Review: ‘The Spy Who Came in from the Cold’

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is an excellent contemporary espionage drama of the Cold War which achieves solid impact via emphasis on human values, total absence of mechanical spy gimmickry, and perfectly controlled underplaying. Filmed at Ireland's Ardmore Studios and England's Shepperton complex, the production boasts strong scripting, acting, direction and production values.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is an excellent contemporary espionage drama of the Cold War which achieves solid impact via emphasis on human values, total absence of mechanical spy gimmickry, and perfectly controlled underplaying. Filmed at Ireland’s Ardmore Studios and England’s Shepperton complex, the production boasts strong scripting, acting, direction and production values.

Film effectively socks over the point that East-West espionage agents are living in a world of their own, apart from the day-to-day existence of the millions whom they are serving.

Other fictional spies operate with such dash and flair that the erosion of the spirit is submerged in picturesque exploits and intricate technology. Not so in this adaptation of John le Carre’s novel in which Richard Burton ‘comes in from the cold’ – meaning the field operations – only to find himself used as a pawn in high-level counter-plotting.

Burton fits neatly into the role of the apparently burned out British agent, ripe for cultivation by East German Communist secret police as a potential defector.

1965: Nominations: Best Actor (Richard Burton), B&W Art Direction

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

UK

Production

Salem/Paramount. Director Martin Ritt; Producer Martin Ritt; Screenplay Paul Dehn, Guy Trosper; Camera Oswald Morris; Editor Anthony Harvey; Music Sol Kaplan; Art Director Hal Pereira, Tambi Larsen

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1966. Running time: 112 MIN.

With

Richard Burton Claire Bloom Oskar Werner Sam Wanamaker George Voskovec Rupert Davies
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