The Deadly Affair (1966)

 |  Crime, Drama, Mystery  |  October 1966 (UK)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 1,657 users  
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?


Writer John le Carré partially based his famous George Smiley character (in this film renamed as Charles Dobbs) on a friend, the Lincoln College tutor and Oxford University don, the Reverend Vivian Green. Smiley was also based on le Carré's boss at Mi5, Lord Clanmorris, who wrote crime novels under the pseudonym of John Bingham. See more »


Charles Dobbs: [to Elsa] What kind of daydreams did you dream, Mrs. fennan, that had so little of the world in them?
See more »


Featured in Al Murray's Great British Spy Movies (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

Classy, atmospheric spy film
26 July 2002 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This enjoyable film captures the spirit of Le Carré's first novel very well. Lumet and Young's "preflashing" technique and their cinematic sensibilities fill the screen with the proper gloomy Sixties British atmosphere--in the weather, in the exterior scenes, in the sets, and in the characters' emotions and interactions. Mason is outstanding as George Smiley (inexplicably renamed Charles Dobbs), portraying with fine nuance both Smiley's wounded, bewildered angst and his gift for tradecraft. A treat for fans of Le Carré and of the genre.

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