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 Sir 'Peter Hall'. See more »
How can you be so aggressive about your job and so gentle about me?
I've always thought that... being aggressive was the way to... keep my job and being gentle was the way to keep you,
[after a reflective pause]
Well, I've lost my job, haven't I?
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Faded Charm and Wasted Female Stars in this Time-Tunnel Trip to Cold War thrillers
This film is a time-tunnel trip to the Cold-War-Espionage movie boom that began in 1965 with the big hit "The Spy Who Came in from The Cold" and lasted through the early 70s. A thriller with schematic political innuendos, not hard to guess plot twists, and then racy sex issues (nymphomania, just mentioned very obliquely of course). All of it based on the novel by then-omnipresent John Le Carré -- the thinking man's answer to Ian Fleming -- featuring a cliché bossa-nova theme moodily sung by Brazilian Astrud Gilberto, a jazzy score by Quincy Jones and a classy international cast.
This is from the time when thriller plots were supposed to be "honest", meaning that it gives us clues to actually guess the denouement (very unlike today, when plot twists are so far-fetched you just give up). A film from a time when we, common spectators, could still grasp the shady games of international espionage and counter-espionage.
The trouble with "The Deadly Affair" is that it's VERY ponderous and talky, but the real shame here is the waste of the female cast. While the boys have fun with their roles, the two leading ladies, both luminous actresses, were treated badly. Simone Signoret's face is always fascinating, but her role is underwritten, unexplored and she sleepwalks through it. And what to say about poor Harriet Andersson? She -- whose work for Ingmar Bergman included her tour-de-force as schizophrenic Karin in "Through a Glass Darkly" -- is completely miscast, badly dubbed, badly photographed, badly directed. It's probably her worst performance ever!
This film won't harm you on a cold rainy sleepless night - bu it has dated badly.
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