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The Spy Who Came In From The Cold
1965
Directed by Martin Ritt
Running time 112 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars


In this cleverly plotted Cold War thriller Alec Leamas (Burton) is a British secret agent stationed in Berlin on the verge of burn-out whose ordered by his boss (Cyril Cusack) to undertake one last dangerous mission – to act infiltrate East Germany intelligence in a dastardly plot to convince the Communist’s that their head of operations, Hans-Dieter Mundt (Peter Van Eyck) is a double agent. To achieve this they are relying on the ambition of Mundt’s second in command, Fielder (Oskar Werner), a Jew who hates his ex-Nazi boss. But in the world of espionage, things are rarely what they seem.

Although Leamas’s too easy romantic affiliation with a conveniently attractive. idealistic young member of the British Communist Party (Claire Bloom) is less than convincing, for the most part, Ritt, well aided by Oswald Morris’s black and white photography,.gives John Le Carré’s original text an aptly spare, dour, and by today’s action-oriented standards, cerebral treatment. Richard Burton, who was Oscar-nominated but who lost to Lee Marvin for his Cat Ballou hamming, is equally effective as the phlegmatically world-weary secret agent whose most important meal of the day is a half-bottle of whiskey. James Bond he is not.

 

 

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