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the spy who came in from the cold

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one of my all-time fave movies! richard burton was awesome in this flick...as a cynical spy. love the scene of him and the shopkeeper arguing and burton hitting him (getting thrown into jail in england to make the east germans think he was a potential spy for them...at least i think that was the storyline! haha)

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{font:Arial}Probably the greatest and most admired writer of espionage, John le Carre’ wasn’t wishy-washy when it comes to conveying a reality to his fiction. His most famous work, "The Spy Who Came In From The Cold" has remain a masterpiece of Cold War surveillance and all its rather hazardous trappings. This is a guy who had served in the British MI5 and MI6 service. How he was able to get away with lots of revelations on the Cold War activities between the West and East is somewhat amazing. There have been his critics that say Carre’ simply added more to the situation then being so factual. Despite a few rumblings over Carre’ and his subject matter, throughout his distinguished career, he has become one of these towering figures of 20th Century literature, unmatched in a style and pragmatic atmosphere that has left many of his readers believing Carre’ was and remains the virtual master of what the Cold War and the pursuits of two opposing sides to spy upon each other, shaped the paranoia that existed after the Second World War. In the process of his writings, came one of the most intriguing characters of modern 20th Century fiction, “George Smiley.” It’s with this introduction of a Cold War intelligence officer, the accepted reality to the Carre’ stores became so transfixed into the mind of what would become a legion of world wide fans and an astounding success.{font}













{font:Arial}There is a complicated factor to reading a Carre’ novel, based around the technical jargon that at times may not be so clarified and then the rather sumptuous intellectualism of the various characters. The whole idea behind a Carre’ spy novel is usually the main characters facing their cerebral problems brought on by the stress and dangers involved in Cold War politics. The funny thing for Carre’ was at about the time he embarked on his spy writing career, the popular James Bond films were about to appear. Thus, this situation made Carre’ stories look a bit more sophisticated and not flashy like Ian Fleming’s super spy hero, having James Bond deal with a stylized glamorization of adventure and lots of sex. Carre’s famous character of George Smiley has never received the vast amount of popularity of James Bond. Over the course of the last half of the past century, there have been obvious comparisons between what are probably the two most famous British spies of modern 20th Century fiction. In a rather superficial way, James Bond is hasty and impetuous towards the intrigue he faces, while George Smiley is realistically prudish, decorous, but emotionally stilted and dwells in propriety of manners befitting a statesman. What I find so interesting about Smiley is that he could be mistaken for your average college professor, lawyer or a small town politician.{font}













{font:Arial}None of the Carre’ films of the 1960’s, into the 1970’s had a successful box-office response with the general movie going public. Then, in 1979, an astounding event occurred, when British television produced what is regarded as the finest interpretation of a Carre’ novel, the mini series “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” starring Sir Alec Guinness as Smiley. The series was later a huge hit on the PBS network in {font}{font:Arial}America{font}{font:Arial}. This television venture alone, made many critics and fans feel is what finally placed Carre’ into the mainstream of acceptance to a wider audience; this was specially the case in the {font}{font:Arial}U.S.{font}{font:Arial} This success prompted Sir Alec Guinness to return, once again as Smiley in the 1981 TV mini series “Smiley’s People.” The second series dealt deeper into Cold War intrigue, creating a bit of controversy over issues that were still so prevalent during that Cold War time. As this second television series became another tremendous critical success and hit with audiences, so began a steady acceptance of major motion picture production for other Carre’ novels. Two of which have had strong showings at the box office, “The Russia House,” and “The Constant Gardener.” This has now all led to still another (newer) version of “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” released this year, starring Gary Oldman as Smiley.{font}













{font:Arial}At the beginning of the Carre’ novels, turned films, the basic critical comments made were that the films or stories had a stuffy prospect. There was for a time, highbrow feelings about the Carre’ works of fiction. Today, this stuffiness has subsided and faded away, allowing a practical sense to understanding Carre’. But, his novels and films still remain for a select type of audience, usually well educated and focus upon current world events. As just how radical Carre’ might be interpreted has had its fair share of debate. There are those who say, one minute he’s waving the Union Jack and then suddenly, somebody is taking something from under the table and a knife gets stabbed in the back. Whatever the case, John le Carre’ is a master of his field, if you want to accept a bit of talkative politics, mixed in with the usual and questionable morality of Western society and its ideals that for a time were torridly protected at any cost. And, probably still is at a high cost. Nothings really changed, accept what villains there are in the world Western society believes it has to face.{font}

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{font:Arial}Yes! I would agree that the 2001, “The Tailor of {font}{font:Arial}Panama{font}{font:Arial}” was a very good film. Unfortunately, the film wasn’t so widely received or even distributed. The fact that Pierce Brosnan starred, should have given the film considerable clout, since he had already done well in television and of course as that super international spy of spies, James Bond. Even though “The Tailor of Panama” received a positive critical response amid its short lived run, it has since begun to have a cult following; especially now that John le Carre’ film festivals are popping up across the country. What is fascinating about the tale is that Carre’ based it on an actual decedent that posed an embarrassment to the British MI service. Respected director, John Boorman actually co-wrote the script with John le Carre’. The screenplay had to be updated, because in the original novel, the events surrounding the eventual handing over control of the {font}{font:Arial}Panama Canal{font}{font:Arial} hadn’t occurred yet. In the original novel, the uncertainty of what would happen with the government of {font}{font:Arial}Panama{font}{font:Arial} in control of a vital means of Western commerce was the plot’s main conflict and source of all the intrigue. This turned out to be one of those strange, rare situations, where a popular novel, based around a real international controversy, had to have its motion picture plot changed, due to the actual historical outcome. Of course, when you remember or think about the actual Ian Fleming James Bond novels, the film versions were very different and aside from being updated, the films were given so much over the top hype and gadgetry for a movie audience to ponder about. At least the changes made to the film version of “The Tailor of Panama,” reflected upon the aftermath of {font}{font:Arial}Panama{font}{font:Arial} having received sovereignty of the canal. This made perfect sense to simply based the screenplay around the novel and not nearly page for page. Unlike other Carre' film versions, this film wasn't as complicated to understand or what some would grumble to be stuffy. It was an exciting sort of soap opera espionage tale that was a shade different, uncanny in its approach to unveil the schemes found in this motion picture genre. {font}

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