Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (novel, miniseries, and forthcoming film to be directed by Tomas Alfredson)

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the miniseries is pretty amazing. i haven't read the novel. i just saw this bit of news, which is a little old but hopefully still accurate:

Tomas Alfredson signs on for 'Tinker, Tailor'

July 09, 2009 Fresh from the success of highly acclaimed vampire movie "Let The Right One In," award-winning Swedish director Tomas Alfredson has signed on as director on Working Title upcoming project "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," the company announced Thursday. The new feature film adaptation of John Le Carre's seminal cold war best-seller is being produced by Working Title's co-chairmen Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, and marks their next collaboration with Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Peter Morgan ("Frost/Nixon," "The Queen") and will be exec-produced by Debra Hayward, Liza Chasin, John Le Carre and Peter Morgan. A 1970s British television series starred Alec Guinness as George Smiley the retired former British intelligence officer called in to track down the double agent within the spy agency.

jØrdån (omar little), Friday, 20 November 2009 01:54 (eleven years ago) link

this sounds awesome

chillwave dudes get washed out, totally (J0rdan S.), Friday, 20 November 2009 01:55 (eleven years ago) link

been musing on the possible cast. i hope it's a similar set of dope brit character actors surrounding an old-school charismatic star.

jØrdån (omar little), Friday, 20 November 2009 02:02 (eleven years ago) link

Yeah both miniseries (including Smiley's People) are stellar. One of my favorite moments is in SP when Smiley finds the film using 'Moscow rules.'

Ned Raggett, Friday, 20 November 2009 02:09 (eleven years ago) link

i downloaded a torrent of the series but there are no subtitles during the lengthy bits where theyre speaking russian

max, Friday, 20 November 2009 02:10 (eleven years ago) link

ian mcshane for percy? ian mckellen as bill haydon?

jØrdån (omar little), Friday, 20 November 2009 15:55 (eleven years ago) link

love the book, love the miniseries. only problem with it is i cant remember who i lent it to.

interesting project, but i cant really imagine anyone doing better than guinness. that was a truly magnificent performance.

311 is a joek (s1ocki), Friday, 20 November 2009 16:03 (eleven years ago) link

s1ocki otm

stet, Friday, 20 November 2009 16:18 (eleven years ago) link

I have a hard time imagining that this could touch the miniseries, which was pretty much perfect.

Moodles, Friday, 20 November 2009 16:44 (eleven years ago) link

i have a hard time imagining that i can't touch my miniseries as someone has borrowed it and i can't remember who :(

311 is a joek (s1ocki), Friday, 20 November 2009 16:57 (eleven years ago) link

i hope this isn't a horrible travesty that makes me sad - because the original miniseries was so great.

sarahel, Friday, 20 November 2009 17:29 (eleven years ago) link

alec guinness' performance is on another level in the miniseries, true. i think it's possible to make a good film of this and get everything into 150-160 minutes without rushing through. i have a good feeling about this one though i'm not expecting it to be a definitive take (that's already been accomplished obv.) i assume the choice of alfredson means they won't try to bourne things up too much.

jØrdån (omar little), Friday, 20 November 2009 18:01 (eleven years ago) link

Mmmf, something just occurred to me -- are they going to try and make this a period piece or are they going the contemporary route?

Ned Raggett, Friday, 20 November 2009 18:30 (eleven years ago) link

This could be interesting but I'd be concerned that the slow, twisty procedural of the book, which worked well on TV, mightn't transfer properly to a 2 hour movie.

Herman G. Neuname is the first European president (Noodle Vague), Friday, 20 November 2009 18:42 (eleven years ago) link

the opening scene of the 70s 'tinker tailor', where the spies all sit down and smoke, not saying a word but speaking volumes, is prob my fave bit of telly ever, partly cos i used to work very near cambridge circus, seen in the very first shot:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyBuUM6BRy0

Ward Fowler, Friday, 20 November 2009 18:52 (eleven years ago) link

Absolutely agree. One of my favourite pieces of television ever. I wonder whether the new film will also consist of an awful lot of footage of middle-aged men smoking in dingey rooms.

'virgin' should be 'wizard' (GamalielRatsey), Friday, 20 November 2009 19:00 (eleven years ago) link

odd that they're redoing it, but love love love Alfredson and Morgan.

sean gramophone, Saturday, 21 November 2009 00:16 (eleven years ago) link

they should have done the middle book The Honourable Schoolboy instead, at least that one hasn't been taken yet :/

zappi, Saturday, 21 November 2009 00:25 (eleven years ago) link

That one always was a little out of place, though. Don't get me wrong, it's excellent.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 21 November 2009 00:50 (eleven years ago) link

Yeah, I found Honorable Schoolboy to be a little odd and difficult to relate to.

Is it just me or do a disturbing number of his novels end with the protagonist just about to make it to safety when they are suddenly brutally gunned down?

Moodles, Saturday, 21 November 2009 01:52 (eleven years ago) link

Hahaha yeah

Herman G. Neuname is the first European president (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 21 November 2009 14:02 (eleven years ago) link

spoilers?

311 is a joek (s1ocki), Saturday, 21 November 2009 15:54 (eleven years ago) link

nine months pass...

wonder how this is gonna work, really

but it'll be good to have gary oldman starring in a non-shit film for a change

i am legernd (history mayne), Friday, 3 September 2010 15:22 (ten years ago) link

don't count yr chickens etc

former moderator, please give generously (DG), Friday, 3 September 2010 15:24 (ten years ago) link

the tv show is veeeeerrrryyyy slllooooooowwww but that's part of the charm

i am legernd (history mayne), Friday, 3 September 2010 15:27 (ten years ago) link

michael bay to direct

former moderator, please give generously (DG), Friday, 3 September 2010 15:29 (ten years ago) link

the tv show is so insanely good

so slow and subtle

so awesome

real s1ock (s1ocki), Friday, 3 September 2010 15:31 (ten years ago) link

the opening scene of the 70s 'tinker tailor', where the spies all sit down and smoke, not saying a word but speaking volumes, is prob my fave bit of telly ever, partly cos i used to work very near cambridge circus, seen in the very first shot:

― Ward Fowler, Friday, November 20, 2009 6:52 PM (9 months ago) Bookmark

otm

not mad on guinness's stuff when he was younger, tbh, but he totally shreds in this

i am legernd (history mayne), Friday, 3 September 2010 15:33 (ten years ago) link

yeah i was just thinking about watching this again. "smiley's people" is really good too.

the parking garage has more facebook followers than my band (Jordan), Friday, 3 September 2010 15:34 (ten years ago) link

i remember watching the tv show when i was abt 12 and liked le carré, i wanted to like it but it was too slow for me then

nakhchivan, Friday, 3 September 2010 15:35 (ten years ago) link

benedict cumberbatch hahaha just fucking cast bill nighy and make it a romantic comedy*

*[placeholder for explanation of how it already is]

former moderator, please give generously (DG), Friday, 3 September 2010 15:43 (ten years ago) link

wonder if they'll leave in the two female characters

i am legernd (history mayne), Friday, 3 September 2010 15:45 (ten years ago) link

one month passes...

i really love how the tv version kind of starts off on this note of smiley being this totally out-of-the-loop outsider who is "too old for this shit", and then he sits down with the british agents at the estate house to meet with the spy-on-the-run, and he takes off his glasses and puts them back on and gives this dude a look which says in an instant that he's the smartest and toughest dude around and it's like "oh shit."

mark strong just got cast, too. so it's him and oldman, firth, cumberbatch, hinds, ralph fiennes and tom hardy.

('_') (omar little), Wednesday, 13 October 2010 17:43 (ten years ago) link

Holy shit. It might actually work.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 13 October 2010 17:46 (ten years ago) link

Yeah, I found Honorable Schoolboy to be a little odd and difficult to relate to.

One big problem with that one was the woman character, who is as badly drawn as all Le Carre women characters (with possible exception of Connie). I do wonder sometimes whether Le Carre has ever met any actual women.

The New Dirty Vicar, Wednesday, 13 October 2010 17:58 (ten years ago) link

But I still totally love TTSS and SP.

The New Dirty Vicar, Wednesday, 13 October 2010 17:59 (ten years ago) link

he takes off his glasses and puts them back on and gives this dude a look which says in an instant that he's the smartest and toughest dude around and it's like "oh shit."

otfm

rmde @ the romo dumplings (history mayne), Wednesday, 13 October 2010 18:03 (ten years ago) link

Absolutely the best moment of the whole series, I get chills just thinking about it.

Moodles, Wednesday, 13 October 2010 18:18 (ten years ago) link

not sure if this was mentioned but it's apparently retaining the cold war era for the setting.

('_') (omar little), Wednesday, 13 October 2010 19:56 (ten years ago) link

Thank god for that.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 13 October 2010 20:09 (ten years ago) link

man i gotta find my dvds of the show so i can watch it again

guanciale diary (s1ocki), Wednesday, 13 October 2010 20:17 (ten years ago) link

I have a hard time imagining that this could touch the miniseries, which was pretty much perfect.

― Moodles, Friday, November 20, 2009 11:44 AM (10 months ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

i have a hard time imagining that i can't touch my miniseries as someone has borrowed it and i can't remember who :(

― 311 is a joek (s1ocki), Friday, November 20, 2009 11:57 AM (10 months ago) Bookmark

guanciale diary (s1ocki), Wednesday, 13 October 2010 20:18 (ten years ago) link

it's always in the place where you least expect it, like the amazon marketplace page of your friend or acquaintance.

('_') (omar little), Wednesday, 13 October 2010 20:20 (ten years ago) link

Unwittingly I've only watched the compressed, US six-episode (instead of seven) version of the series. Apparently they've even jumbled the chronology of some scenes around. Anyone seen both?

abcfsk, Wednesday, 20 October 2010 20:01 (ten years ago) link

oh shit, that's the version i've seen too (via netflix).

bows don't kill people, arrows do (Jordan), Wednesday, 20 October 2010 20:04 (ten years ago) link

Basically I'm going to get and watch the original no matter how trivial the differences might be. Every scene could be longer. Feels like I can still taste the words exchanged between Smiley and Prideaux in the car, at the hotel, walking around the moors.

abcfsk, Wednesday, 20 October 2010 22:59 (ten years ago) link

two months pass...

gonna be great this i can feel it. god knows how they're going to squelch it all down to 2 hours. if they can nail the Ricky Tarr bit they've got the rest i think.

piscesx, Tuesday, 4 January 2011 01:18 (ten years ago) link

tom hardy playing ricky tarr fyi

omar little, Tuesday, 4 January 2011 05:39 (ten years ago) link

super stoked for this... killer cast

Princess TamTam, Tuesday, 4 January 2011 08:11 (ten years ago) link

five months pass...

love john hurt

devoted to boats (schlump), Thursday, 30 June 2011 09:47 (nine years ago) link

holy shit i am pumped for this

Ayatollah Colm Meaney (Princess TamTam), Thursday, 30 June 2011 09:53 (nine years ago) link

Probably this is going to be good (Gary Oldman and John Hurt are great), but Smiley and Guinness for me are so inextricably linked that it is impossible to imagine a different actor in that role.

Marco Damiani, Thursday, 30 June 2011 10:06 (nine years ago) link

true, hope they pull it off

good to see benny cumby and tom hardy reteaming

where ilxor ends and markers begins (history mayne), Thursday, 30 June 2011 10:14 (nine years ago) link

Oldman looks the part in that trailer altho he's perhaps still too good-looking to be Smiley, also I can't quite tell from the trail if it's set in period or not, some of the shots look like it is but some don't. Anyway I'm pretty sure this will rock and I demand they do the full trilogy.

SB OK (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 30 June 2011 11:53 (nine years ago) link

it's set in ~the past~ for deffo

where ilxor ends and markers begins (history mayne), Thursday, 30 June 2011 11:56 (nine years ago) link

'it's the male bridesmaids' - a blogger who gets it

where ilxor ends and markers begins (history mayne), Thursday, 30 June 2011 11:57 (nine years ago) link

every shot looks period to me

Ayatollah Colm Meaney (Princess TamTam), Thursday, 30 June 2011 12:26 (nine years ago) link

yeah consider me stoked. looks like exactly the right tone. still hard to get my head around a non Guinness/BBC version but hey.

piscesx, Thursday, 30 June 2011 12:27 (nine years ago) link

Definitely could work, the brief bit of the Karla interrogation scene was solid.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 30 June 2011 12:34 (nine years ago) link

oldman doing his best obi-wan impression

conrad, Thursday, 30 June 2011 12:37 (nine years ago) link

its still set in the 1970s according to wikipedia

☂ (max), Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:15 (nine years ago) link

i just rescreened this the other week and it put me on a le carre book/movie/miniseries kick. the miniseries for a perfect spy is kinda 'eh' (though i dont love the novel as much as everyone else does); smiley's people is pretty good but not as good as this.

☂ (max), Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:16 (nine years ago) link

sick trailer btw

☂ (max), Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:18 (nine years ago) link

pretty stoked for this based on the trailer, never seen or read any le carré.

Introducing the Hardline According to (jim in glasgow), Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:19 (nine years ago) link

i pretty much love anything with spies and the cold war.

Introducing the Hardline According to (jim in glasgow), Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:19 (nine years ago) link

dude!!

☂ (max), Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:21 (nine years ago) link

excited for this!

hardcore oatmeal (Jordan), Thursday, 30 June 2011 14:52 (nine years ago) link

so many craggy-looking british dudes!

hardcore oatmeal (Jordan), Thursday, 30 June 2011 14:53 (nine years ago) link

new board description

mizzell, Thursday, 30 June 2011 14:56 (nine years ago) link

haha. oldman is so good. has he really never won an oscar?

tylerw, Thursday, 30 June 2011 14:58 (nine years ago) link

'oscar' and 'good at acting' are pretty bad predictors of ea. other

thomp, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:01 (nine years ago) link

yeah, i know. just the "gary oldman BAFTA winner - colin firth academy award winner" thing at the end struck me as wrong.

tylerw, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:02 (nine years ago) link

Psyched for this even though it can't possibly improve upon the mini-series.

