03/27/2015  
Jean-Luc Godard's Goodbye to Language on DVD & Blu-ray Apr 14The Man with the Iron Fists 2 Unrated on DVD & Digital HD Apr 14Kidnapping Mr. Heineken on Blu-ray & DVD Apr 14CPO Sharkey: The Complete First Season on DVD May 19Roadside on DVD & Digital Download Apr 14Home Sweet Hell on Digital HD, Blu-ray & DVD Apr 7American Experience: Last Days in Vietnam on Blu-ray & DVD Apr 28

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Zayn Malik on quitting One Direction: 'I just can't do ...
Jean-Luc Godard's Goodbye to Language on DVD & Blu-ray ...
Paul McCartney, Florence and the Machine, Sam Smith, Me...
'Dancing With the Stars' Week 2 Results: Did the Right ...
The Man with the Iron Fists 2 Unrated on DVD & Digital ...
The Walking Dead's Wild Fist Fight: Has Rick Gone A Lit...
Kidnapping Mr. Heineken on Blu-ray & DVD Apr 14...
'Glee' signs off with a perfect, teary tribute to Cory ...
CPO Sharkey: The Complete First Season on DVD May 19...
Roadside on DVD & Digital Download Apr 14...



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


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
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

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


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
5.1
Englishyes


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

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


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

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

music, one direction, zayn malik quits, drama, 2015 lollapalooza, paul mccartney, florence and the machine, sam smith, metallica, television, dancing with the stars, charlotte mckinney, keo motsepe, redfoo, rumer willis, valchmerkovskiy, action, the walking dead, noah, aiden, deanna, father gabriel, rick, carol, crime, cory monteith, lea michele, jonathan groff, chris colfer, darren criss, matthew morrison, jane lynch, comedy, mystery, movie, fraggle rock, joseph gordon levitt, dark knight rises, jim henson, scifi fantasy, shailene woodley, theo james, ansel elgort, the divergent series, documentary, sxsw, furious 7, paul walker, universal, rand paul, austin tx, martine rothblatt, sirius xm radio, celebrity, lena dunham, kathy griffin, fashion police, girls, joan rivers, howard stern, kelly clarkson, piece by piece, stronger, dark sky paradise, american idol, free state of jones, matther mcconaughey, newt knight, gugu mbatha raw, march 2016, blurred lines, pharrell williams, robin thicke, marvin gaye, nona gaye, ghostbusters reboot, dan aykroyd, kristen wiig, melissa mccarthy, channing tatum, sci-fi, chappie, neill blomkamp, district 9, sigourney weaver, hugh jackman, sharito copley, dev patel, internet, netflix, documentaries, leonardo dicaprio, virunga, gorillas, jadotville, jamie dornan, horror, kids, kelly osbourne, giuliana rancic, zendaya, dreadlocks

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

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