The murder of a Soviet defector forces his old handler, British spymaster George Smiley, out of retirement. His investigation leads to an old nemesis, the Soviet spymaster known only as Karla. This will be their final dance.
This is the story of Magnus Pym, from his childhood to the end of his career in middle age. As a young man, there is little doubt that his father Rick was the most influential character in ... See full summary »
Taken from the book by John le Carré, George Smiley rallies to the aid of his former intelligence colleague, Ailsa Brimley, to investigate a mysterious letter from a junior master's wife at... See full summary »
In London, a naive young politician becomes a suspect when his female assistant and mistress is killed in a suspicious accident. The politician's investigative journalist friend and his team uncover a government conspiracy.
Called out of retirement to settle the affairs of a friend, Smiley finds his old organization, the Circus, so overwhelmed by political considerations that it doesn't want to know what happened. He begins to follow up the clues of his friends past days, discovering that the clues lead to a high person in the Russian Secret service, and a secret important enough to kill for. Smiley continues to put together the pieces a step ahead or a step behind the Russian killers.Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
When Smiley is talking to Connie Sachs, she mentions that Karla once had a mistress, upon which Smiley's eyes widen, and with an utterly surprised look, he asks "Who?" She then goes on to tell about how Karla also had a daughter from that relationship.
It's highly improbable that George Smiley, who spent most of his life gathering every bit of detail about Karla, and even wrote "The Karla papers" (according to Saul Enderby) wouldn't know about such an important piece of information about his nemesis. See more »
You'd think a man making his deathbed confession would have the grace to keep it brief, wouldn't you, but oh no... not our Kirov.
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At the end of the closing credits, a yellow chalk mark suddenly appears on some planks. See more »
Judging by the other comments on this site, this episode of the 2 Smiley-BBC productions seems to disappoint some of it's fans. In my opinion, this is only slightly less praiseworthy than Tinker, Tailor and that is due to the previous high standard of its predecessor.
SP has excellent character parts, particularly Bernard Hepton as Tobe Esterhazy, Beryl Reid, and even the maligned Barry Foster as Saul Enderby. (His outstanding scene with Guinness on the roof after the consideration of Smiley's evidence about Karla is outrageously deleted in the Acorn DVD version. It's one one of my favorite moments.) Everyone in this production is outstanding and equal to their forbears in TTSS - almost all of whom are them! The fact that virtually every key person is back reprising their roles says a lot about the quality of this production. Mario Adorf plays another vivid character, Claus Kretschmar. Dammit, every actor is interesting, alive and vivid in this story.
I guess the discrepancy is due to the fact that this is an entirely different sort of thing than TTSS. This also is a detective story but with a different dynamic. Nonetheless the same qualities make this must viewing for every Smiley fan. SP has excellent character parts all of whom add texture to the slow unfolding of this tale. And that is what is good about it - the story unfolds with pieces coming to light after each of Smiley's interviews. (To anyone who has never seen the Smiley stories this might sound like a recipe for boredom, but in fact it is just the opposite. So yeah, you have to pay attention.) Now for the bad news.
The Acorn DVD is a travesty.
With about forty minutes cut and scenes shortened and juxtaposed, this is NOT the Smiley's People that appeared on PBS and the BBC videotape. While the story can be followed and enjoyed to a point, there are moments when the cutting is abrupt and the story jumps with the viewer wondering why some things are happening and 'did I miss something?'. The answer is yes. For example, Villem's part is cut and his reason for going to Hamburg are not explained. The previously mentioned Enderby-Smiley scene is nowhere to be found.
I don't know where or why this particular 'version' of Smiley's People was found or used but it as an extreme disappointment to me and to viewers who are coming new to this film. No wonder it gets such mixed reviews.
With the story stretched to 3 DVDs surely someone should have noticed.
A great film, a very disappointing DVD.
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