Moodles, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:03 (nine years ago) link

yeah, just the condensing of everything to feature length makes me nervous. but looks like they nailed the vibe, judging from the trailer.

tylerw, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:05 (nine years ago) link

ha i don't think his (oldman's) bafta was even for acting? the bafta best actor over the past twenty years is an almost unalloyed cavalcade of mediocrity though, c-fuzz won it for king's speech AND for a single man

xpost

thomp, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:06 (nine years ago) link

i don't even mind firth, but i'm sure even he would say that oldman's the better actor.

tylerw, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:09 (nine years ago) link

jim in glasgow this

never seen or read any le carré.

― Introducing the Hardline According to (jim in glasgow), Thursday, 30 June 2011 14:19 (1 hour ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

i pretty much love anything with spies and the cold war.

― Introducing the Hardline According to (jim in glasgow), Thursday, 30 June 2011 14:19 (1 hour ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

is just crazy talk! you need to get some carré my friend

just sayin, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:11 (nine years ago) link

kinda can't believe i am doing trailer analysis but: the snippets of firth in this make him look great?, like it'll be a good fit for his perma-pensive face

devoted to boats (schlump), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:11 (nine years ago) link

i have also never read le carre!

rebel yelp (gbx), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:13 (nine years ago) link

and i love spy shit

rebel yelp (gbx), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:13 (nine years ago) link

Lord, man. Get reading immediately.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:13 (nine years ago) link

ned knows

just sayin, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:14 (nine years ago) link

the newest isn't bad at all, actually

remy bean, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:14 (nine years ago) link

'it's the male bridesmaids' - a blogger who gets it

:D

Lamp, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:18 (nine years ago) link

think my dad has all of them sitting in the book shelf as well, and i've read pretty much anything of promise in there.

Introducing the Hardline According to (jim in glasgow), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:20 (nine years ago) link

like he has a big book with at least three novels in it.

Introducing the Hardline According to (jim in glasgow), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:22 (nine years ago) link

bros u gotta read the smiley series

☂ (max), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:22 (nine years ago) link

read. it.

remy bean, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:22 (nine years ago) link

I grew up with Le Carré books all around the house - my dad was/is a big fan of his early stuff (not to mention Eric Ambler - did someone ever make a movie out of Mask of Dimitrios?).

Marco Damiani, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:23 (nine years ago) link

Not all of the Le Carré books are great, he got more verbose as he gained popularity, which I don't think was necessarily a good thing. However both The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy are excellent.

Moodles, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:26 (nine years ago) link

Cumberbatch has his work cut out being half as good as Michael Jayston i think, the relationship between Guillam and Smiley (in the series) was so brilliant; a strange but believable warm funny buddy movie vibe they had going on. age gap between Cumberbatch and Oldman seems much wider but that's just nitpicking.

piscesx, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:27 (nine years ago) link

smiley's age sort of oscillates in the books

thomp, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:28 (nine years ago) link

which are, secretly, awful

thomp, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:28 (nine years ago) link

which book first?

i think i'm gonna spend like a million hours at the beach today

rebel yelp (gbx), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:31 (nine years ago) link

the eight (?) books w/ smiley are his best, i think, esp. spy who came in from the cold and "the karla trilogy" (ttss/honorable schoolboy/smileys ppl). the first couple smiley books are "minor" but fun (one is not really even a spy book). the last two are also good but a little more... well theres less action, among other things. apparently looking-glass war is the most "realistic" of le carre's books, which makes it kind of boring.

perfect spy is overrated i think. most of the 90s/2000s stuff that ive read is okay but never quite reaches the smiley heights. tailor of panama is fun.

☂ (max), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:31 (nine years ago) link

chronologically youd want to start with "call for the dead" but i think youre better off going w/ spy who came in from the cold

☂ (max), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:31 (nine years ago) link

thx dude

rebel yelp (gbx), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:32 (nine years ago) link

"little drummer girl" is good too i thought but i havent read it in 5 or 6 years

☂ (max), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:33 (nine years ago) link

*shakes head sadly at thomp*

☂ (max), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:33 (nine years ago) link

lol max you're a heavy le carré stan.

Introducing the Hardline According to (jim in glasgow), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:34 (nine years ago) link

heh well like i said i just went on a binge so its all fresh in my brain

☂ (max), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:34 (nine years ago) link

Yeah, the first Smiley books are basically crime and detection novels - good examples of them tho, with a strong feeling for dialogue and atmosphere, which once again in many ways is a decayed rural and city version of Golden Period detection thrillers. Find it hard to get behind Smiley's People, either the book or the execrable TV version. Agree w' max about the Looking-Glass War and Perfect Spy certainly.

Fizzles the Chimp (GamalielRatsey), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:36 (nine years ago) link

also i have some of it wrong--looking glass war comes *before* the karla books. and secret pilgrim barely has smiley in it. (hes a minor character in swciftc and lgw too)

Call for the Dead (1961)
A Murder of Quality (1962)
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963) (Edgar Award 1965, Best Novel)
The Looking Glass War (1965)
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974)
The Honourable Schoolboy (1977)
Smiley's People (1979)
The Secret Pilgrim (1990)

☂ (max), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:37 (nine years ago) link

lol wikipedia otm

Lamp, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:38 (nine years ago) link

btw one of the great things about the original british miniseries is that patrick stewart plays karla and has... no lines

☂ (max), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:39 (nine years ago) link

lol wikipedia otm

― Lamp, Thursday, June 30, 2011 11:38 AM (46 seconds ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

hee hee i should learn to check wikipedia b4 shooting my mouth off

☂ (max), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:39 (nine years ago) link

p sure, iirc, that the scottish city of dundee was used as background to substitute for eastern bloc city in the itv adaptation of ttss (memories of underdevelopment).

Introducing the Hardline According to (jim in glasgow), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:40 (nine years ago) link

there's some later books with smiley as cameo / framing device i think? i dno

GR i was hoping i would really enjoy the tv show of smiley's ppl when i got around to it, oh well.

i think, generally, le carre is very good when he is writing about civil servants sitting in dilapidated british offices, being depressed. when he has to deal with the fact that these civil servants make decisions which involve things happening not in dilapidated british offices, like in other countries, or to people who aren't dilapidated british civil servants, then he is not very good.

thomp, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:41 (nine years ago) link

i mean, i feel like even in the good books there's at least three chapters where he might as well just have written the phrase JUST LOOK AT THE HUMAN COST JUST LOOK AT IT over and over

thomp, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:43 (nine years ago) link

hm, i think youre right that his real strength is his inside knowledge of the kind of awfulness of british bureaucracy (& i think he can be good at linking that to british society/class/culture, though i am not british so maybe hes horrible at it). i dont know how i feel about the bits that take place outside of 'the circus.' certainly stuff like that kind of ruins 'the constant gardener.'

☂ (max), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:48 (nine years ago) link

For a while, my idea of Britain was based on Tinker Taylor (a dark, dusty world made of bow windowed houses, dimly lit office corridors and teapots) - but probably I was just an impressionable kid.

Marco Damiani, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:51 (nine years ago) link

he's a bit passively oxonian, i guess? lots of "oh these horrid brutalist buildings" in one of them

i don't know, i don't remember them that well. are there any actual working-class people in any of his books? i feel like there barely are, like the actual world is sighted in a dim half-light outside the death-in-life of being a public schoolboy for your entire existence

xp.

thomp, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:53 (nine years ago) link

something about a rugger boot stamping on all human aspirations forever

thomp, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:53 (nine years ago) link

i don't know if there are any "actual" working-class people in the books? there are no, uh, miners, or whatever. but he's class-conscious! "a perfect spy" is kind of about this, actually: the way code-switching in the complicated british class system lends itself to being a spy.

it seems like almost all of the field agents in the books are... lower-middle-class? while the bureaucrats are the public schoolboy types. i think le carre plays with that a little bit. if nothing else he is kind of anxious about the possibility that communism is right.

but i should shut my mouth. i remember the common people thread.

☂ (max), Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:57 (nine years ago) link

I have seen the trailer. It features the line "We are not so very different, you and I". Fail.

The New Dirty Vicar, Thursday, 30 June 2011 15:58 (nine years ago) link

yeah i loved the trailer, but is that not a line for a superhero film or something?

Introducing the Hardline According to (jim in glasgow), Thursday, 30 June 2011 16:00 (nine years ago) link

yes, that was terrrrrrible.

remy bean, Thursday, 30 June 2011 16:01 (nine years ago) link

thomp, I think he's pretty good at seediness in the early novels - London thugs, pub crooks, that sort of thing. He's no Patrick Hamilton or Julian McLaren-Ross obviously, but he's pretty good nevertheless.

Fizzles the Chimp (GamalielRatsey), Thursday, 30 June 2011 16:01 (nine years ago) link

xpost -- Well, both Oldman and Hardy are in it, they're just warming up for Nolan.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 30 June 2011 16:01 (nine years ago) link

max you are doing very well for an american; what you say about the dynamic between the field agents and the bureaucrats rings true, but it's a while since i read any of them

but i don't think he is very anxious about the possibility that communism is right; i'm not sure he's even anxious about the possibility it exists, to be honest. i don't know. having someone actually say "we are not so very different, you and i" is plainly facepalmish on the part of the scriptwriter, but tbh that phrase could probably also just be printed in place of at least seven chapters of any one of his major novels, so

thomp, Thursday, 30 June 2011 16:06 (nine years ago) link

heh

☂ (max), Thursday, 30 June 2011 16:08 (nine years ago) link

could also be one of those lines you only ever hear in the trailer used as a kind of short-hand. Se7en has a classic example of this; Freeman says to Pitt in a car ride on his first day on the job "I'll tell you who your friends and enemies are". line doesn't appear in the actual film.

piscesx, Thursday, 30 June 2011 16:33 (nine years ago) link

"this is a movie about spies...british spies"

death to ilx, long live the frogbs (strongo hulkington's ghost dad), Thursday, 30 June 2011 16:34 (nine years ago) link

"trust ... no one."

tylerw, Thursday, 30 June 2011 16:44 (nine years ago) link

"trust ... no brit".

Introducing the Hardline According to (jim in glasgow), Thursday, 30 June 2011 17:42 (nine years ago) link

"in a world where EVERYONE'S a suspect..."

death to ilx, long live the frogbs (strongo hulkington's ghost dad), Thursday, 30 June 2011 17:43 (nine years ago) link

wonder if they considered ewan macgregor for the role of smiley.

tylerw, Thursday, 30 June 2011 17:45 (nine years ago) link

used bookstore didn't have any of the recommended ones except tinker tailor so i got that

rebel yelp (gbx), Thursday, 30 June 2011 17:50 (nine years ago) link

Still the best I think gbx.

Not sure le Carré gives a hoot about communism either way - I think he's more interested in the mechanics of defection. Woah I was going to make some detection/defection gag there, but it wouldn't have been right. Will say that what marks out the early novels is the indifference to English society. This is what we're trying to protect? Again, something in Tinker Tailor that seems to come from the early novels, which both sides share, is the indifference and cynicism to England, patriotism, civic duty. Is this hard-boiled, English style? Not sure. Class stuff - well, the whole Oxford/Cambridge thing is part of the idea, right? Intellectual game-players, pawn movers etc. But not sure it's a class thing. In terms of the characters it's just a muscle + brains thing.

I'm talking exclusively about the earlier stuff here - I think that he moved more and more towards ambiguity of side-taking throughout his career, which should make his later novels more interesting than perhaps they are.

Fizzles the Chimp (GamalielRatsey), Thursday, 30 June 2011 18:18 (nine years ago) link

i suppose when i was thinking about le carre and communism i was partly thinking of a perfect spy, which is the most recent ive read and which i think displays a real ambivalence in re: ideology. though maybe i am misunderstanding that ambivalence as sympathy, instead of indifference! certainly i think le carre is sympathetic to the defectors and certain of the communist agents--not karla or mundt, but poppy and fiedler--moreseo than he is to most of the british characters. smiley excepted.

☂ (max), Thursday, 30 June 2011 19:21 (nine years ago) link

if nothing else he is kind of anxious about the possibility that communism is right.

i think he's a bit concerned that it works, or at least parts of it does, whereas the british elite is rotted out. im not sure it matters that it's rotted out by communism (nominally), because the rotters are frivolous, overgrown schoolboys.

where ilxor ends and markers begins (history mayne), Thursday, 30 June 2011 20:01 (nine years ago) link

this trailer looks dope. iirc i think that "we are not so different, you and i" line comes from the karla interro and smiley is trying to gain his trust and confidence and it totally doesn't work, which makes the line contextually a lot better.

'the looking-glass war' is grim and weird and features a tragic and super-homoerotic friendship.

omar little, Thursday, 30 June 2011 20:02 (nine years ago) link

This thread just sent me back to the BBC adaptation which I've got. what's great about the remake is that it gives a chance to see the difference between the construction of character and contextual atmosphere then and now. Will Smiley still have his Corot? His Dresden china, Adam dresser and carriage clock? Will they still say guinea for money? Will it be damp and cold the whole time? How will they smoke? Properly or with that non-inhalation/exhalation that tends to be done nowadays? What about the rented rooms - its wallpaper and furniture? Will Smiley buy/have books? (His German Romantic poetry iirc). Will Control still only love Surrey, Lord's and the Circus? Does that triumvir mean anything any more? The mannerisms! They seem rich and clear in the austere setting of the BBC adaptation. Looking at what the refashioning says about what artistic creation thinks about us, what we look like from the perspective of the source material, what we've lost, what we've replaced it with, is always fascinating, but there's every opportunity of seeing it unusually clearly with something like this I reckon.

Fizzles the Chimp (GamalielRatsey), Thursday, 30 June 2011 20:07 (nine years ago) link

tom hardy looks like he nails ricki tarr based on the five seconds i saw of him.

omar little, Thursday, 30 June 2011 20:08 (nine years ago) link

this looks good

i've never read any le carre either

~edgy~ (goole), Thursday, 30 June 2011 20:08 (nine years ago) link

max otm, hm otm, omar on the money about the Karla interrogation. and without trying to spoiler, Smiley's reflection on that small difference is a serious piece of his character development

SB OK (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 30 June 2011 20:23 (nine years ago) link

I hope they can manage moments of poetry such as 4:53-6:47 here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk16G4walQ4

Second only to the very opening scene for me.

