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Quotes for
Control (Character)
from "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" (1979)

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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
[from trailer]
Control: All I want from you is one codename: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier...
George Smiley: ...Spy.

Control: I know that Moscow has planted a mole, and I know it is one of five men.
[starts placing out chess pieces with photos on them]
Control: Alleline: Tinker. Haydon: Tailor. Bland: Soldier. We leave out "Sailor", too much like "Tailor". Esterhase: Poorman.
Jim Prideaux: And the fifth?
Control: Smiley.

Control: [pouring vodka generously into a punchbowl] It'll take us five hours to get drunk on this monkey's piss!

Control: [signs his resignation] A man should know when to leave the party...

George Smiley: [discussing the veracity of a new report] Where did you get this?
Control: I didn't. Percy and his little cabal walked in with it.
Easterhase: Look, Control...
Control: Shut up!
Bill Haydon: Style, appalling. Blatantly a fabrication from beginning to end. Just could be the real thing.
Control: Smiley is suspicious, Percy.
George Smiley: Where did it come from? What's the access?
Percy Alleline: A new secret source of mine.
George Smiley: But how could he possibly have access?
Percy Alleline: He has access to the most sensitive levels of policy making. We named the Operation Witchcraft.
Control: Well, Percy and his pals bypassed us Smiley. Gone straight to the minister. Percy has been allowed to keep the identity of his new friend top secret.

[first lines]
Control: [opening door] You weren't followed?
Jim Prideaux: No.
Control: Better come in.

Percy Alleline: The Minister agrees with me that too many secrets are blowin' around here. Too much failure, too many scandals, too little solid intelligence.
Roy Bland: Percy does have a point, Control. We should be fighting communism, not each other.
Percy Alleline: Well, we're losing our reputation. Our partners.
Control: [scoffs] Your bloody Yanks!
Percy Alleline: And we've had enough! There's going to be changes.
Easterhase: We need to decide if we want to be part of the past or part of the future.
Control: I should have left you where I found you.
Easterhase: Look!
Roy Bland: Control-...
Control: Out! All of you!

Control: Trust no one, Jim. Especially not in the mainstream. Sit down. I understand you still have one Hungarian identity running.
Jim Prideaux: I do.
Control: I want you to go to Budapest. This is not above board. Nobody else knows. They're after my head, Jim-boy. You understand? I have had an offer of service. A Hungarian general wants to come over. I would like you to meet him. He has some information that I need, Jim.
Jim Prideaux: What information?
Control: Treasure. He has the name of the mole the Russians have planted in the British intelligence service, right at the top of the Circus. There's a rotten apple, Jim. We have to find it.

"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Smiley Tracks the Mole (#1.3)" (1979)
Percy Alleline: Merlin is the fruit of a long cultivation by certain people in the Circus. People who are bound to me as I am to them. People who are not at all entertained by the failure rate about this place. There's been too much blown, too much lost, too much wasted. Too many scandals. I've said so many times, but I might as well have talked to the wind for all the heed he paid me.
Control: "He" means me, George.
Percy Alleline: The ordinary principles of tradecraft and security have gone to the wall in this service. It's all "divide and rule," stimulated from the top.
Control: Me again.
Percy Alleline: We're losing our livelihood. Our self-respect. We've had enough. We've had a bellyful, in fact.
[Alleline exits]
Control: And like everybody who's ever had enough, he wants more!

Control: And now there's a Witchcraft committee! The Minister's in the chair, Alleline's vice-chairman. Merlin's become an industry, it's THE industry and I'm not employed!
George Smiley: You won't even read Alleline's reports.
Control: I haven't time! Buying their way in with counterfeit money, tell them that. Tell them anything, I need time! There are three of them, and Alleline. Sweat them, George, bully them, any damn thing, give them whatever they eat, I need time!

George Smiley: [looking at a nuclear naval treaty] This is hardly my territory.
Control: Don't let that worry you. Total ignorance of subject matter doesn't bother Percy.

