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An Englishman Abroad (1983)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama  |  2 September 1984 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 324 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 4 critic

Actress Coral Browne travels to Moscow, and meets a mysterious Englishman. Turns out he's the notorious spy, Guy Burgess. Based on a true story, with Ms. Browne playing herself.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Coral Browne ...
Herself
...
Claudius
Harold Innocent ...
...
Mark Wing-Davey ...
...
Toby
...
Giles
Judy Gridley ...
Tessa
Denys Hawthorne ...
Tailor
Trevor Baxter ...
Pyjama Shop Manager
...
Shoe Shop Assistant
Alexei Jawdokimov ...
Tolya
...
The Boy
Molly Veness ...
Mrs. Burgess
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Storyline

Actress Coral Browne travels to Moscow, and meets a mysterious Englishman. Turns out he's the notorious spy, Guy Burgess. Based on a true story, with Ms. Browne playing herself. Written by David Spalding <http://korova.com/film>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

autobiographical | See All (1) »

Genres:

Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

2 September 1984 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the advantages of filming in Dundee was the likelihood of snow, to help give the impression of the Moscow streets. In fact, although almost the whole of Britain was thickly covered in the stuff, with the M6 in the Lake District almost impassable, Dundee escaped, so the BBC had to buy in tons of salt instead. See more »

Goofs

When Coral, in Burgess' flat, says 'The theatre's in a dreadful state', her lips are out of sync. See more »

Quotes

Coral: Outside Shakespeare, the word "treason" to me means nothing - only you pissed in our soup, and we drank it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

[At end of opening credits] "Although some incidents are imaginary... this is a true story. It happened to Coral Browne in 1958." See more »

Connections

Featured in Coral Browne: Caviar for the General (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

the spy who p***ed in our soup...
24 May 2000 | by (New Zealand) – See all my reviews

British made drama based on a true story of a chance meeting in Moscow in the early 60's between an english actress and a british double agent and soviet spy. Coral Browne was part of a cultural exchange tour in 1961 between Great Britain and the Soviet Union touring and giving performances as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. One night following a performance in a Moscow theatre she is approached by a familiar looking gentleman. The man turns out to be the traitor and double agent Guy Burgess now residing permanently in the USSR. Oddly they strike up a friendship and he offers her the hospitality of his small apartment as well as an insiders view of being an honoured if not trusted but permanent houseguest living in a totalitarian state. It is the height of the cold war and even he is followed and surveilled upon. Life it seems is not all bread and roses in the utopian state and Burgess confides in her an aching home sickness for his homeland and even the simplest pleasures of english life. He particularly bemoans the unavailability of certain luxury items and being a dapper young man in his Cambridge days is at a loss even to find a really good suit behind the entire iron curtain. Coral touched by his predicament offers to help. Enough said.

The collusion of director John Schlesinger and writer Alan Bennett have produced an exceptional drama which won a few BAFTA awards following its release in 1993. The performances are highlighted by Alan Bates sad self deprecating portrayal as Guy Burgess and some effortless acting by Coral Browne who plays herself with aplomb. A bit like John Malkovich playing John Malkovich but with an interesting edge. The story also gives us some interesting vignettes into soviet life. When they find their hotel bath is minus a plug, Coral and a fellow actor in fun complain loudly to the hidden microphones. Five minutes later to their amazement the concierge knocks on their door with a...you guessed it. In the end the drama offers its own conclusion on betrayal and those who practise it. As Coral a loyal englishwoman herself accurately summed up to Burgess with whom she sympathised to some extent. "You p***ed in our soup....and we drank it". In other words whatever my personal friendship for you some sins are unforgiveable. This is the life you have unwittingly chosen for yourself. Enjoy...


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