The Deadly Affair (1966)

 |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  October 1966 (UK)
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Reviews: 46 user | 6 critic

A British agent sets out to uncover the hidden facts behind a British government employee's suicide.



(novel), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 5 BAFTA Film Awards. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Elsa Fennan
Kenneth Haigh ...
Bill Appleby
Adam Scarr
Max Adrian ...
Adviser (Marlene Dietrich)
Virgin (segment "Macbeth")
Robert Flemyng ...
Samuel Fennan
Leslie Sands ...


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 garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

October 1966 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Anruf für einen Toten  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The character of Hans-Dieter Mundt (played by Peter van Eyck in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)) was changed to Dieter Frey for this movie because the Paramount Studio held the rights to that character's name from that movie. See more »


Bill Appleby: Are you suggesting that Elsa might have connived in her husband's murder? That's rather a ghoulish thought, Charley.
Charles Dobbs: She's had a rather ghoulish life.
See more »


Referenced in Out of It (1969) See more »

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User Reviews

A very fine, intelligent movie (***½ out of ****)
28 May 1999 | by (Klein Köris, Germany) – See all my reviews

A complex, suspenseful, and sometimes surprisingly funny spy thriller by master director Sidney Lumet ("12 Angry Men", "Long Day's Journey Into Night", "Dog Day Afternoon", "Running on Empty"). The picture has a really brilliant cast, including James Mason, Simone Signoret, Maximilian Schell, Harriet Andersson and Harry Andrews. The photography is interesting too. Lumet and cinematographer Freddie Young used a technique called "preflashing". In his book "Making Movies" Lumet writes: "Thematically it was a film about life's disappointments. I wanted to desaturate the colors. I wanted to get that dreary, lifeless feeling London has in winter. Freddie suggested preexposing the film."

Lumet's approach in "The Deadly Affair" (1967) is perhaps even a little too realistic to make it a suspense masterpiece. But nevertheless you should really see this little gem.

21 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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