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  1. #1
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    I read this book a couple of months ago and had some trouble with it, so I rented the dvd and although I thought it was remarkably well done, with perhaps Richard Burton's finest performance. I still have some questions. For those of you who haven't seen the film you might want to stop here. . . . . SPOILER ALERT
      Spoiler:

    Alec Leamas was an expert spy apparently, but his spys were getting killed off, and he is lured back by Control to become a "defector" to put an end to Mundt. So, what happened? Who betrayed whom? I really payed attention to the plot, etc., but after his conversation with Fiedler, at the trial scene things got a little confusing. Can anyone help me out here?

  2. #2
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    (DeeDee @ Feb 13 2006, 10:49 PM)

    I read this book a couple of months ago and had some trouble with it, so I rented the dvd and although I thought it was remarkably well done, with perhaps Richard Burton's finest performance. I still have some questions. For those of you who haven't seen the film you might want to stop here. . . . . SPOILER ALERT
    Im glad that I was not the only one who was confused!



    And I have seen this film three or four times.



    regards piroflip

  3. #3
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    MASSIVE spoilers:



    Complex double bluff!


      Spoiler:

    Our man pretends to defect. He's dealing with the Oskar Werner character (Fiedler) who's debriefing him for the reds. Werner, reading between the lines, comes to believe that Mundt is a traitor who's been feeding info to the west. The more Burton insists this couldn't be, or he'd have known, the more Fiedler becomes convinced. Fiedler is ambitious and wants to believe this so he can overturn his boss.

    At the trial, sudden new info seems to clear Mundt, which turns suspicion on Fiedler. He's arrested, since it's assumed by his side that he's a traitor: why else would he have tried to destrot the innocent Mundt?

    Burton, who has grown to like Fiedler, is shocked. Mundt really is a British spy, and Burton's defection, including Claire Bloom's following him to the East, has all been an elaborate ruse by Smiley et al to protect Mundt from the too-clever Fiedler. By incriminating Mundt and then comprehensively clearing him, and discrediting Fiedler, they protect their man in the field. Burton was a crucial element in this gambit but even he didn't know this was the true purpose of his mission. Mundt then helps Burton and Bloom make an escape attempt.




    Still confused? Maybe I'm remembering it wrong!

  4. #4
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    (D Cairns @ Feb 17 2006, 11:46 PM)

    MASSIVE spoilers:



    Complex double bluff!


    Still confused? Maybe I'm remembering it wrong!

    well,,,,,,,,thanks for clearing that up.



    I will pay more attention when it next appears.





    regards piroflip

  5. #5
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    Sorry to drag this up, all that makes sense to me but for one thing - when Leamas is straddling the Berlin wall at the end, why do the wall guards shout through a loudspeaker - ''Please go back to your own side, Mr Leamas.' How would they know who he is, what he was doing there?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacknorth
    Sorry to drag this up, all that makes sense to me but for one thing - when Leamas is straddling the Berlin wall at the end, why do the wall guards shout through a loudspeaker - ''Please go back to your own side, Mr Leamas.' How would they know who he is, what he was doing there?
    The guards were set up to allow the 'escape'. Leamas was told to look for the relevant pattern of the searchlight (or whatever the signal was). The guards were briefed to shoot the woman, but let Leamas go..... But if Leamas didn't go, they were briefed to shoot him too, so that Mundt would not be exposed.





    Who was going to shoot the guard to stop him telling....... will have to wait for the sequel.........



    ! Let me out !

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moor Larkin
    The guards were set up to allow the 'escape'. Leamas was told to look for the relevant pattern of the searchlight (or whatever the signal was). The guards were briefed to shoot the woman, but let Leamas go..... But if Leamas didn't go, they were briefed to shoot him too, so that Mundt would not be exposed.





    Who was going to shoot the guard to stop him telling....... will have to wait for the sequel.........



    ! Let me out !


    Thanks, if that is the case it stretches the plot a little beyond credibility for me.



    I considered an alternative, more shocking setup, that East and West joined forces to remove the Jewish Feidler, therefore an anti-semitic conspiracy. But that still leaves Mundt, unless... you could go on forever.



    Le Carre has a habit of turning super-powers on human fallibility - I'm sure I'm missing a very human moment in this film which would make it a lot easier for me.



    Oscar Werner was tremendous as Feidler.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Country: UK Moor Larkin's Avatar
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    I'm no expert but I think the premise that spys and secret agents were just scumbags was the main point of the whole thing. The plot was labyrinthine. I found the only bit that felt really false was the ability of Mundt to release Burton and Bloom in such a casual way; but that was purely from a practical point of view of access to a prison in East Germany (which I know nothing about either).



