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Showing 1-10 of 56 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 66 reviews
on August 5, 2016
Saw this movie when it first came out in theaters and loved it. Been looking for it, first in VHF then in DVD. It never showed up in any of my searches until, finally, it showed up here at Amazon. The DVD itself was of good quality and playback was great. It was really great to see this classic spy movie again.

Concerning the movie itself, the casting is superb. Performances by the actors is spot on, with some nuances from the era in which the movie and story were made. If you're a spy movie buff or the 60s, you'll love this movie!
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on June 7, 2016
Caught this film on the first release, and thought it was amazing then. It has definitely stood up to the test of time. I bought the DVD, because I suspect in time it disappears again. I think it has surfaced because the few of us that saw and are still around kept asking for it. Stellar performances from everyone. Spent the last forty years not completely sure that Orson Welles could act, but when he was directed by someone like John Huston he was great. Yes, the plot is hard to follow, but you'll want to watch again, so not a problem
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on April 30, 2015
Consider yourself a genius if you get this John Huston movie in one viewing. I say it's nearly impossible to piece together the complex plot and shifting characters until about the fourth time on screen. If you like gadgets and thrills and the eye candy of James Bond, look elsewhere. If you like spy movies that are a puzzle of clues and a maze of hidden agendas, you might like this film. The average moviegoer will glaze over in numbed confusion after 15 minutes - this is a delicacy for polished tastes. Orson Welles, George Stephens and Max von Sydow are as never before in surprising roles. Richard Boone is peerless in Oscar quality acting as a scheming duplicitous mastermind. This is a story of people using and being used in a puppet show only 1 or 2 puppeteers and manipulators pulling the strings fully understand. Utterly unredeeming for either adversary in the Cold War, prepare for more qustions than answers after your first 2-3 vieeings. Do you have the patience and rigorous mind to conquer The Kremlin Letter?
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on March 14, 2017
Excellent adaption of a book set in the winter of 1969-1970 during the Cold War concerning a diplomatic letter that should never have been written. The job of recovery is farmed out to a group of former agents now turned private. Very little is as it seems and the film will keep your attention. The cast is excellent and John Huston's screenplay closely parallels the book.
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on March 24, 2014
Based on and true to the best seller of that time of the same name, with a first rate international cast, and written and directed by the great John Huston one wonders why this movie failed at the box office. The only reason I can think of is that it is such a cold-blooded, pitiless and remorseless look at espionage during the Cold War that it's callous and despairing view of the whole enterprise put off many. And it is complicated, and you do have to pay attention from the first frame onward or it is easy to become lost in the labrynthine plot and double and triple crosses. There are several stories playing out within the same plot and they all culminate in one of the cruelest, most chilling finales I've ever seen in film.

As explained early on, espionage prior to World War II was played by often unaffiliated professional spies. A ring of these old spies are tasked to find the Letter of the title. With code names like The Highwayman, The Whore, The Erector Set, The Warlock, Sweet Alice, etc., these old semi-retired pros who operated together during the War are brought together, along with two young recruits, and sent to Moscow. Once in Moscow they set about infiltrating themselves by exploiting every human weakness, be it sex or drugs or whatever, in an effort to regain the letter and get out before they are discovered by Col. Kosnov, the vicious KGB counter-intelligence chief. In the process, everyone gets played and betrayed. To say more would give too much away.

The tone of the film is expressed early on by John Huston himself as a US Navy Admiral, cutting Patrick O'Neal loose from the Navy to be seconded to an intelligence service, and making no bones about his disgust with the growing intelligence establishment. World War II changed intelligence from the Great Game of Kipling to the ruthless and pragmatic duels of the CIA and KGB bureaucracies. As is made plain in the film, these spies all worked and knew each other (Soviet, English and American), during the war and then turned on one another after the war.

