McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Civil War 25th Commemorative Edition DVD & Blu-ray Oct 13Aquarius: The Complete First Season DVD & Blu-ray Sep 15Justified: The Complete Series on Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Surface on DVD, VOD, and DIGITAL HD Sep 1

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Adele announces first tour since 2011 for album "25" ...
Kathie Lee Gifford's Family Reveals Her Late Husband Fr...
American Music Awards 2015: Proximity to action matters...
Brad Pitt Says He's 'Angry' at the Finance Industry Aft...
Adele Speaks Exclusively on New Music:'The Most Poignan...
'The Walking Dead' reveals Glenn's fate ...
Adele Performs on Saturday Night Live: Video ...
Blacklisted: The Inside Story of Dalton Trumbo and the ...
Ryan Seacrest Confirms All American Idol Judges Will Re...
Fargo' Preview: 5 Reasons You Should Be Watching This S...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Paramount Studios presents
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)

"Communism. Capitalism. It's the innocents who get slaughtered."
- Alec Leamas (Richard Burton)

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: July 19, 2004

Stars: Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, Oskar Werner
Other Stars: Sam Wanamaker, George Voskovec, Rupert Davies, Cyril Cusack, Peter Van Eyck
Director: Martin Ritt

MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01h:52m:02s
Release Date: July 13, 2004
UPC: 097360650945
Genre: suspense thriller

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B+C+B D-

DVD Review

Especially on this side of the Atlantic, we tend to think of the Cold War as wholly binary, and involving only the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.; The Spy Who Came In From the Cold is a reminder that this was more global than a mere superpower pas de deux, as this story involves a face-off between the espionage forces of Great Britain and East Germany. The years since the Berlin Wall has come down has taken much of the sting out of Cold War stories, but it doesn't take too much strain on the imagination or one's memory to conjure up those frightening times, what seemed like a decades-long game of global chicken between East and West, neither side wanting to seem less than manly by removing the metaphorical finger from the button. The effects of that high level of anxiety, for those who were foot soldiers in that war and for those who loved them, was a principal subject of the John Le Carré novel on which this film was based, and director Martin Ritt has provided a tangible sense of menace.

Richard Burton plays Alec Leamas, head of British intelligence in West Berlin; he watches the Wall like a hawk, not even glancing down at his omnipresent glass of Scotch, waiting for any sign or movement from his opposite number, Mundt. After a conspicuous intelligence failure, Leamas is called back to London, to meet with the chief spy known only as Control (Cyril Cusack); he has grand plans for Leamas, who is to set himself up, to make it appear as if he's been discarded by the British, and is therefore ripe for the picking by the other side. Leamas takes to the descent all too well, drinking the drink, taking a menial job, even cold clocking the local grocer and landing himself in the local gaol. It's not just the Cold War that comes back to us here; it's a return for card catalogs, too, for Leamas' job is in a research library, where he, despite himself, develops an affection for one of his colleagues, Nan, played by Claire Bloom; she's not only a lovely young thing, she's also an avowed Communist.

Too much description of the plot will spoil the fun, if you've neither read the novel nor seen the movie; but both are artful in moving Leamas up the food chain, in double- and triple-crosses, in showing us how the Cold War gets fought out on the ground. In fact, much of the movie is little more than men in trenchcoats exchanging information; but the exposition is always clear, and the story always compelling. Much of that is helped along, too, by the leading man. In many respects Burton seems like a Welsh Marlon Brando, an actor of towering talents too often laboring in projects unworthy of him, a sort of genius with apparent disdain for his own craft. But this comes from Burton's most fertile screen period—the following year, he and Liz would rip it up in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?—and the word "craggy" seems to have been invented for him. He can look daggers at you, or glance at you with uncompromised tenderness; his eyes speak volumes, and his presence turns this from merely another spy story into one informed by the theater of the Angry Young Man—put Jimmy Porter from Look Back in Anger into an espionage thriller, and you've got Alec Leamas.

Bloom is fine, too, though her part is underwritten; and Oskar Werner as a German doppelganger is also very effective. The movie is notable, too, for featuring one of the first appearances of George Smiley, the spy who figures so prominently in future Le Carré novels; here he's played by Rupert Davies, but it's Alec Guinness who in coming decades would make the part his own.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The strong black-and-white cinematography still looks rich, but this print is filled with scratches, debris and bacterial decay, robbing the film of its vérité feel. The transfer is a pretty slipshod one.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Frenchyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Stick with the mono—though the 5.1 track is fine, monaural just feels right for the period, and though the dynamics are a little too narrow, everything is audible.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 13 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Only chapter stops.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Change cabs, and be sure that you weren't followed. Don't forget the password; I'll be the one with the red carnation in my lapel. A strong thriller from the height of the Cold War, with a fine performance by Richard Burton.


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


music, adele, 25, tour europe, spotify, apple music, pandora music inc., television, frank gifford, nfl hall of famer, sportscaster, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, kathy lee gifford, american music awards, talor swift, one direction, jennifer lopez, selena gomez, nicki minaj, justin bieber, movie, the big short, steve carell, ryan gosling, christian bale, michael lewis, brad pitt, hello, 19, 21, the walking dead, amc, davod alpert, glen, heads up, saturday night live, 25 album, skyfall, nrj awards, graham norton, herbert biberman, john howard lawson, lester cole, ring lardner jr., samuel ornitz, adrian scott, albert maltz, alvah bessie, edward dmytryk, dalton trumbo, reality, american idol, ryan seacrest, mariah carey, ellen degeneres, harry connick jr., keith urban, simon cowell, paula abdul, randy jackson, steven tyler, kara dioguardi, televison, fargo, fx, kirsten dunst, jesse plemons, jean smart, jeffrey donovan, bokeem woodbine, brad garrett, patrick wilson, celebrity, bruce willis, laurie metcalf, misery, broadway debut, paris tragedy, u2, foo fighters, steven spielberg, natalie portman, book, the diary of anne frank, otto frank, swiss foundation, daytime talk, 2000 shows, justin timberlake, jennifer aniston, sequel, animated, finding nemo, finding dory, disney-pixar, diane keaton, eugene levy, inventor, hedy lamarr, google doodle, ecstasy, samson and delilah, bbc music, angelina jolie pitt, by the sea, troubled marriage, mr. & mrs. smith, gwen stefani blake shelton, country music awards, the voice, miranda lambert, jon stewart, john oliver, hbo, wonder woman, nicole kidman, amazonian warrior, gal gadot, chris pine, nick lachey, 98 degrees, pot grower, ohio, nanette lepore, oscar robertson, frostee rucker, the red bulletin, james bond, daniel craig, naomi harris, bond girl, a. o. scott, 1977, star wars, elvis, beatles, sesame street, j.k. rowling, israel, palestine, culture for coexistence, harry potter and the deathly hallows, ricky gergais, 2016 golden globes, hollywood foreign press association, jessica biel, 2015 fashion group international night of stars gala, flip phone, the power of love, huey lewis, michael j. fox, back to the future, carrie, bipolar disorder, quinn, saul, jonas

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store