Arthur Davis, with British intelligence African section, takes a file with him, to meet his girlfriend Cynthia, the brass fears he may be the leak to Moscow, and plan to stop the damage permanently. But the damage isn't stopped, and agent Daintry's brothy in to investigateWritten by
At the time that this espionage movie was made, Sir Derek Jacobi (playing Arthur Davis) had only recently appeared as Guy Burgess in the Cambridge spies television movie, "Philby, Burgess and Maclean (1977)." The suspicion of treason in both the Graham Greene novel "The Human Factor" and this filmed adaption was based on Cambridge spy Kim Philby, who was Greene's friend. Greene has said though that the central character of Maurice Castle (Nicol Williamson) was not based on his former boss Kim Philby. See more »
Daintry tails Davis in a rather small restaurant. Despite mentioning earlier that Daintry has searched Davis and his overcoat for hints of a mole inside the office Davis, who sits alone at his table not far and across from Daintry, does not seem to notice much less recognize him although he even passes him when leaving the restaurant. See more »
This is an odd film. 'Low-key' is certainly an apt description, and though I don't agree, I can see why some have dismissed it as flat, tedious, etc.
It has stayed in my mind after each viewing - I've seen it twice now on television - more than many other more critically praised films. There's something about the deliberate underplaying, the bland, familiar suburbia of the leading character's house, the politeness, the dog.... The film shows us a non-dramatic world in which dramatic events are being played out in secret, under cover of banal normality. It recalls the hurried departures of Kim Philby and friends from their own domestic lives. It's unsettling: what else might be happening in our own quiet streets?
Personally, I think it's rather wonderful. Clearly it's an ancestor of the brilliant TV adaptations of Le Carre; indeed, it feels more like Le Carre than Greene, which may be why Greene reportedly didn't like it. But it needs to be viewed for what it is: an essay in tension, told in a deliberately chosen style. If you only like action films, it's not for you.
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