a troubled world.
Burton operates in a realm of barely contained rage. He inveighs Hordern with scorn and is not about to disagree with Oskar Werner when the East Germany Communist ideologue refers to Burton and his ilk as "the lowest currency of the Cold War.Read more ›
Criterion's is a double disk with many extras, including a 40 minute selected-scene commentary by director of photography Oswald Morris; a BBC documentary, "The Secret Center: John le Carré;" a half-hour interview with Richard Burton; and more.
The Paramount release has no extras and an image that's mostly clean and sometimes scratched.
The original was released for Christmas, 1965.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fairly faithful to the book and well acted. Burton makes a good Lemas. The conclusion races through the fine points of the trial; read the book to thoroughly understand everything... Read morePublished 24 days ago by charles barnes
It is a slow thriller, in black and white, but the acting is very good, and the plot has some interesting, surprising twists.Published 1 month ago by Liliana G.
A classic and very gritty. One of Burton's best and a reminder of the past.Published 3 months ago by Andrew C Smith
This is a tremendously good movie.
The acting is superb; the script clever and emotionally engaging;
and the direction is excellent, in particular, the photography... Read more
spy stories like i remember from from my youth...no explosions, plenty of moral compromise all aroundPublished 6 months ago by GJK