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A network of older spies from the West recruits a young intelligence officer with a photographic memory to accompany them on a mission inside Russia. They must recover a letter written by the CIA that promises American assistance to Russia if China gets the atomic bomb. Written by
"The Kremlin Letter" is a Cold War spy film from director John Huston. It focuses on the story of a young American agent and a team of spies that infiltrate the Soviet Union in an attempt to recover a letter compromising to the United States.
Patrick O'Neal is effective as Charles Rone, who is accepted as a spy due to his photographic memory. Also notable are Richard Boone as the genial mentor to Rone, Bibi Andersson as the desperate wife of a Soviet spy chief Kosnov and Barbara Parkins as an enchanting fellow agent. Orson Welles is solid in a minor role as a Soviet official. Veteran actor Max von Sydow has a good turn as Colonel Kosnov, a determined man with a brutal record, who organizes a "third section" of Soviet agents.
This is the seediest spy story I have seen to date. Harsh tactics are used by both the Americans and Soviets and agents are expected to compromise themselves to the fullest extent in the service of their country. The story remains interesting throughout with intrigue, duplicity and twists. The pace is slow, so this film is not recommend for those looking for a James Bond style spy thriller, but rather those looking for a John le Carré type spy story in the vein of "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold".
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