Control: Percy Alleline would sell his mother for a knighthood, and this service for a seat in the House of Lords!

Control: You're sure he left you out, George?
[George stares at Control, Control raises his hands apologetically]

Percy Alleline: The reading room will be known for cover purposes as the conference room of the Adriatic Working Party. The AWP room, for short.
Control: [snorts] Thank you.
Percy Alleline: Customers with reading rights will not have passes, since these, like keys, can be too accessible. Instead, they will appear on a special list with their photographs, and they will identify themselves personally to MY janitor.
Control: WHOSE janitor, Percy?
Bill Haydon: Well, he's already got his own personal wizard. The odd commissionaire seems modest enough domestic staff.

"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Tinker Tailor (#1.5)" (1979)
Control: [to Sam] I need somebody good to man the switchboard. It's got to be an old hand. I could bring in somebody from one of the old stations, but you're better! Because you've been away for so long, away from the infighting and the vendettas throughout this place... You don't know what I'm talking about. That's good! Just do exactly what I tell you!

Control: [to Sam] It could be a crisis, tonight. I've got a man doing a special job. It is of the utmost importance to the Service. It could change everything for us. Your job tonight is to act as cut-out. Cut-out between me and whatever goes on in the rest of the building. If anything comes in - whether you receive a letter, phone call, anything at all no matter how trivial it is - you are to wait, wait until the coast is clear then bring it straight to me. By hand, Sam! You don't use the internal phones, you don't put anything down on paper for reference. Is that understood?

Sam Collins: Can I have a brief, please? Control, I need a brief! We must say something! Do you want me to deny it, a flat denial just to start with? Do you want me to get someone else? Do you want to come downstairs and handle it yourself?
Control: It's deniable. He had foreign documents. No one could know he was British at this stage, even if he's not dead.

Control: Find Smiley!
Sam Collins: He's in Berlin.
Control: ...Yes. Well, anyone will do. It makes no difference now.

"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Return to the Circus (#1.1)" (1979)
Control: Listen, Jim, we've got to have codenames for them. D'you remember the nursery rhyme "Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor"? Finish it.
Jim Prideaux: "Richman, poorman, beggerman, thief."
Control: Percy Alleline, director of Operations: "Tinker"
Jim Prideaux: "Tinker."
Control: Bill Haydon, head of Personnel: "Tailor". Roy Bland, head of Iron Curtain Networks: "Soldier". We leave out "Sailor"; too much like "Tailor", could be misheard.
Jim Prideaux: "Richman"?
Control: Don't like it, sounds like police work: fraud, Swiss banks stuff. Toby Esterhase, top lamplighter, our exquisite head sleuth...
Jim Prideaux: "Poorman"?
[Control chuckles]
Control: Yes..."Poorman". And George Smiley, my devoted deputy: "Beggerman".

Control: All I want from you, Jim is one. One word. Just ONE codename. If you have to scrawl it on the front door of the Embassy in Prague, or phone our resident hood and shout it in his ear before you go underground... if there's some kind of fumble and that's necessary... just give me that one word.

Control: We have a rotten apple, Jim, and the maggots are eating up the Circus.
Jim Prideaux: These people? One of these?
Control: Why not? Are the British incapable of deception? We've turned members of other outfits: Russians, Poles, Czechs and the odd American.

Control: One word will do, Jim. I'm almost there.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)
Control: We have to live without sympathy, don't we? We can't do that forever. One can't stay out of doors all the time. One needs to come in from the cold.
Alec Leamas: I'm an operator, Control, just an operator.
Control: There's a vacancy in Banking Section which might suit you.
Alec Leamas: Sorry, I'm an operational man. I'll take my pension. I don't want a desk job.
Control: You don't know what's on the desk.
Alec Leamas: Paper!
Control: [after taking a long sip from his tea cup] I want you to stay, uh, out in the cold... a little longer.

Control: A shark can smell blood a mile off when he's hungry, and Mundt is hungry for our blood.