An aging actress named Irina Arkidana pays summer visits to her brother Pjotr Nikolayevich Sorin and her son Konstantin on a country estate. On one occasion, she brings Trigorin, a ... See full summary »
At an exclusive boys' school, a new gym teacher is drawn into a feud between two older instructors, and he discovers that everything at the school is not quite as staid, tranquil and harmless as it seems.
After Charles Dobbs, a security officer, has a friendly chat with Samuel Fennan from the Foreign Office, the man commits suicide. An anonymous typed letter had been received accusing Fennan of being a Communist during his days at Oxford and their chat while walking in the park was quite amiable. Senior officials want the whole thing swept under the rug and are pleased to leave it as a suicide. Dobbs isn't at all sure as there are a number of anomalies that simply can't be explained away. Dobbs is also having trouble at home with his errant wife, whom he very much loves, having frequent affairs. He's also pleased to see an old friend, Dieter Frey, who he recruited after the war. With the assistance of a colleague and a retired policeman, Dobbs tries to piece together just who is the spy and who in fact assassinated Fennan.Written by
Excerpts of plays seen in this film include scenes from William Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' during rehearsal and 'Christopher Marlowe''s 'Edward II' performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company and directed by Peter Hall. See more »
What kind of daydreams did you dream, Mrs. Fennan, that had so little of the world in them?
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Much-touted mainstream entry recommended to serious spy buffs as a well-crafted, bleak treatise on perceived realities. Deeper than many other spy films, the pleasure is derived from sifting through the strata of meaning in John Le Carre's story and reveling in the fine performances and top-notch film making.
This is one of those movies where you'll recognize all the actors; Harry Andrews, Roy Kinnear, Robert Flemyng, Lynn Redgrave, David Warner, etc. One standout is Simone Signoret as Elsa, a woman without a country, who scorns Dobbs and his attempts at clearing up the death of her husband. A concentration camp survivor, Elsa has no illusions about patriotism nor allegiances in that regard, remarking to Dobbs `I am a battlefield for you toy soldiers."
Quincy Jones plays some fun cinematic tricks with the soundtrack (Astrud Gilberto sings the theme song) and it is appropriately melancholy for the material. Director Sidney Lumet is in fine form here and through the half-light of Freddie Young's cinematography is revealed the gray world beneath our intricately constructed lives.
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