    It put paid to idealists like John Drake, that's for sure. Secret Agents had to become spoofery after that.




  9. #9
    Super Moderator Country: UK christoph404's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moor Larkin



    It put paid to idealists like John Drake, that's for sure. Secret Agents had to become spoofery after that.





    Agreed,..or down at heal cynics like Harry Palmer, well at least for his first two cinematic outings.

  10. #10
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  11. #11
    Super Moderator Country: UK batman's Avatar
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    I recently treated myself to a DVD of this film after years of watching my old VHS recording. The photography is as sharp as they come and Burton is magnificent. A great film.

  12. #12
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    Snap - I got the DVD recently as well, second hand at �1.50 - now that's what I call a bargain!



    I was slightly surprised that there didn't appear to be an already existing thread on this excellent 1965 film, with a marvellous score by Sol Kaplan. The highly atmospheric opening sequence at Checkpoint Charlie was filmed in the Smithfield area of Dublin - I get a shiver down my spine every time I hear that East German klaxon sound. The scene is followed by an outstanding overhead shot of the building at the corner of Trafalgar Square where the Tesco Express is now located. The late great Cyril Cusack as the MI5 (or is it MI6?) boss, ditto Bernard Lee jokily cast as a grocer, Osker Werner, Claire Bloom...casts don't come much better! As for Richard Burton, I could quite happily listen to him reading from a telephone directory for a couple of hours!

  13. #13
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    I'd say it was MI6 as they deal with activities outside the UK.



    Nick

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    Spot on. Funnily enough, I got this email from Totaljobs recently:



    Subj: New opportunities with MI5

    Date: 16/02/2009 16:18:14 GMT Standard Time

    From: Totaljobs@newsletter.totaljobsmail.co.uk



    As a totaljobs.com jobseeker, we thought you might be interested in these opportunities with MI5.



    Business Support Officers

    �19,737 depending on skills and relevant experience + benefits



    Central London

    This is an opportunity to work for our unique organisation in one of our varied business support officer roles. Working in one of a variety of teams, your responsibilities will differ to meet the needs of the department and you will gain wide ranging all-round knowledge and experience. With a senior administrative remit, specific duties will vary between roles – but may involve supervising a small team, maintaining databases, collating information and presenting reports to more senior staff. All roles require excellent communication skills, a strong team working ethic and a responsive, flexible attitude.



    For further information and to apply, visit www.mi5careers.gov.uk/businesssupport



    Closing date: 16th March 2009.



    Please limit those you tell about your application to your partner and/or immediate family.



    The Security Service is committed to reflecting both equal opportunities and the society we protect.




    I noticed a couple of parodies of the title while browsing on YouTube - an episode of Cheers called The Spy Who Came In For A Cold One and a Monkees episode called The Spy Who Came In From The Cool.

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    Ooops! I completely forgot to mention that Michael Hordern, another all-time favourite actor. is in the cast. I noticed Warren Mitchell's name in the title sequence also, but didn't spot him in the film - anybody know which role he played?

  16. #16
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    I'm a fan of this movie too, one of Burton's great performances. There was a thread on this film a while back where we all had differing opinions on the ending, which I found confusing.



    I don't know why Burton gets such stick from critics for his 'wasted' career - most actors are remembered for a handful of roles which define them and Burton had as great a handful as any - Look Back In Anger, Beckett, Spy, Iguana, Virginia Woolf, Equus, 1984. And there's a great crop of performances in pulp classics like the fab Wild Geese and Where Eagles Dare.



    doojeen, I take it that's a faked title sequence for a BBC series which never happened? I'm only aware of the film.

  17. #17
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    You're right. I was surprised when I came across the clip, as I'd never heard of a TV series, much less one also starrring Richard Burton - the comments on YouTube confirm that it's a fantasy.

  18. #18
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    I recently treated myself to a DVD of this film after years of watching my old VHS recording. The photography is as sharp as they come and Burton is magnificent. A great film.
    I concur, superb film that ranks alongside The Deadly Affair & The Ipcress File

  19. #19
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain vincenzo's Avatar
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    Excellent and underrated Sol Kaplan music score too.

  20. #20
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    I concur, superb film that ranks alongside The Deadly Affair & The Ipcress File
    Loved The Deadly Affair, a real treat to see David Warner used as a backdrop to the climax, being crushed to death between two planks of wood in Edward II, another cold war metaphor I imagine.

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