Fizzles the Chimp (GamalielRatsey), Thursday, 30 June 2011 20:25 (nine years ago) link

omar on the money about the Karla interrogation

I suspected as much (thus my comment way earlier -- the reason why I like the line, as omar notes, is in the context of how things DON'T work).

Are we going to have to be spoiler-free here for a while or...

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 30 June 2011 20:26 (nine years ago) link

they should just have Patrick Stewart play Karla again

☂ (max), Thursday, 30 June 2011 20:26 (nine years ago) link

I would be more than fine with that.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 30 June 2011 20:28 (nine years ago) link

re-read Tinker Tailor and Honourable Schoolboy this year in anticipation of the movie and will catch up with Smiley's People later. i don't doubt that Le Carre sides with the Foreign Office, inasmuch as he sides with anybody, and his writing on the former colonies (not all former at the time of writing I guess) irks a little. i think his anxiety isn't about Communism so much as it is about a lack of moral underpinning for either ideology, the smallness of the difference. but i suspect his attitude towards the title character in Honourable Schoolboy is a lot more sympathetic than mine

xxp yeah i think we shd try to keep the thread spoiler free until after the movie's been out for a few weeks

SB OK (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 30 June 2011 20:29 (nine years ago) link

idk how long they're going to make this, but it seems like it would make for a nice 160 min film and they could keep most of the story intact imo.

omar little, Thursday, 30 June 2011 20:57 (nine years ago) link

ciarin hinds! this is gonna OWN you guys!!

omar little, Thursday, 30 June 2011 20:57 (nine years ago) link

I'm already pissed at the two month delay between UK/US release...

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 30 June 2011 20:59 (nine years ago) link

i was excited about all this before! but still!!!!

omar little, Thursday, 30 June 2011 20:59 (nine years ago) link

good long Sight And Sound piece about the BBC version from the issue after Guinness' death in 2000
http://www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/feature/86

piscesx, Sunday, 3 July 2011 19:24 (nine years ago) link

Very nice. Nearly got emotional towards the end.

abcfsk, Sunday, 3 July 2011 19:59 (nine years ago) link

I'm watching the 1980 miniseries now thanks to this thread and -- well, it's okay. Wry, clever, etc.

The Edge of Gloryhole (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 3 July 2011 20:03 (nine years ago) link

'okay'? you're dead to me.

bros. i zing bros. (history mayne), Sunday, 3 July 2011 20:19 (nine years ago) link

What's changed?

The Edge of Gloryhole (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 3 July 2011 20:30 (nine years ago) link

wry and clever seem like good things, although Lord Soto, you seem to use them slightly dismissively, I think? but there's also an aesthetic of dullness which is fastidiously observed, which also is the main motivation of the mole - I think that's the mini-series's success. I liked this from that sight and sound piece where it said 'Much of Guinness’ skill in realising Smiley lies in this streak of pious reproach.' What's interesting is that the mole shares that reproach, in an impious way. It's actually a battle between two people, very different, who believe the same thing in many ways. In the tv series they manage to contain the difficulties of the novel within the relative simplicity of the performances and direction. That's probably why it's so well liked.

Fizzles the Chimp (GamalielRatsey), Sunday, 3 July 2011 20:48 (nine years ago) link

incidentally, one of the things that appeals about the original adaptation is to see any form of acting as an intent to decieve - the end of Ricky Tarr's interview is a good example. Any sort of traditional attempt to evoke sympathy, or conventional way of behaving is seen as unlikely and duplicitious. Only a weird English intensely class-conscious reticence, a hangover from the Empire appropriation of Stoicism is seen to be at all trustworthy in a code sense - I suspect that's the meaning of class in le Carré: code.

Fizzles the Chimp (GamalielRatsey), Sunday, 3 July 2011 21:05 (nine years ago) link

Gary, Collin, Tom Hardy...There's no way my pussy is leavin that cinema dry.

JoJo12522 2 days ago 5

Ayatollah Colm Meaney (Princess TamTam), Monday, 4 July 2011 12:46 (nine years ago) link

no way my cumberpatch is leaving that cinema dry

☂ (max), Monday, 4 July 2011 12:47 (nine years ago) link

radio drama fans may enjoy these lecarre adaptations with simon russell beale playing smiley -

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/smiley-season/

"not available" for replay but you may have ideas about tracking them down elsewhere. beale is superb i think; he sticks pretty close to guinness but that's a good thing. in some ways i think radio is a better medium for adapting these books than television

40% chill and 100% negative (Tracer Hand), Monday, 4 July 2011 13:47 (nine years ago) link

(or cinema)

40% chill and 100% negative (Tracer Hand), Monday, 4 July 2011 13:47 (nine years ago) link

btw what do the lecarre hedz here make of his newest one? i thought it was tremendously entertaining, kind of a portmanteau of all the great things about lecarre

40% chill and 100% negative (Tracer Hand), Monday, 4 July 2011 13:54 (nine years ago) link

one month passes...

john hurt man.

this is really out in september? that is p soon

(oboe interlude) (schlump), Thursday, 4 August 2011 17:39 (nine years ago) link

it'll be interesting to see if this is Peter Morgan-proof.

satan club sandwich (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 4 August 2011 17:43 (nine years ago) link

i forgot if you are pro/con peter morgan. also, is he as big of a Thing as the UK tends to think he is? i think he's a little of the julian fellowes school, tbqh

smells like PENGUINS (remy bean), Thursday, 4 August 2011 17:46 (nine years ago) link

the film of Frost/Nixon was appalling.

satan club sandwich (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 4 August 2011 17:48 (nine years ago) link

he is def. a UK mythologist, and i think that in viewing frost/nixon film as a brit lampoon of american corruption there is ... something ... to be said for it. not that it's good, mind you.

smells like PENGUINS (remy bean), Thursday, 4 August 2011 17:52 (nine years ago) link

unfortunately, he didn't understand Nixon.

satan club sandwich (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 4 August 2011 18:04 (nine years ago) link

"trust ... no one."

― tylerw, Thursday, June 30, 2011 5:44 PM (1 month ago) Bookmark

lol otm, 24 seconds in.

not sure what p.morgan has to do with this though?

joe, Thursday, 4 August 2011 18:47 (nine years ago) link

ah, I looked at the first post where they said he'd be writing the adap -- wiser heads prevailed!

Still, I think this story is made for a longer form.

satan club sandwich (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 4 August 2011 18:59 (nine years ago) link

re-reading this right now. great.

tylerw, Thursday, 4 August 2011 19:03 (nine years ago) link

Did a reread of Tinker Tailor over the last couple of days here -- first time I'd done so in a couple of decades. Very glad too (sticking to the no spoilers rule proposed upthread) that I had just forgotten who the mole was; I remember the actor in question from the miniseries but I'd forgotten which role he'd played, so the ending was a surprise all over again. A lot of what was enjoyably strange about the book to me has become a little less so now (thanks to actually going to the UK for visits, for a start) -- and I also remember the use of terms like 'lamplighters' strangely romantic and which remain so, something that turns the mundane into a little something else -- while above all else the sheer knife-edge tautness in a dingy setting remains intact. Related to that, from up above:

Not sure le Carré gives a hoot about communism either way - I think he's more interested in the mechanics of defection...Will say that what marks out the early novels is the indifference to English society. This is what we're trying to protect?

Which is very interesting in a reread: Le Carre's London, at least in this novel, often feels empty. It's as if it was nothing but a lot of buildings in which a few people can be found, a number of them containing multiple people (the Circus, a club or bar or two) but mostly containing two or three or even just one. As such it's one of Le Carre's sharpest gifts because he recognizes the reduction of the individual perspective to just that scope; if all you're focusing on is something small or something removed, the exact day-to-day surroundings of millions of people and all that entails makes no impact. At the same time it also makes me think of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast books which are explicitly about a theme of a defective/decayed England in structure and form; London as a vast rambling castle like Gormenghast where people work in odd nooks and are seemingly removed from most non-work human contact beyond an offhand 'oh yeah, that' feeling. Meantime the softest side of the whole story comes from the scenes in the school where Prideaux is laying low as a teacher; I think the character of Roach is interesting in retrospect not merely as a way to introduce Prideaux without actually going into any detail about him but also to self-consciously contrast the world of the Circus with an unknowing, naive and unsettled perspective, shaped by divorce and family turmoil (in turn set against Smiley's own ruminations on Ann). But to return to the question of the school: its own circle of petty grievances and victories becomes at once a symbol of what's supposed to be 'protected' and what might not be worth protecting as it stands, a country idyll of sorts -- yet in the end the story begins and ends there, and through Roach's eyes.

Bits in the trailer do make me wonder more now about how the story is going to be shaped; I gather Istanbul stands in for Hong Kong, fair enough, but referencing things like a resultant nuclear war and more puts in a different kind of urgency to it. Still that could just be a quick trailer specific bait-and-switch. Reread did confirm there is a bit in the Karla interrogation scene where Smiley mentions or thinks something along the 'we are not so very different' line so hey.

Anyway, time to watch the miniseries again properly.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 15 August 2011 15:45 (nine years ago) link

nice post, ned. just finished re-reading last night. honestly the thing that stuck out to me was the almost satirical elements of lecarre's depiction of the circus -- it's not quite Catch 22, but it's getting there?

tylerw, Monday, 15 August 2011 19:09 (nine years ago) link

Great post, Ned. I will admit I have never gotten around to reading this book, I should probably do this before summer ends.

online pinata store (Nicole), Monday, 15 August 2011 19:28 (nine years ago) link

It's great.

I can't imagine a movie being a quarter as good as the Guiness miniseries.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Monday, 15 August 2011 19:33 (nine years ago) link

Although cast is pretty impressive.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Monday, 15 August 2011 19:40 (nine years ago) link

Thanks all. Just rewatched the first episode today as well (the original seven episode series rather than the US-adapted six episode); if the movie by default can't maintain the slow, easy unfolding of the story then the TV version does point the way on how to simplify the book's in medias res structure. (I suspect the couple of shots in the trailer showing the heads of the Circus around a table is meant to mimic the opening shot of the miniseries, though unsprisingly the movie version feels rather more glamorous, just.) Also I'd forgotten that the TV version apparently substitutes Lisbon for Hong Kong but I'll wait to see what the second episode is like.

Seeing Guinness again in the role in full via that first episode really is a masterpiece. The antithesis of verbose, making every word count, with maybe the sole exception of when he's alone, venting and angry, and even that is clipped.

An advantage of the book is that while Smiley as a character obviously exists in previous books as discussed above, you really can take him straight from the start via the book etc., you don't need the earlier stuff though it does provide some context and background by default.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 15 August 2011 19:57 (nine years ago) link

honestly the thing that stuck out to me was the almost satirical elements of lecarre's depiction of the circus -- it's not quite Catch 22, but it's getting there?

There's definitely a very dry humor at many points but Le Carre isn't even aiming for black comedy as such, it's more like "Well, it would be this, wouldn't it." On that front it's almost more like Beckett.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 15 August 2011 19:59 (nine years ago) link

Well, I remember who the mole is, maybe cuz I watched the series 5-6 years ago.

Who is playing Karla?

Ironic that Oldman is not enough of an old man, technically... Also, on the iMdB it says he watched Guinness as part of his preparation! I've never heard of an actor saying something like that about an inherited role.

satan club sandwich (Dr Morbius), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:03 (nine years ago) link

What about Ewan McGregor also watching Guinness?

a 'catch-all', almost humorous, 'Jeez' quality (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:04 (nine years ago) link

xp to ned yeah, i don't think that is really lecarre's aim, but the absurdity of espionage/double agents/triple crossing/etc made it feel like a different author might've taken it in full satire mode.

tylerw, Monday, 15 August 2011 20:06 (nine years ago) link

well, McGregor was doing a bloody impression, plus he wasn't doing the *same* material.

My problem w/ de Niro's CIA film was that stuff is best played as dark comedy.

satan club sandwich (Dr Morbius), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:09 (nine years ago) link

like Our Man in Havana?

a 'catch-all', almost humorous, 'Jeez' quality (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:14 (nine years ago) link

"Who is playing Karla?"

Karla isn't in TTSS.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:18 (nine years ago) link

Hopefully Picard will play him again!

