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
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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