This is the Cold War. Much forgotten now, except by those who lived through it. This film was made at the height of that Cold War and reflects exactly the amorality of it all. There are no heroes here, only innocents and exploiters. Each side did whatever was needed and all one has to think of is the absolute scumbags we supported simply because they were anti-communist. We were in a titanic struggle with The Soviets on a world stage, and anyone and anything was fair game. And cruel practicality and efficiency were the norm. The Kremlin Letter was an expression of that heartless universe and a reminder of the cost of it.

The whole cast is great, with Richard Boone and Max Von Sydow outstanding as old allies/adversaries. Patrick O'Neal and Barbara Parkins as the neophyte spies are good, and supporting roles are filled by George Sanders, Orson Welles, Dean Jagger, Bibi Andersson and the like.

It will be hard to find, as this DVD, which I bought, was a limited issue with no frills. Hope it turns up on some movie channels, because it is well worth a look.
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on July 23, 2016
I've watched this movie a couple time and no one forced me to do it - so it must have something going for it. But it is far from perfect. First of all it's incomprehensible. Why are all these strange people behaving in such strange ways. What the hell is going on?

Another thing odd are the disconnected sequences. At one point Richard Boone has some kind of fight with Patrick O'Neal for some reason or other. This is probably the worst piece of fight choreography on film. Huston is not an action director.

Barbara Parkins didn't make many films - this one benefits from her presence.
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on January 3, 2017
This movie isn't the standard espionage film. It has an array of actors, good, but odd. I have to admit, when I first saw this, I was surprised to see Boone in a role that wasn't in a western. I like this film because it is different. Huston made something that doesn't fit nicely in the spy genre and yet has a quality to it. I will not try to explain the plot, but I will say that if you want something that is a polar opposite of 007, this is it.
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on May 16, 2011
No major American director has had a lower percentage of his films available on DVD than John Huston. Part of the reason is that Huston made a number of his films for smaller, newer companies that appeared after the collapse of the old studio system in the late 1960s. These companies quickly went bust leaving the question of who owns the rights to these films in limbo. Another is that Huston's choice of material was eclectic and mostly downbeat in tone which is never a key to financial success on the big screen or off. THE KREMLIN LETTER was innocent of the first charge having been made for 20th Century Fox but not of the second for its overall tone and outlook at international espionage makes THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD look like a comedy. Still there were films like it already out there so its failure came as a suprise to Huston and to Fox. The real surprise is that Fox has not allowed it to be on any form of home video until now. Be thankful for small favors but hurry as this is only a limited edition.

The complex plot involves a group of older spies outside the major agencies who are hired to retrieve an embarrasing letter that could cause an international incident. They recruit a young man with total recall (Patrick O'Neal in a role intended for James Coburn) to join them in their effort. The group is headed up by Richard Boone, an amiable Texas type who is more complex than he seems. The film features a dream cast of character actors (George Sanders, Nigel Green, Dean Jagger, Orson Welles) who add spice and a sense of fun to the proceedings. The main villian is a KGB department head played by Max von Sydow whose one weakness is his wife (Bibi Andersson). The movie plays out against expectations with an ending that has real bite. If you enjoy intelligent spy thrillers than THE KREMLIN LETTER is one of the best so grab it while you can. It's being released by a small outfit called Twilight Time (check out their website -screenarchives.com- ) who have done a first class job with this title. It's been anamorphically enhanced for 16 by 9 screens and the picture looks great. Too bad there are no subtitles as they would help some to more easily understand the delicious dialogue the characters engage in.
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on January 29, 2017
This is one fantastic movie. The actors/actresses are all top notch in this. Remember when you had to actually act instead of hiding behind CGI?
A spy film that will keep you on edge till the very end. This for me is about as close as it gets in the real world of spycraft. Real spies chasing each other. No exploding fountain pen nukes and NO Tom Cruise! Yay!!
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on June 11, 2013
The central idea that some bureaucrats are trying to make their own foreign policy is an interesting premise but not unknown. The acting is superior and brings the characters to life even when they don't have large screen time. If there is a weakness it is the ending. It ends with a balance of threats to keep the secrets, only to have a needless vindictive and emotional element added to upset the balance. The main character could have done the deed himself without emotionally unbalancing the the other character and thus preserving the secret.
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