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:19 (nine years ago) link

Not in the film? Cos he's in the book/BBC miniseries. xpost

scotstvo, Monday, 15 August 2011 20:19 (nine years ago) link

picard has been practicing his steely stare.

tylerw, Monday, 15 August 2011 20:20 (nine years ago) link

Yeah, I don't remember seeing Smiley's People! Wikipedia says Stewart was in both.

satan club sandwich (Dr Morbius), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:23 (nine years ago) link

it should be michael fassbender. or the other one.

xpost

smiley's people is a bit of a letdown after TTSS

I think he's only in Smiley's People.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:25 (nine years ago) link

In the mini-series.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:25 (nine years ago) link

yes Alfred, my fave spy films are probably Our Man in Havana and The In-Laws.

has anyone seen Richard Burton in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold?

satan club sandwich (Dr Morbius), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:26 (nine years ago) link

I don't think he actually appears in the book either, but it's been years.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:26 (nine years ago) link

xp It's awesome.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:26 (nine years ago) link

he has one scene in TTSS

The Deadly Affair is unfortunately fairly weak. Don't bother with it.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:27 (nine years ago) link

xp It must be uncredited cuz he's not in IMDB.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:27 (nine years ago) link

which of the two series has the flashback where Smiley (Guinness w/ a dye job) is talking to Stewart in a cell?

xxxp: that's the one, right?

satan club sandwich (Dr Morbius), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:27 (nine years ago) link

And I think he only has one scene in Smiley's People.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:27 (nine years ago) link

it's been years since I've watched The Spy Who Came In...; perhaps too dour for its own good. But Burton has his best role after George in WAOVW?

a 'catch-all', almost humorous, 'Jeez' quality (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:28 (nine years ago) link

iMdB does not always have complete credits. And maybe PS was uncredited cuz he doesn't say anything?

satan club sandwich (Dr Morbius), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:28 (nine years ago) link

both series are on PS's page:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001772/

satan club sandwich (Dr Morbius), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:31 (nine years ago) link

hope karla is in the new one. could be a secret cameo or s.thing. at least in the miniseries it's pretty important.

it's a pretty big part of TTSS (the book) -- can't see how they would leave it out?

tylerw, Monday, 15 August 2011 20:35 (nine years ago) link

it'll probably be shia lebeauoffff

tylerw, Monday, 15 August 2011 20:35 (nine years ago) link

patrick stewart plays karla in a flashback scene in the original tv series, but has no lines--smiley is telling guillam about the one time he met karla, in an indian prison. as in the miniseries, he doesnt "appear" in the book except in that story

max, Monday, 15 August 2011 20:40 (nine years ago) link

I see Stephen Rea in the new film's credits, with no character name!

satan club sandwich (Dr Morbius), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:44 (nine years ago) link

A slow percolating thought as well which is probably applicable to Le Carre's work as a whole is how little he evinces any interest in the general trappings of the regimes in question. Using Tinker Tailor as an explicit example, the most there is of an English structure as personified/incorporated is the figure of the Minister above Lacon, who is a cameo at best, as well as 'Whitehall' as general point of reference. Similarly both the Americans and Russians are discussed in generalities and the broadest of strokes. In part this approach is understandably contextual (why bother explaining what is already apparent), but, especially as history does change even in the short term, it reduces all the public faces of the regimes to grey, irrelevant background, with the logic of the systems themselves being the only driving force, as previously noted on the thread. If it reminds me of anything it's almost Orwell and 1984, only without even a Big Brother figure as a prop.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 15 August 2011 20:59 (nine years ago) link

Peter Morgan is an exec producer on this film, which explains why bloody David Frost is in it.

satan club sandwich (Dr Morbius), Monday, 15 August 2011 21:08 (nine years ago) link

different one! that was a head-scratcher.

there are two David Frosts?! What a plague.

satan club sandwich (Dr Morbius), Monday, 15 August 2011 21:23 (nine years ago) link

xp

there is a little more than the logic of the systems tho, which is represented (to Smiley at least) by Karla. Smiley may not be able to articulate what it is that he's working to protect, but Karla is the personification of what he's protecting it from. that single meeting, and Smiley's humiliation by Karla - which perhaps he has never overcome, and which perhaps is more painful and formative than anything Ann does to him - comes to define the difference between Us and Them in his head. to Smiley at least, Karla is the monstrous product of a system that must be monstrous itself. how much the author or the reader shares that assumption may vary.

i wd say that The Honourable Schoolboy as a novel makes me question le Carre's detachment and sophistication a fair bit.

Looking for Mrs Nutbar (Noodle Vague), Monday, 15 August 2011 21:25 (nine years ago) link

There's a logic to Karla's personification as you describe; at the same time he's not some Blofeld/Fu Manchu type but somebody equally beholden to his own bureaucratic ups and downs, falling out of favor with Moscow at points and ultimately creating his own private empire precisely to shield himself. Granted if the distinction between the systems is that one side fires/forcibly retires you when you screw up and the other one wonders whether shooting you or the gulag is better then your point is clear and I'd say you're correct that ultimately Smiley, however frustrated he is with much of his system, ultimately 'illusionless,' is immovable from a perhaps reflexive defense of a certain England -- or alternately a certain idealized English/aesthetic existence (his German poets, etc.; the bit of art crit that sneak in throughout the novel add to that function) -- as opposed to a seemingly unknowable set of concerns. (Which makes Smiley's People of interest in that it ultimately, contextually and more, 'humanizes' Karla, just.)

Ned Raggett, Monday, 15 August 2011 21:35 (nine years ago) link

i think it starts off as 'Karla won't/is incapable of "playing the game"' and winds up at his having something of the nature of a very sophisticated machine in Smiley's imagination - his motivations, his calculations, are just about logically explicable to Smiley but the world that created him isn't? Smiley seems to have much less trouble understanding the mole for example, and as such his emotional attitude is clearer.

Looking for Mrs Nutbar (Noodle Vague), Monday, 15 August 2011 21:41 (nine years ago) link

Then again, wouldn't that be the case, that we know something closer to home no matter what home is.

I wonder if time hasn't changed our thoughts about Russia as 'the other' in turn. Growing up in the seventies and well into the eighties I seemed to only hear about Russia as this place literally shut off from everything and weirdly isolated, a classic perception of trying to fit in a consistent take on a place with little experience to hand; for many Le Carre readers alive at that time it was probably similar. Of course Russia as place or as regime doesn't directly appear in the book at all, everything is at most secondhand.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 15 August 2011 21:52 (nine years ago) link

compare his semi-loving portraits of south-east Asia in Honourable Schoolboy. which are part of the thing that makes that book feel more Boy's Own adventure and less cool distanced dissection.

time has undoubtedly changed our thoughts about Russia but only into a different kind of "other" i guess

Looking for Mrs Nutbar (Noodle Vague), Monday, 15 August 2011 21:56 (nine years ago) link

Yeah stepping back to Honourable that one is a strange cul-de-sac and I'll be happy to not revisit it, as those issues and more all sound like they'll just swamp it completely.

A different other, a different...context. Who is the le Carre of today and could there be one? There's plenty of room for it I figure but the stakes and cultural contexts are surely shifted.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 15 August 2011 22:04 (nine years ago) link

Would the le Carre of today necessarily write about espionage? I tend to think not, actually, and my attention turns somewhere like Mieville.

turning in the widening gyre (remy bean), Monday, 15 August 2011 22:10 (nine years ago) link

one thought: today's spooks are engaged in a much less insular game, primarily working to undermine enemies with less qualms about killing civilians. the job is less arcane in this respect?

there's little to no Ireland in le Carre that i can remember. is that because a) different department or b) literary/other reasons?

Looking for Mrs Nutbar (Noodle Vague), Monday, 15 August 2011 22:11 (nine years ago) link

xpost -- Mieville is actually who I was thinking of earlier in terms of vague points of thematic comparison so I'm glad I wasn't alone!

Ned Raggett, Monday, 15 August 2011 22:20 (nine years ago) link

isn't le carre the le carre of today?

hardcore oatmeal (Jordan), Monday, 15 August 2011 22:21 (nine years ago) link

(haven't read any of his recent books but they sound solid from reviews/interviews)

hardcore oatmeal (Jordan), Monday, 15 August 2011 22:23 (nine years ago) link

looks like the whole Ricky Tarr subplot is going to be a biggish chunk of the film judging from that last trailer. that's what i was hoping for; it's clearly (in the mini series) the most glamorous, Bond style action movie element of the story. gonna be great this!

piscesx, Monday, 15 August 2011 22:23 (nine years ago) link

xpost -- Fair point! I do wonder how much of that might be lingering affection; at the same time you'd think that an even more morally grey world would be up his creative alley by default.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 15 August 2011 22:25 (nine years ago) link

i don't really want TTSS to be glamorous or Bond-style tbh

Looking for Mrs Nutbar (Noodle Vague), Monday, 15 August 2011 22:26 (nine years ago) link

I'm not worried about that, exactly? To me, the irreducible piece of the story is about disaffection and the semi-conjugal relationship between an employer (gov't) and an unenthusiastic functionary (Smiley) of that employer. In other words, I think TTSS exists in the space between ironic detachment and lingering affection.

turning in the widening gyre (remy bean), Monday, 15 August 2011 22:33 (nine years ago) link

FWIW I thought 'Let the Right One In' was a sad hash of a movie, and wasted the heck out of Michael Nyqvist.

turning in the widening gyre (remy bean), Monday, 15 August 2011 22:34 (nine years ago) link

the american version was better

nonetheless this film looks tite

i didnt think LTROI was "all that" but i have a hard time believing this guy can make a bad movie with that cast

max, Monday, 15 August 2011 22:47 (nine years ago) link

i agree max. i think the source material is interesting enough (both as le carre intended it, and as a cultural artifact) to carry the movie a long way. i wonder what a contemporary version of 'spy who came in from the cold' would look like, too?

turning in the widening gyre (remy bean), Monday, 15 August 2011 22:49 (nine years ago) link

i reread TSWCIFTC recently. a LOT less editorializing than you got later. really dry. doubt you could improve on the original film.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2008/09/26/article-1062713-0002CCDB00000258-980_468x352.jpg

^^^ beautiful composition in this movie

turning in the widening gyre (remy bean), Monday, 15 August 2011 22:54 (nine years ago) link

yeah after rereading both SWCIFTC and TTSS this summer i think the the spy who is the better book. so cold!

max, Monday, 15 August 2011 22:57 (nine years ago) link

Promising review for sure, some of the specific details in particular.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 28 August 2011 20:16 (nine years ago) link

Watched The Spy Who Came In ... on TV the other day, and it is one of the most perfect spy movies, because it's so unremittingly downbeat. None of the other big name attempts at "realist" spy movies in the 60s ever allowed themselves to be so unglamorous. (Although Richard Burton? Hmmm. Well, I guess you need a star, but he's no one's idea of an upper-mid-level bureaucrat.) Brilliant supporting cast - Michael Hordern, in the picture above, is perfect as the gay agent.

And, the way power games are played, they way everyone dismisses the person immediately below them at the first opportunity: Robert Hardy dismisses Hordern; the first East German agent dismisses Hardy; Fiedler dismisses the first East German agent. Each of those scenes is pretty well identitcal, and perfect for it: beneath it all, everyone is just a jealous jobworth.

Trudi Styler, the Creator (ithappens), Monday, 29 August 2011 09:48 (nine years ago) link

that's funny that that's Michael Hordern; I mistook him for Noel Coward!

incredibly middlebrow (Dr Morbius), Monday, 29 August 2011 13:22 (nine years ago) link

score: http://www.tinkertailorsoldierspymusic.com/

us release pushed back to dec 9 (uk release still sep 16)

caek, Tuesday, 30 August 2011 12:06 (nine years ago) link

Argh.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 30 August 2011 12:38 (nine years ago) link

:|

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_i_qxQztHRI (Princess TamTam), Tuesday, 30 August 2011 12:42 (nine years ago) link

it was already late nov i think, so that's not the end OTW.

caek, Tuesday, 30 August 2011 12:46 (nine years ago) link

also don't worry i will tell you all about it here

caek, Tuesday, 30 August 2011 12:47 (nine years ago) link

ahhhhhh owned much USA?

HOOSy woosies (history mayne), Tuesday, 30 August 2011 18:36 (nine years ago) link

I guess I'll be busy watching the other 300 releases that are squeezed into the last quarter of the year.

incredibly middlebrow (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 30 August 2011 18:38 (nine years ago) link

only listened to a bit of that score but it's making me miss the Wolfman/X-Men themes they've been using in the trailers. :/

Roz, Tuesday, 30 August 2011 18:39 (nine years ago) link

5/5 in Empire is a very good sign, they still only give out a handful of those each year.

piscesx, Wednesday, 31 August 2011 23:47 (nine years ago) link

just caught 'the spy who came in from the cold', ithappens otm upthread.

even blue cows get the girls (darraghmac), Wednesday, 31 August 2011 23:52 (nine years ago) link

The problem with Le Carré as a writer is that he had his characters more or less perfectly formed 50 years ago, and he hasn't really felt any need to alter them since. So for the past 25 years his novels have been filled with people who no longer exist, with the attitudes and tics of a generation before them. So no matter how precise the plotting, the peopling of the novels lets them down. Reminds me of Mark Lawson rofling on Late Review once in the late 90s about a PD James novel that had the young hispters heading to the destination du jour on a Sunday lunchtime: the carvery at the Strand Palace Hotel. That's exactly the kind of thing Le Carré would do.

But pretty much everything up to A Perfect Spy is peerless. That's where I think the datedness starts becoming apparent, though there are still pleasures aplenty over the past quarter century.

Have been reading Eric Ambler recently: you can see Le Carré paid close attention.

Trudi Styler, the Creator (ithappens), Thursday, 1 September 2011 15:19 (nine years ago) link

le carre's extreme weaknesses are (1) women and (2) america: he doesn't remotely understand either, and his fiction only really works when neither functions as actor or agent

the trapped-in-a-lost--era comment is interesting: it puts him far closer to the territory of wodehouse than SWCiftC looks as if it's going to be: but of course one era's ultra-realism is always a later's mannerism

his cities are very close to unpeopled: partly this is achieved (as a realism) by much of it happening in the wee hours, in liminal spaces

(a good comparison, and maybe an indicator of where "our generation's" le carre might be looked for, is stephen frears's "dirty pretty things")

re bond: in smiley's people, the mostly off-page story of otto leipzig, the "magician" -- womaniser, charmer, etc -- is an acknowledgment of the presence of bond-esque characters in a smileyverse, and how they end up...

mark s, Saturday, 3 September 2011 15:51 (nine years ago) link

hyped all over the shop at Venice
http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/video/2011/sep/05/tinker-tailor-soldier-spy-venice-video

piscesx, Monday, 5 September 2011 18:50 (nine years ago) link

I am suspicious of the British film community hyping something that was brilliantly dramatized 30 years ago as the "event" of the year.

incredibly middlebrow (Dr Morbius), Monday, 5 September 2011 19:12 (nine years ago) link

to be fair it's not an adaptation of something boring from the 19th century, shakespeare or sycophantic shite abt the royal family, of course it's on a par with aliens landing on the white house lawn or something

Once Were Moderators (DG), Monday, 5 September 2011 20:14 (nine years ago) link

Morbs can you remember whether people moaned about the hype over the remake of The Maltese Falcon?

placeholder for weak pun (Noodle Vague), Monday, 5 September 2011 20:16 (nine years ago) link

lol, but the first 2 versions were not definitive.

incredibly middlebrow (Dr Morbius), Monday, 5 September 2011 20:19 (nine years ago) link

I am suspicious of the British film community hyping something that was brilliantly dramatized 30 years ago as the "event" of the year.

