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The Spy Who Came In From The Cold

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When John le Carré wrote his third novel "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold," it was such a success and brought him so much acclaim that it essentially outed him as a spy for MI6. He'd been doing it for only five years, but in that time, he learned a great deal about how the machine worked and was able to bring that world to life with greater accuracy than had been seen before.

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"I reserve the right to be ignorant. That's the Western way of life."

When John le Carré wrote his third novel “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold,” it was such a success and brought him so much acclaim that it essentially outed him as a spy for MI6. He’d been doing it for only five years, but in that time, he learned a great deal about how the machine worked (or the ‘circus’ as he calls it in his books) and was able to bring that world to life with greater accuracy than had been seen before. Because of that, it was inevitable that the story would be adapted to film, and true enough, two years after it was published, the film was released. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off a new series looking at adaptations of John le Carré’s novels with Martin Ritt’s 1965 The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.

We talk about the tone of the story and the various themes presented here about loyalty, alienation, ideologies vs. morality. We chat about some of the performances, like Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, Oskar Werner and Peter van Eyck, and what they bring to the table. We look at Oswald Morris’s cinematography, the long shots, and what the black-and-white brings to it. And we dig into the nature of a bleak ending as depicted here and what it does to the film (and to Pete!).

It’s a wonderful film and a great entry to this series. We have a great time talking about it, so check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

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