― incredibly middlebrow (Dr Morbius), Monday, September 5, 2011 8:12 PM (1 hour ago) Bookmark

ehhh british film critics tend to hate british films, this is pretty well attested

you can't expect this to supersede the original, but the original did not follow the novel that closely

extremely loud and incredibly highbrow (history mayne), Monday, 5 September 2011 20:20 (nine years ago) link

"British" film with a hot Swedish director tbf

placeholder for weak pun (Noodle Vague), Monday, 5 September 2011 20:21 (nine years ago) link

film will be delivered in pieces that you have to assemble yourself do you see

Once Were Moderators (DG), Monday, 5 September 2011 20:27 (nine years ago) link

"the original did not follow the novel that closely" -- it was quite faithful, wasn't it? i don't recall any very significant changes

mark s, Monday, 5 September 2011 20:52 (nine years ago) link

well, it's told in a different order -- prideaux's mission e.g.

not actually going to read any reviews till i've seen it anyway

extremely loud and incredibly highbrow (history mayne), Monday, 5 September 2011 21:40 (nine years ago) link

but i think the characters are 'different-as-in-better' in the series too, which is a different qn maybe

extremely loud and incredibly highbrow (history mayne), Monday, 5 September 2011 21:43 (nine years ago) link

oh, right, yes, hadn't thought of the narrative order

i saw the series first, then read the book, supplying the characters from the series, pretty much -- i think toby is maybe the one who fights hardest against the TV casting; smiley is smaller and podgier than guinness in description but you read it and think le carre must have made a mistake when he says stuff like that...

mark s, Monday, 5 September 2011 21:52 (nine years ago) link

s&s just arrived and i see the feature-writer is john sutherland, who -- whatever else he is -- is surely NOT a paid-up member of the "British film community"

(whatever else he is = he's a retired prof of eng.lit. and a very readable literary journalist, but he has no footprint that i can think of discussing TV or movies: has he been in S&S before? he's usually interesting and like henry i will read this after i've seen the film -- but i'm slightly fascinated by the politics of S&S choosing him as the figurehead feature-writer/commentator, esp.as was likely decided before anyone had seen the film)

mark s, Tuesday, 6 September 2011 11:21 (nine years ago) link

he does have long-term le carré form.

you don't exist in the database (woof), Tuesday, 6 September 2011 11:44 (nine years ago) link

yes, right, that makes sense: his academic specialism is victorian lit, i think, but he writes about popular and semi-popular fiction also, which vic lit gives you a pretty good angle on

mark s, Tuesday, 6 September 2011 11:48 (nine years ago) link

actually i have that issue squirrelled away somewhere, if that's its cover!

mark s, Tuesday, 6 September 2011 11:50 (nine years ago) link

& watching the mini-series for the first time on the advice of this thread. usually not keen on this sort of spy-stuff(*), but totally wrapped up, gamaliel otm love all the smoking in shabby rooms.

(*dunno why - never suited my sensibility - possibilities: a) no inner life, so I can't engage with psych ambivalence of Greene tradition b) Total disconnection from brit heroism, playing field/empire mythos, so no interest in people navigating the grey lagoon of its decline c) complicated plots with lots of double-dealing confuse me, & I just assume everyone is working for everyone else, which makes it a bit dull and tiring).

you don't exist in the database (woof), Tuesday, 6 September 2011 11:56 (nine years ago) link

TTSS is great as an objectification of that feeling we all have re: everybody we work with is a back-stabbing cunt

placeholder for weak pun (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 6 September 2011 12:17 (nine years ago) link

just started watching this myself, thoroughly engrossed already.

i really love how the tv version kind of starts off on this note of smiley being this totally out-of-the-loop outsider who is "too old for this shit", and then he sits down with the british agents at the estate house to meet with the spy-on-the-run, and he takes off his glasses and puts them back on and gives this dude a look which says in an instant that he's the smartest and toughest dude around and it's like "oh shit."

this bit was tremendous!

r|t|c, Tuesday, 6 September 2011 18:02 (nine years ago) link

think i otm'd that the first time round but yeah. now that isn't in the book, and couldn't be.

ain't no such thing as halfway zvooks (history mayne), Tuesday, 6 September 2011 18:31 (nine years ago) link

i started watching this last night because of this thread as well, and after the first episode i came back here specifically to big-up that scene and realized it had already been done, and now it's been done three times, so i guess we have consensus on alec guinness polishing his glasses.

the-dream in the witch house (difficult listening hour), Tuesday, 6 September 2011 18:36 (nine years ago) link

also thought the monologue by the exiled head-of-research woman w/ the dog was great.

the-dream in the witch house (difficult listening hour), Tuesday, 6 September 2011 18:38 (nine years ago) link

(the one in ep. 3.)

the-dream in the witch house (difficult listening hour), Tuesday, 6 September 2011 18:38 (nine years ago) link

tragically, The Fast Show's George Wily sketch appears to be unavailable on Youtube.

placeholder for weak pun (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 6 September 2011 19:49 (nine years ago) link

he does in fact polish his glasses in the book -- i just looked -- but le carre is not unreasonably playing the long game on this re smiley=awsumz card and "his eyes had a soft, naked look which was embarrassing to those who caught him at it"

guinness def plays the character steelier, and plus guillam thumps tarr several times

also lacon's daughter falls off her pony in the the book

mark s, Tuesday, 6 September 2011 20:56 (nine years ago) link

haha yes i remember that bit. she is described sort of unkindly too. "fat" or "plump" or something.

max, Tuesday, 6 September 2011 21:54 (nine years ago) link

was so overjoyed during delhi flashback when russian mastermind spy stepped into the light and was played by whom he was played by

the-dream in the witch house (difficult listening hour), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 04:10 (nine years ago) link

Somewhere, some nerd has written some sort of slashfic implying that said character is actually Locutus out to spy out Earth in advance of First Contact.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 04:13 (nine years ago) link

its funny cause iirc hes credited in every episode, and i kept waiting for him to show up, and then i kept waiting for him to have a line, and then i kept waiting for him to reappear, and, well.

max, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 04:13 (nine years ago) link

great beard.

the-dream in the witch house (difficult listening hour), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 04:14 (nine years ago) link

shame the new version probably won't end with St Paul's Cathedral boys' choir.

piscesx, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 04:33 (nine years ago) link

hoping it won't begin with the stuff at the prep school

yes i am rereading the book (again): i don't much like the thursgood stuff, it's too cutesy, and the encountering martindale scene is an incredibly clunky exposition move, smiley spends the whole chapter being "i am annoyed at you telling me all this stuff i already know (but too polite and sad and lonely to say so)"

i am happy (just starting chapter three) to defend the position that the TV version is a lot better than the book

mark s, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 09:13 (nine years ago) link

don't think it's outrageous to say that Le Carre has flaws that the TV series improved on, or to say that his writing itself is kind of filmic, but the good filmic bits are the bits that avoid any of the Boy's Own last days of the Raj cobblers he likes to indulge in.

placeholder for weak pun (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 10:19 (nine years ago) link

a few pages further in, i'm prepared to forgive him the martindale exposition stuff, it's a kind of a graceful sacrifice of the novelistic high ground to ensure that the guillam/tarr sections that straight away follow aren't tainted by too much necessary backstory that isn't directly tarr-related

mark s, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 10:28 (nine years ago) link

inc. a nicely blunt bit of lampshade hanging: "an extraordinary feeling passed over him: that he was living the day twice, first with martindale in the club, now again with guillam in a dream"

mark s, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 10:37 (nine years ago) link

in tinker tailor soldier THING news, i want tarr to be blair

mark s, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 12:03 (nine years ago) link

mac= smiley, obv and garry = percy
childs = hayden, norris = bland, clark = prideaux

fuchs = guillam

mark s, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 12:14 (nine years ago) link

Why is it described as a miniseries? Because it's not American and therefore doesn't last for centuries and have thousands of episodes that life's too short to bother watching?

Euripides Trousers (Tom D.), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 12:16 (nine years ago) link

answered yr own question i think

Once Were Moderators (DG), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 12:18 (nine years ago) link

Just looked at the cast of the original "miniseries". Thorley Waters! George Pravda!

Euripides Trousers (Tom D.), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 12:18 (nine years ago) link

bennings = lacon

really struggling with toby!

seven eps (ie a lot less than a full season) and self-contained story never intended to generate further episodes = mini-series by US usage

mark s, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 12:29 (nine years ago) link

Think Hywel Bennett is underrated in the original. Can't think of another actor who's gone from youthful adonis to aged ogre quite so spectacularly.

Stevie T, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 12:32 (nine years ago) link

i am happy (just starting chapter three) to defend the position that the TV version is a lot better than the book

not a hard position to defend!

max, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 12:32 (nine years ago) link

i just read "night soldiers" by alan furst on the recommendation of a friend and boyyy did it make me appreciate JLC a lot more, despite having gotten pretty annoyed with him a couple months ago after tearing through his best few books and finding that the rest weren't nearly as good

max, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 12:46 (nine years ago) link

nothing i read after smiley's people was any good, though i see SP is less than halfway through his bibliog so far

halfway thru the tarr inquisition which is terrific -- except maybe the stuff that irina's is sposed to have written on toilet paper, which is a bit [insert plot-point here] [using lady] [consults manual of lady-fashioning]

mark s, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 12:56 (nine years ago) link

yeah smiley's people is sort of the cutoff point for me too, though a perfect spy and tailor of panama have redeeming qualities/bits, and i havent read anything hes done in the last ten years. little drummer girl is the one that turned me off le carre. still dont know anyone whose written as many well-written/highly readable spy novels this side of graham greene

max, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 13:00 (nine years ago) link

eric ambler and len deighton are both great when they're on

mark s, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 13:04 (nine years ago) link

Can't think of another actor who's gone from youthful adonis to aged ogre quite so spectacularly.

Needs own thread?

Euripides Trousers (Tom D.), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 13:13 (nine years ago) link

went on a hunt to discover when exactly the story is set -- irina says the "ultra-reactionaries" are back in power in westminster (= ted heath presumably!) and smiley notes that the war is 30 years ago: TTSS was publiushed in 74, so that makes it 1970-73 i guess

anyway what i found instead was suggestions who characters were likely based on, which i'd never pursued before (caveat: i think jlc was always stayed coy, which is fair enough)

connie = milicent bagot <-- oddly sad about this, it diminshes connie not to be made up, somehow
smiley = maurice oldfield <-- unconvinced by this claim, think smiley is organically a fictional evolution
haydon = kim philby <-- this is interesting, and maybe more plausible, but it does strange things to the time line, basically extending/shunting a mid-50s story into the early 70s

but actually one of the strengths of the novel is the sense of stuff spilling from an earlier era into a later time: of half the characters as weird left-overs in an era they totally don't understand (jlc is always a bit hopeless actually depicting the modern world, less so at depicting the flailing melancholy of the middle-age not knowing how to negotiate it

http://girlspy.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/millicent-bagot.jpg http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-7BLh-1UU7pU/Tl4Aid-9zyI/AAAAAAAATu0/ZT8_QRsxTro/s400/oldfield2.jpg http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-jWsPQF94rz8/TZUVz5hbWJI/AAAAAAAADfo/B1rnWF95VXg/s1600/KimPhilby.jpg

mark s, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 15:16 (nine years ago) link

are there any decent non-fic histories of post-war mi6? I'm always a bit suspicious – the 900pp one that came out last year looked a bit dull (& long). I want traitors + mind games + speculation + sociopathic lunatics messing shit up in bucharest

you don't exist in the database (woof), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 15:42 (nine years ago) link

Said 900pp one just got turned back into the library here so I'm going to give it a read. Though presumably it will be fairly dull.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 15:50 (nine years ago) link

you gotta choose between books by spooks and books by conspiracy nuts for the most part i guess

placeholder for weak pun (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 20:11 (nine years ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUj3uxm_F20

omar little, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 20:24 (nine years ago) link

haydon's christ church gang of aesthetes hammers home the philby-haydon connection iirc

though a perfect spy and tailor of panama have redeeming qualities/bits

saw on the jacket of APS that philip roth says it is 'the best english novel since the war'. i haven't read it but still felt, steady on phil.

ain't no such thing as halfway zvooks (history mayne), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 20:24 (nine years ago) link

he must've missed that Tony Parsons joint

placeholder for weak pun (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 20:26 (nine years ago) link

i've never seen the film version of Spy Who Came in From the Cold - any good? has richard burton EVER been in a good movie?

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 20:45 (nine years ago) link

Plenty of praise for said film upthread.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 20:46 (nine years ago) link

ty, it seems like the kind of film that is given away free w the daily mail on a regular basis so i will scour the charity shops for a copy

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 20:52 (nine years ago) link

dude... where eagles dare.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_i_qxQztHRI (Princess TamTam), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 20:53 (nine years ago) link

i've never seen the film version of Spy Who Came in From the Cold - any good? has richard burton EVER been in a good movie?

― Ward Fowler, Wednesday, September 7, 2011 9:45 PM (7 minutes ago) Bookmark

a) yeah it's great b) what tammy said

ain't no such thing as halfway zvooks (history mayne), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 20:54 (nine years ago) link

oh yeah duh forgot where eagles dare, even ingrid pitt is gd in that

i seem to remember reading a v sniffy piece in private eye abt that big, recent 900 page secret service history that woof and ned mention - sounded p compromised/'official', from what i recall. in the 80s (and earlier) you'd often see bestsellery bks abt MI5etc by ppl w wonderful names like Chapman Pincher and Fenton Bresler, wonder who (if anybody) are their equivs today (haven't really 'kept up' w/ the genre)

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 21:01 (nine years ago) link

a v sniffy piece in private eye

surely not

the-dream in the witch house (difficult listening hour), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 21:03 (nine years ago) link

i remember my dad bringing a copy of this back from his travels, seemed awfully exciting

nb i have never read it

Once Were Moderators (DG), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 21:11 (nine years ago) link

copies of spycatcher actually add up to greater biomass than human beings at this point

thomp, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 21:16 (nine years ago) link

a perfect spy is not the best english novel since the war

that would be the satan bug

mark s, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 21:22 (nine years ago) link

Julie Burchill's Ambition imo

placeholder for weak pun (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 21:24 (nine years ago) link

i think you're all forgetting a little something called The Rats

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 21:31 (nine years ago) link

i dunno i think Lair is probly stronger also i was only half kidding about Julie B

placeholder for weak pun (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 21:32 (nine years ago) link

Le Carre movie adaptations are a good thread.

I like in descending order:

The Russia House
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
The Tailor of Panama
Little Drummer Girl

Anakin Ska Walker (AKA Skarth Vader) (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 21:38 (nine years ago) link

never seen russia house; have no will ever to see drummer girl

gave tailor of panama a bad review in S&S -- i loved the tailoring (marking up and cutting) in the opening shots, which i assume was not being done by geoffrey rush's hands: it's now the only thing i can remember

spy who came in is good though: kitchen sink, really, except not set in the north obv

i read "the perfect spy" but remember nothing WHATEVER about it

mark s, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 23:34 (nine years ago) link

and to continue my liveblog of TTSS:

after the school opening and the martindale exposition, the three successive actual-real thriller sections are pretty flawless: the tarr debrief, guillam cases the circus, and smiley visits connie -- there's a lot of storytelling going on in the first and the last, the only time this falters, as noted, is when tarr's reading irina's journal, he tells his own story well but jlc can't find a plausible written voice for her; and the connie section is probably one of the best things her ever wrote (maybe why he tried to top it in smiley's people); guillam in the circus is actually really a way to introduce the opposition as real people, the mcguffin to get him there is negligeable, and meant to be

i'm halfway through smiley's research-and-memory binge now, less successful i'd say, though it pulled one stunt of "reading so deep you forget where you are and being reminded of your surroundings with a start", where smiley does this and jlc causes you to as well, that was neat -- the setting, the crappy little hotel near paddington, is two notches too cartoonish and mimsy

haha i am actually sick of the ann counter-plot already

mark s, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 23:43 (nine years ago) link

"there's a lot of storytelling going on" -- haha yes very insightful, i mean a lot of characters recounting stories (mainly tarr and connie obv)

mark s, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 23:48 (nine years ago) link

I haven't read the Le Carre novel on which it's based but except for its stupid ending (which I can't even remember), The Tailor of Panama is good nasty fun.

Anakin Ska Walker (AKA Skarth Vader) (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 23:48 (nine years ago) link

i'd look up my review but that room has no working lightbulbs at the moment

mark s, Wednesday, 7 September 2011 23:53 (nine years ago) link

think i tried to watch that as 'a john boorman film' which was probably the wrong way in

ain't no such thing as halfway zvooks (history mayne), Wednesday, 7 September 2011 23:55 (nine years ago) link

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_rEEjjIEeZFA/SMXo2VuSf_I/AAAAAAAAACk/0maUZiPz1po/s400/zardoz+head.jpg

"the gun is good, the penis is evil"

mark s, Thursday, 8 September 2011 00:01 (nine years ago) link

haha i like some of boorman's films a lot, but that^^^ will always come to mind first

mark s, Thursday, 8 September 2011 00:02 (nine years ago) link

ugh

incredibly middlebrow (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 8 September 2011 00:42 (nine years ago) link

has richard burton EVER been in a good movie?

― Ward Fowler, Wednesday, September 7, 2011 9:45 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7L-9YmI0V1c

piscesx, Thursday, 8 September 2011 02:10 (nine years ago) link

it was only when i listened to the boorman commentary track on the Zardoz DVD that i found out where the title comes from - (wi)zard(of)oz!

Ward Fowler, Thursday, 8 September 2011 08:04 (nine years ago) link

wha? im p sure it's in the movie. he goes to a library and sees the book

great movie imo

ain't no such thing as halfway zvooks (history mayne), Thursday, 8 September 2011 08:16 (nine years ago) link

"there's a lot of storytelling going on" -- haha yes very insightful, i mean a lot of characters recounting stories (mainly tarr and connie obv)

― mark s, Thursday, September 8, 2011 12:48 AM (8 hours ago) Bookmark

yeah. i think 'small town in germany' is the most 'and then he met x who told him y'. but this has a bit of it.

anyway, i think the novel makes it a lot more abt prideaux, not just by starting with him, but by making his debrief to smiley sorta the climax. big build-up, and it goes on for a minute. by reordering the sequence -- we know what happened to prideaux from the jump -- the novel makes it less about prideaux's personal betrayal by gerald. going to watch series again though.

ain't no such thing as halfway zvooks (history mayne), Thursday, 8 September 2011 08:28 (nine years ago) link

i like ASTIG though. kinda like a david peace who doesn't suck.

ain't no such thing as halfway zvooks (history mayne), Thursday, 8 September 2011 08:32 (nine years ago) link

haha will have to rescreen zardoz, maybe i was distracted by connery's codpiece

can't really get behind equus as a good movie, btw - ts: anthony shaffer vs peter shaffer

Ward Fowler, Thursday, 8 September 2011 08:47 (nine years ago) link

it is a treat to have mark s liveblogging TTSS, also

Ward Fowler, Thursday, 8 September 2011 08:48 (nine years ago) link

Reading some of the stuff about TTSS, and the nods that Smiley - though loyal, and diligent – is suffused with a sense of distaste and guilt about the whole game reminded me about The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, where - as an incidental character - he is responsible (albeit perhaps inadvertently) for the betrayal and eventual death of Nan. In TSWCIFTC he's still very much part of the machine – though it's never referred in the Smiley trilogy, maybe his role in Nan's death haunts him.

Trudi Styler, the Creator (ithappens), Thursday, 8 September 2011 09:00 (nine years ago) link

Equus is an unnecessary filming of a middling play, true. Zulu is good, obv, as is Virginia Woolf and Villain and probly Absolution if you're in the mood.

Prideaux is Le Carre's good chap to contrast to all the shifty bounders - maybe including Smiley - in the rest of the novel. I suspect Le Carre thinks he's the hero in some ways, but at least he comes across as kinda decent, unlike Westerby in The Honourable Schoolboy who occupies the same role but is mostly a fucking dick imo.

placeholder for weak pun (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 8 September 2011 09:02 (nine years ago) link

the one time i tried to watch Villain it was interrupted by the start of the first gulf war!

i've been wrong so often on this thread i hesitate to ask but - burton is zulu??

i also forgot abt the medusa touch, which has some of the some atmos as the tv version of TTSS, funnily enough - britain on the cusp of thatcherism, resigned middle aged men in suits, london as a place of emptiness (morally, geographically)

Ward Fowler, Thursday, 8 September 2011 10:08 (nine years ago) link

nah Burton's not Zulu i've just mixed him up with Stanley Baker in my head, common mistake round our way. pretty sure Baker did a movie on similar lines to Villain that's superior, too

placeholder for weak pun (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 8 September 2011 10:10 (nine years ago) link

Not "The Criminal", the title's similar but the film isn't!

Euripides Trousers (Tom D.), Thursday, 8 September 2011 10:11 (nine years ago) link

Probberly "Robbery"?

Euripides Trousers (Tom D.), Thursday, 8 September 2011 10:12 (nine years ago) link

think it might be Robbery yeah

placeholder for weak pun (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 8 September 2011 10:13 (nine years ago) link

yes, TTSS puts prideaux early and central and adores him, and we're meant to also (in real-life company, prideaux would be an intolerable chauvinist bore, mind you) (albeit largely as cover): we know that something happened to him, not exactly what yet [as of p.162] except he was shot in the shoulder in czecho <-- smiley doesn't really know much of it at this point [p.162] either

one thing i'm finding it VERY hard to do is read as if i don't know who the mole is: obviously i've known for something like 30 years -- jlc treats him with kids gloves AND lampshade hangs wildly all about him; that's to say smiley is overly bothered in effect by how the story is treating gerald (this is largely what bothers me about the ann stuff i think: the extent to which it's ONLY distractional sleight-of-hand -- one thing guinness manages no better than jlc is making the smiley-ann marriage remotely believable, actually, even tho siân phillips makes ann believable; in a sense we keep reading i suspect because we want to crack this mystery, but are left basically clueless) (as clueless as smiley, yes, DO YOU SEE, but that's a bullshit move, really )

the entire novel is smiley's atonement for the death of nan, yes: a long and elaborate proof that nothing nasty he ever formerly had responsibility for was actually really his fault, it is all totally at karla's door

mark s, Thursday, 8 September 2011 10:39 (nine years ago) link

All the way through the tv show, right up to the last episode, I presumed Ann was going to turn out to be some elaborate beard :/

Stevie T, Thursday, 8 September 2011 10:44 (nine years ago) link

haha elaborate beard = zardoz.jpg <-- if boorman had filmed it

re proof: trust the tale not the teller: jlc/smiley is convinced by his own argument, i think, but the reader -- attentive to the situational method, when it's on and when it's flawed - is not

mark s, Thursday, 8 September 2011 10:48 (nine years ago) link

you're quite right that Ann as a character and Smiley's relationship with her is pretty badly handled, it hadn't occured to me that this might be just cos she's a structural device. JLC wants to deepen Smiley more than he achieves it perhaps.

placeholder for weak pun (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 8 September 2011 11:17 (nine years ago) link

tailor of panama is as alfred describes

hipstery nayme (darraghmac), Thursday, 8 September 2011 11:22 (nine years ago) link

btw, le carre writes a little bit about the philby connection in the introduction to the most recent (american?) edition of the book--you can see on google books here: http://goo.gl/zerJ5

max, Thursday, 8 September 2011 12:41 (nine years ago) link

yes, TTSS puts prideaux early and central and adores him, and we're meant to also (in real-life company, prideaux would be an intolerable chauvinist bore, mind you)

Yeah, pretty much -- but it is telling he's told about/talked about through the eyes of an impressionable and desperate-for-connection awkward kid. That's about the only kind of character who could outright adore him.

one thing i'm finding it VERY hard to do is read as if i don't know who the mole is

As mentioned above I was glad I'd forgotten who it was, and though I had a pretty sure idea at some point it wasn't locked down -- and I was too happily lost in the general machinations to worry further.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 8 September 2011 12:43 (nine years ago) link

haha one of the suspects -- will try and keep hans moleman's REAL NAME redacted for ned -- refers to the relevant americans as "puritan fascists" = a pretty good description of the deeply lunatic angleton

has anyone itt read HARLOT'S GHOST? <--- n.mailer on much the same territory

mark s, Thursday, 8 September 2011 12:51 (nine years ago) link

yeah i read Harlot's Ghost when it came out, was never certain whether Mailer intended a sequel and fervently hoped he didn't. it's one of Mailer's best imo, and the obliquity of the narrator's experiences, his permanent exclusion from the meaning of any of his work, is better than JLC's Sherlock-isms i think, tho i prefer le Carre's milieu and his characters and his style, mostly.

the Dorothy Squires of mean-spirited moaning and cynicism (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 8 September 2011 12:55 (nine years ago) link

just finished the second guillam-in-the-circus section, where he gets called to account for self before the FOE ARRAYED IN PLAIN VIEW -- this is even better than the first one, because it's all about guillam keeping a bead on what he isn't meant to know

i'm not a huge fan of guillam-the-character, obsessing abt his flute-playing hippie gf -- perhaps bcz the gap between michael jayston's version and jlc's renders his inner life somewhat wonky (this is much less true in smiley's people, where jlc had once again adapted the character to its on-screen portrayal, and guillam is married with a kid in paris) -- but these scenes are tremendous for nerves, tension, not knowing what will happen next etc, someone interloping in a very familiar space, having to seem who he ordinarily is when he no longer is, being himself (very aware that he's out-of-the-loop and appropriately testy about it, yet at the same time not so capable they spot he knows something he oughtn't) (a modelled microcosm of HANS REDACTED MOLEMAN'S inner life, in fact; nice work)

the section before, smiley plunging deeper and deeper into the files, woke up towards the end when he moves off reminiscence into parsing actual secret files he'd never before viewed: finally being a desk-bound research agent, intelligence office as historian-critic, if you like, picking up clues via finance, location and his target suddenly becoming human and throwing a long-ago-and-far-off tantrum

mark s, Thursday, 8 September 2011 13:10 (nine years ago) link

by the way did anybody see David Hare's Page Eight the other week cos I was away from ILX and i desperately wanted to know if anybody else thought it was a bit pish

the Dorothy Squires of mean-spirited moaning and cynicism (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 8 September 2011 13:16 (nine years ago) link

'Stuff Happens' by David Hare.

scroll down a bit

Once Were Moderators (DG), Thursday, 8 September 2011 13:17 (nine years ago) link

(xp) Me. Pish seconded.

Euripides Trousers (Tom D.), Thursday, 8 September 2011 13:20 (nine years ago) link

during his reminiscences, smiley actually develops a THEORY about HANS REDACTED MOLEMAN, the person who will turn out to be the mole, not that smiley realises this yet (OR DOES HE?) and how moleman relates to all those around (genderspoiler) him -- that they're all botched copies of him, and that he can only be himself jigsawed out of all those round him... and actually guillam, in thought and behaviour under foe's gaze in the circus, seems to attest to the accuracy of the theory, at least re situational judgment and self-handling and stance (he's being very junior squishy smiley inside, re his gf)

again: nice work, there's a lot of "hall of mirrors" stuff art work here, which is the intelligence world philby and angleton created

xp hare is pish incarnate

mark s, Thursday, 8 September 2011 13:22 (nine years ago) link

not that i saw this particular manifestation

mark s, Thursday, 8 September 2011 13:22 (nine years ago) link

that thread pretty much sums up my reaction except not enough explicit analysis of Hare's kinda painful longing for women half his age. i can relate to that, but i wouldn't write a bad 90 minute spy opera for the Beeb just to get it out of my system

the Dorothy Squires of mean-spirited moaning and cynicism (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 8 September 2011 13:22 (nine years ago) link

they shd've cast James Bolam in the Nighy role and pitched it as a new Beiderbecke Affair sequel

the Dorothy Squires of mean-spirited moaning and cynicism (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 8 September 2011 13:24 (nine years ago) link

i can only watch nighy when he's covered in wet CGI tentacles: and plus pirates of the caribbean iii is a better takedown of blairite geopolitics than anything hare has ever written or will

mark s, Thursday, 8 September 2011 13:28 (nine years ago) link

hare is pish incarnate

4-4-2 or 4-2-4 or whatever it was, remember that one?

Euripides Trousers (Tom D.), Thursday, 8 September 2011 13:31 (nine years ago) link

D. Hare is a SIR?!??! How? When? Was it Blair that did it?

Euripides Trousers (Tom D.), Thursday, 8 September 2011 13:32 (nine years ago) link

i thought he'd refused!! oh well

thomp, Thursday, 8 September 2011 13:34 (nine years ago) link

knighted in 1998 apparently, must've fallen out over the absence of a life peerage afterwards

the Paul Squires of mean-spirited moaning and cynicism (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 8 September 2011 13:34 (nine years ago) link

nothing says "thorn in the side of the Establishment" like a gong, tho

the Paul Squires of mean-spirited moaning and cynicism (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 8 September 2011 13:34 (nine years ago) link

i thought about two-fifths of 'page eight' was pretty good tbh

thomp, Thursday, 8 September 2011 13:36 (nine years ago) link

kim philby kbe kgb

mark s, Thursday, 8 September 2011 13:38 (nine years ago) link

kim wasn't going for the "thorn in the side of the Establishment" look during his working life, tbf

the Paul Squires of mean-spirited moaning and cynicism (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 8 September 2011 13:39 (nine years ago) link

kim's gong was a king zog-related OBE apparently -- also he was named for the kipling character, in a novel which is entirely about ambiguity of cultural identity

one of the oddities of jlc's approach is that you never actually learn about ANYTHING concrete a network achieved in the real political world: i realise there's a fiction-reality problem here, re claims he can make and maintain plausibility, but the effect is to keep the entire back-and-forth hermetic, as if actual real-world politics is left entirely untouched by anything anyone here, karla, control, MOLEMAN, smiley, has ever done...

which to be honest i believe it was: it's like advertising, you have to do because everyone else does it, but its net effect is zero

mark s, Thursday, 8 September 2011 13:59 (nine years ago) link

well in that intro above he says that the service shd've been dismantled after Philby, a view he sort of expresses in the Smiley books too iirc, so maybe le Carre agrees with that

the Paul Squires of mean-spirited moaning and cynicism (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 8 September 2011 14:01 (nine years ago) link

also i guess it's difficult for anybody now to plausibly argue that the Russians wd've rolled the tanks into West Germany if not for our intelligence agencies

the Paul Squires of mean-spirited moaning and cynicism (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 8 September 2011 14:02 (nine years ago) link

i was surprised by that actually: i seem to recall him saying something along the lines of "you can take the moral temperature of a country by reference to its intelligence services", and this does seem to be more or less what smiley believes -- but connie certainly says something more along those lines, that this is all an absurd post-imperial indulgence, the little boys with their little toys (she loves her boys and she loves the game but she has no deeper moral view of it)

his view may well have evolved a little though, over the ensuing 35 years!

mark s, Thursday, 8 September 2011 14:06 (nine years ago) link

haha one of the suspects -- will try and keep hans moleman's REAL NAME redacted for ned

Hah, no need to keep it hidden from me -- I reread the book and rewatched the series last month -- but given there are people on the thread who might not have done and will be coming into the movie cold (as it were)...

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 8 September 2011 14:11 (nine years ago) link

it was really easy to guess the mole in the TV show because (vague spoilers) there are only four suspects and one of them is too unsympathetic and two of them are too peripheral.

in the show at least the moral-temperature line doesn't seem to imply that the intelligence service is super vital to a country, just that it's a reliable expression of its character.

the-dream in the witch house (difficult listening hour), Thursday, 8 September 2011 14:24 (nine years ago) link

i read harlot's ghost too -- probably mailer's best novel and yeah seems to have a similar approach to finding out something about a country by analyzing the thoughts/fears/dreams of its secret service.

the-dream in the witch house (difficult listening hour), Thursday, 8 September 2011 14:26 (nine years ago) link

the idea of a secret service as a nation's -- or that nation's ruling class's -- dreams of itself is great, i think: and jlc intermittently gets this on the nose -- but (like hare) he's totally bamboozled by thatcherism and murdoch and america and "the 60s" (all connected without going the full carmody), and his dream is set (in his ifction) like ten years after its (irl) sell-by-date

smiley's people -- which is in most ways way more of a fantasia -- actually grips this better, because its central characters are actual-real baltic exiles, so "isolates trapped in the amber of loss" is always going to be the Real they're battling

mark s, Thursday, 8 September 2011 15:04 (nine years ago) link

the full carmody

better man than me wd have a field day with Photoshop here

the Paul Squires of mean-spirited moaning and cynicism (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 8 September 2011 15:05 (nine years ago) link

"its central characters are actual-real baltic exiles" -- also they're dead mostly! key to a good handling of yr sell-by-date :\

mark s, Thursday, 8 September 2011 15:32 (nine years ago) link

xpost Harlot's Ghost is simultaneously a terrific book and deeply unsatisfying - and for the same reason. He presents spying as, one presumes, it must be - where only a little of the operation is ever known. It makes it feel realistic, but because you only ever get bits of plot you long for a bit more flesh to make sense of it all.

Best US spy novel I've read was Robert Littell's The Company, a fantastic, panoramic sweep over the empire of James Jesus Angleton - Philby and all. Has all Le Carre's detail, but with added paranoia in the form of Angleton, and nice interaction between fact and fiction. Some of Charles McCarry's novels are very good on the absurdity and unintended consequences of spying.

Trudi Styler, the Creator (ithappens), Thursday, 8 September 2011 16:42 (nine years ago) link

just finished the second guillam-in-the-circus section, where he gets called to account for self before the FOE ARRAYED IN PLAIN VIEW -- this is even better than the first one, because it's all about guillam keeping a bead on what he isn't meant to know

i'm not a huge fan of guillam-the-character, obsessing abt his flute-playing hippie gf

yes 100%. also this scene explains alleline -- the tv show iirc sort of misses alleline and bland. they just aren't much in it. but the cellist gf is worse than ann and they were right to drop it from the show.

ain't no such thing as halfway zvooks (history mayne), Thursday, 8 September 2011 18:07 (nine years ago) link

that same "hippie/artist girlfriend" type turns up in a perfect spy

max, Thursday, 8 September 2011 18:10 (nine years ago) link

haha my very dim memory of my response to "perfect spy" is thinking fuck this you dick this isn't a thing: but i don't at all recall the thing i was abreacting so aggressively against

mark s, Thursday, 8 September 2011 21:59 (nine years ago) link

also haha at history mayne translating "flute-playing hippie gf" as "cellist"!!! d00d yr exes are showing

mark s, Thursday, 8 September 2011 22:01 (nine years ago) link

it has a couple redeeming moments, but i have no idea what phillip roth was thinking

miniseries is pretty cruddy too

max, Thursday, 8 September 2011 22:01 (nine years ago) link

the best bits are everyone scrambling to find magnus after he's disappeared

the really extended le carre memoir is rather less engaging, at least until magnus gets to eastern europe, and even then

max, Thursday, 8 September 2011 22:03 (nine years ago) link

i watched the tinker tailor miniseries over last night and this afternoon. really enjoyed it, exactly my kind of spy fare, nice and slow too. obviously i might have waited and gone to the cinema to watch the new adaptation in a week, but i have a feeling that i'll probably enjoy it less if it's a bit more glamorous or what have you, which won't be hard.

you've got male (jim in glasgow), Thursday, 8 September 2011 22:21 (nine years ago) link

After rewatching the original I can't imagine it being improved on, but I'll see it for the new cast. Will see the BBC Perfect Spy as well but like others I found the book really forgettable.

I don't know if something like Smiley's can be made now, detective story plodding along at amiable old man's pace.

'Connie's for the shredder George. The leech tries to fool me.'

Brakhage, Friday, 9 September 2011 03:29 (nine years ago) link

ok, quite a chunk to roll out here: runnng order of larger sections is tarr, karla, sam collins, max, jerry westerby, haydon recruits prideaux

the reinterrogation of rikki tarr and smiley's tale to guillam about his one meet with karla are the book's plateau of moral-highgrounding for smiley: there's a small element of plot advancement and backstory infill but they're mainly given over to smiley's technique as an interrogator, at his best now in the approaching evening of his life, and not at his best trying unsuccessfully long ago to persuade karla to save his skin and defect -- key to both, his success with tarr and his failure with karla, is smiley's kindness and humanity (implication: our foes are ideologues and fanatics and this is the flaw that will end them) (a prayer more than a fact, you might say: certainly not immediately relevant to what actually ended the USSR, though this hadn't yet happened in 1974 and jlc was hardly alone in not seeing it coming)

(and yes, it's true that tarr gets thumped some more -- morality is messy! -- and also true that wily smiley is more approving of tarr's canny self-interest and truth-witholding than callow guillam)

then there's a bit with little bill roach having nightmares and being ill ftb the divorce-bogey is a-comin for jim and a section where smiley and lacon meets the minister (which is irredeemably borng necessary tale-business and i have to clap my jaw not to skip: it's extremely short so jlc feels the same, obv)

collins/max/westerby: again, minor elements of plot advancement and backstory infill in all three -- basically smiley seeks them out and quizzes them, the first two as per info discovered in his research -- but the real point of the three encounters is moral colour, i'd say... to give a live sense, as supplied by outsiders to the story, of the chaotic feel inside the circus during control's last project (collins); of the feel of prideaux's operation, max (a czech DP) being with him for the early, less troubled reaches; and, most likeably (jlc likes alkies and writes them pretty well), the feel in the world immediately beyond and outside the circus at the crucial time (westerby is a jobbing sports journo who supplies the service with information he happens on, less an agent than a sympathetic conduit)

you very much feel with all three that they're present in this story for the one scene, to tell their tale and supply their colour-perspective and depart our necessary attention.
collins and westerby are arguably the better characters, certainy more memorable, if not especially deep -- max is a bit exile-by-numbers (there's an incredibly similar character in smiley's people whose name i forget: the max in smiley's people being smiley himself!), tho his role is largely to impress on the reader how a non-communist czech might feel about all this stupidity (=very pissed off); westerby of course also goes on to be somewhat rebooted in (and as) the "honourable schoolboy", which if i recall accurately wears the character beyond thin in a context jlc isn't well-suited to portray (post-colonial hongkong and south east asia in the late stages of the vietnam war) -- collins is also brought back, for smiley's people, in a faintly demeaning role

and then there's the trip back to old documents, and a reread of the young hayden introducing the young prideaux to the service: interesting little bit of spite and uncharacterstic semi-virtuoso tradecraft on jlc's part -- the young hayden writes (i) like a posturing fey student, and more ambitiously (ii) like a clever young man very infected by kipling's sense of rhythm and irony and pseudo-cynical masked self-certainty. The kiplingism is good -- pertinent bcz philby was named for kipling's kim, and culturally smart, bcz only a rightwing student or someone flirting with or pretending to be same would still be being kipling-esque as a pose in 1937-38. The primary plot takeaway is the hayden-prideaux relationship: which remains essentially masked.

Seems to me by the end of the collins section, one of the main suspects has begun to scream out at the reader. But it's very hard indeed at this late stage to reconstruct virgin-reader status.

mark s, Friday, 9 September 2011 10:30 (nine years ago) link

^^^spite bcz this is the first time we see hayden clear -- ie not through a haze of hero worship and/or hurt fury -- and there's no way he pulls either trick on the reader, with the prose we get to read; except you can't help also thinking "no fair, d00d was still a student! hope no one ever judges ME on stuff i wrote as a student ect ect"

also there's a nice little sketch of the boho-bolshevik student party hayden and prideaux, lifted wholesale as far as i can tell from a similar one in dorothy sayers' strong poison (i'll look this up)

mark s, Friday, 9 September 2011 10:44 (nine years ago) link

(ok it's less like the sayers than i remember -- the actual phrase i thought he'd lifted was :"a wildly proletarian coffee was served, to the accompaniment of a dreadfully democratic bun" <-- i'm certain this is from sayers somewhere, it's very wimsey-ish, but it's not in this particular scene)

(and again, the idea that it's hayden doing the lifting is astute: sayers a very popular novelist in the 30s)

mark s, Friday, 9 September 2011 11:43 (nine years ago) link

The kiplingism is good -- pertinent bcz philby was named for kipling's kim, and culturally smart, bcz only a rightwing student or someone flirting with or pretending to be same would still be being kipling-esque as a pose in 1937-38. The primary plot takeaway is the hayden-prideaux relationship: which remains essentially masked.

ah that's it: lawrence of arabia. they more than once compare haydon to lawrence. philby's pater was, if i recall correctly, very much an irl lawrentian figure.

a hurrrr hurrrr (history mayne), Friday, 9 September 2011 12:45 (nine years ago) link

st john philby was an empire dude who became militantly anti-brit and pro-arab, yes (possibly initially in response to the partition of mesopotamia etc after WW1): think he was more desk-bound than lawrence, tho (but who wasn't?)

mark s, Friday, 9 September 2011 13:07 (nine years ago) link

i thought lawrence liked a bit of desk-binding himself nudge nudge

the Paul Squires of mean-spirited moaning and cynicism (Noodle Vague), Friday, 9 September 2011 13:09 (nine years ago) link

ok, u guys are way too into this. they're spies, fuck em.

incredibly middlebrow (Dr Morbius), Friday, 9 September 2011 14:00 (nine years ago) link

i read spy who came in from the cold, and next up i will read ttss and smiley's people. am i making a sequencing error here?

caek, Friday, 9 September 2011 14:11 (nine years ago) link

smiley is in 'honourable schoolboy' between TTSS and smiley's people. otherwise you're good i think? he's not much in 'looking-glass war', but can't remember where that goes.

a hurrrr hurrrr (history mayne), Friday, 9 September 2011 14:12 (nine years ago) link

lgw is either before or after SwciftC -- set much earlier than TTSS

he's also in a weird prep school whodunnit, a murder of quality, which i really don't recommend, unless the thursgood passages are your FAVOURITE BIT in ttss

mark s, Friday, 9 September 2011 14:16 (nine years ago) link

re Richard Burton, let's just say he was in more good movies than Samuel L Jackson.

incredibly middlebrow (Dr Morbius), Friday, 9 September 2011 14:16 (nine years ago) link

they seem to stand mostly alone and i'm not bothered about the canon. i just don't want to make some crashing error that ruins a future book.

caek, Friday, 9 September 2011 14:17 (nine years ago) link

LGW is good but kinda boring so theres no real reason to read it if youre just doing greatest hits

max, Friday, 9 September 2011 14:19 (nine years ago) link

and yeah you should read honorable schoolboy after ttss, even tho its the temple of doom of the karla trilogy

max, Friday, 9 September 2011 14:20 (nine years ago) link

ie, it's the best?

incredibly middlebrow (Dr Morbius), Friday, 9 September 2011 14:23 (nine years ago) link

Well, how are you with drunks wandering around Southeast Asia?

Ned Raggett, Friday, 9 September 2011 14:25 (nine years ago) link

have we ever done an indiana jones poll

max, Friday, 9 September 2011 14:25 (nine years ago) link

i should read honourable schoolboy before smiley's people? (yes, i am just doing greatest hits)

caek, Friday, 9 September 2011 14:27 (nine years ago) link

xpost -- Yup:

Rank the Indiana Jones Canon

Ned Raggett, Friday, 9 September 2011 14:27 (nine years ago) link

yes, and it was wrong

incredibly middlebrow (Dr Morbius), Friday, 9 September 2011 14:27 (nine years ago) link

so wrong, lao che

you've got male (jim in glasgow), Friday, 9 September 2011 14:29 (nine years ago) link

i should read honourable schoolboy before smiley's people? (yes, i am just doing greatest hits)

― caek, Friday, September 9, 2011 10:27 AM (1 minute ago) Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

yeah, its the direct sequel to ttss, and i think it sets the stage for smileys people, which is much better

max, Friday, 9 September 2011 14:29 (nine years ago) link

curses, just submitted the amazon order. thanks tho.

caek, Friday, 9 September 2011 14:35 (nine years ago) link

i don't think very highly of Honourable Schoolboy but it's an entertaining enough read (mostly) and belongs in the trilogy.

the Paul Squires of mean-spirited moaning and cynicism (Noodle Vague), Friday, 9 September 2011 15:06 (nine years ago) link

i'll say more on the prideaux debrief in a bit -- think i want to reread it, as it's point where backstory and current narrative finally get in step with one another -- but here's a note on jlc's tradecraft as regards location (mise en scene theory/pathetic fallacy alert)

the various tale-relating conflabs smiley has had have been in very different places -- some directly emanating from the person being quizzed, like connie's jericho flat or the casino sam collins now works at -- but in almost all he's been in effect the authority figure: the actual interrogator for tarr, callow guillam's guru when it's the karla backstory, the returned agent with ministerial backing... and the places do their work amplifying the way this inflects, from tarr's cramped hotel room (where he's more or less a prisoner for the time being) through to the curryhouse where he gently pumps jerry w (where in a sense they're equals -- smiley gives very little away -- and it's really only westerby's puppyish semi-lachrymose need for approval that undergirds the power relationship

but with prideaux, the setting is not a built room, public or private, furnished or functional-anonymous, but the wild hilly outdoors of the south west: as -- in effect -- demanded by prideaux; and smiley has no power he can really seriously bring to bear... prideaux could basically snap his neck with a single blow and hide smiley's body and who'd really be any the wiser?

jlc is good at compact and evocative descriptions of places: his london streets are very often real streets he's accurately portraying, and i imagine his countrysides are too (it's not a part of the UK i know); but he's also good at letting the sense of the space be a felt manifestation of the encounter -- the strength of the main part of the smiley-prideaux scene is that it's the first (and last) point in the book where things feel almost open-ended, so that you judge that prideaux chooses to spill

mark s, Friday, 9 September 2011 16:02 (nine years ago) link

adding: it's not just that everyone's equal outdoors -- whereas indoors is always indoors somewhere, a building structure unavoidably embedded in an extant power structure -- but that prideaux the sporty man of action is more than smiley's equal here, and both know it, and placing himself here is the gesture of total vulnerability by which smiley elicits prideaux's trust

mark s, Friday, 9 September 2011 16:08 (nine years ago) link

going to watch smiley's people tonight. i love the internet!

you've got male (jim in glasgow), Friday, 9 September 2011 16:13 (nine years ago) link

morbs i lost my giant awesome comp of kael capsule reviews can you send me yours now that you've internalized it

the-dream in the witch house (difficult listening hour), Friday, 9 September 2011 16:16 (nine years ago) link

esterhase's italian schtick in the smiley's people adaptation is hilariously bad.

you've got male (jim in glasgow), Friday, 9 September 2011 23:03 (nine years ago) link

haha i love toby, he's easily my favourite character: his whole thing is "fluent in many languages, speaks none of them correctly"

mark s, Friday, 9 September 2011 23:05 (nine years ago) link

smiley in the blau diamant, looool.

you've got male (jim in glasgow), Friday, 9 September 2011 23:44 (nine years ago) link

this is actually hilarious, toby keeps up with the faux italian voice the whole time. and everyone pronounces his name differently to the way they did in tinker tailor.

you've got male (jim in glasgow), Saturday, 10 September 2011 01:23 (nine years ago) link

well faux hungarian i suppose. it's only from a few years after the original series.

you've got male (jim in glasgow), Saturday, 10 September 2011 01:41 (nine years ago) link

Aye, the guy plays it Hungarian in SP, while he didn't in TTSS. I explained this away to myself by saying that he was putting on the plummy RP while at the top of the circus, bur went back to his natural inflection after the fall.

In truth though, all the actors who put on accents seem to do a particularly rotten job of it.

scotstvo, Saturday, 10 September 2011 07:17 (nine years ago) link

that's because they've been trained by toby!

mark s, Saturday, 10 September 2011 09:34 (nine years ago) link

anyway, the prideaux hilltop debrief:

it comes in three sections, first the circus where control laid out the operation, last the various cells where, operation blown up in everyone's face, hajek aka ellis aka prideaux tried to screen as much/many as possible for as long as possible, before he was (inevitably) broken; and in the middle, one of the climactic passages in a book full of wary spies moving through dangerous places: a seemingly utterly english agent rendering himself effectively invisible in czech streets stiff with watchers who know he's there

once again the sense of place is ever-present: jlc's tradecraft is, in effect, to heighten a character's watchfulness by a kind of transferred descriptionalism -- as if his own gift for conjuring up locale swiftly and effectively is a manifestation of the character's heightened observational level... to be told you're a "watcher" is a compliment of the highest order, so naturally jlc allows the reader to get to share this quality, or to feel they're sharing it

prideaux is described, physically, as "crooked" and even "fanged" -- as a jaggedly palpable, noisy presence in the world -- yet (like smiley) his deep gift is to become invisible in plain sight; invisible, moreover, to his professional peers/foes when they're most expecting it... this middle passage of his tale is a guide to this, a guide to the superb level of detailed observation and anticipation it requires... and, also i think, to underscore that the core being of this seemingly brusque military sporty type is an uttertly gentle quietness: watchfulness is the centre of his being (ditto smiley; ditto smiley's little child phantom bill roach)

there's a weird passage early on, put in the mouth of lacon and thus easily overlooked as point-missing blather: lacon raises the notion that "method is morality" and then projects onto smiley the assumption that smiley can't and won't accept this idea.

well, for starters it's an ambiguous formation: and it's easy to just assume -- this is lacon speaking, for one thing -- that's merely the situational ethos of the high-end civil service ("i do my job to the best of my ability, to aid my political masters, through every change of government: hence even if they're utterly in the wrong, i can be in the right")

but it might also mean "your morality emerges from the method you choose" (as contrast smiley's interrogation technique from the evil soviet one: smiley deploys far less thumping, if not none, and no electronic probes, hence is "better", as far as moralists are concerned)

and there's a third meaning, much subtler and in a sense subversive, i think, of the book's stated sense of good and evil (which does function as an argument between these first two readings): this is the notion that to be true to your method (your technique, your skill, your craft, the still zen of your art blah blah) is to be true to the world

and in this central passage -- when prideaux is being the best street agent in the book so far -- he is truer to the world than any of the botched or confused reasons why his operation has been set in place (by control, or though the deceived control by the mole, or by the clashing forces of world history, or what have you: every other level is botch, compared to prideaux in the middle passage of Operation Testify, its failure notwithstanding)

the point is, i don't think jlc dares put his trust in this reading: whether this is cause or consequence, he's just not that strong a writer -- he's a writer with strengths, and with flaws, and the flaws always muscle back in (one of his strengths, though, is that he can often deploy his flaws as masks; just as a good spy -- or more to the point a good thriller writer -- must be able to)

[i've actually finished -- the sections following this one are "unputdownable", his sense of pace and momentum at its best -- but i'll try and pace my blogging in haha homage]

mark s, Saturday, 10 September 2011 10:24 (nine years ago) link

Just to go back up to the points of it being a 'mini-' series as in I almost can't see that it would be pulled off these days -- imagine there would be certain pressures to make it far more of a prelude to 'Smiley's People' -- which I hate, never liked that Karla was caught, even if it never felt like a 'victory' -- and if it was to be made in five years time there would be a pressure to lenghten it to 10-12 eps and make it more 'wirey' somehow and lenghten the slow pacing (that's what a couple of people said about The hour which I've not seen).

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 10 September 2011 10:43 (nine years ago) link

julio yr a MODERNIST, you can't judge a book by whether its ending coincides with yr sense of just deserts! the book is a fantasia, like "hannibal", and its strengths (virtuoso set-pieces) and weaknesses (formless showcase as structure) derive from this i think

(or do you mean the TV series?) (which weirdly i only ever saw once -- i actually didn't realise it had been made till last year! -- and was distinctly disappointed by: possibly because the action requires it be filmed outdoors in various pretty euro-cities, so it comes across as "on the buses 2: a boulogne awayday") <-- unfair and will watch again

mark s, Saturday, 10 September 2011 11:11 (nine years ago) link

The TV series -- and TV is a v MODERNIST thing, of course.

I haven't read the book.

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 10 September 2011 11:13 (nine years ago) link

ps "formless" is entirely the wrong word there: what i mean is that the sequence of setpieces determines the structure, which takes the form of a showcase of technical virtues

b-but tv's modernism is a product of any given show's need to fit the overall demands of a network's programming needs, whether these be commercial or constitutional or even merely capricious! <-- controversial (but true)

mark s, Saturday, 10 September 2011 11:17 (nine years ago) link

also: tv's modernism is a quality of tv AS A WHOLE, not any little arty show stuffed into its maw

mark s, Saturday, 10 September 2011 11:18 (nine years ago) link

And 'Smiley's People' was also made into the TV mini-series.

Never got round to a jlc book as he has come across as faintly ridiculous. I think he probably based Smiley on himself if he didn't get out of it by writing bestsellers. 'it' = one of these former Mi6 fellas who waste away in their post central London bunkers, drink in hand, shutting every one out waiting for the day when they won't wake up. xxp = so TV is a bit like minimalism (the Philip Glass sort ;-))

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 10 September 2011 11:20 (nine years ago) link

no: p glass minimalism is a little arty show stuffed into music's maw

mark s, Saturday, 10 September 2011 11:26 (nine years ago) link

b-but tv's modernism is a product of any given show's need to fit the overall demands of a network's programming needs, whether these be commercial or constitutional or even merely capricious! <-- controversial (but true)

If I read this right then Smiley's people had to happen. I guess bad tv has to happen somehow.

xyzzzz__, Saturday, 10 September 2011 11:40 (nine years ago) link

I'm now reading the book, gentlemen. Thanks for the gentle shoving.

Anakin Ska Walker (AKA Skarth Vader) (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 10 September 2011 11:47 (nine years ago) link

TV is a collage form
modernism is a collage form (hence etc)

the quality (or lack of it) of a given show considered in and of itself (including the "modernism" of a TV show if/when this applies, which isn't often but isn't never), which is to say any given element of the collage considered in and of itself, isn't a direct factor in the quality of the given collage form as a whole -- it depends how the collage element is being deployed (or "deployed", since this isn't an auteured decision really)

^^^think this mostly belongs on some other thread actually (which i then won't contribute to haha)

my guess is that jlc needed to write SP for reasons contained in TTSS: and that the TV "needed" to make SP-for-TV because of the success they had with TTSS-for-TV (ie among other things that it improves on the book); but that SP-for-TV -- while it tries to treat the new book exactly the way the earlier team treated the old book -- not only don't improve on the book, they massively amplify its weaknesses (which is because SP is a very different kind of book, despite superficial similarities, like same characters and same storyline)

(but will have to reread and rewatch to verify this guess)

mark s, Saturday, 10 September 2011 11:53 (nine years ago) link

back to liveblogging and SERIOUS SPOILERS FROM HERE ON IN, DO NOT READ IF YOU HATE THE ENDING GIVEN AWAY

as noted, the prideaux sections sees the backstory and the current story slide into consonant lock-step, which means that everything that follows derives its momentum from (i) waiting for that actual whodunnit reveal, and (ii) events and activity caused by the consonance of backstory and current story, and what it impels people to scurry about doing

so far so ho-hum, this is a spy thriller with a whodunnit theme -- the value if you like of what remains of the story is how (ii) can screw around with (i), to make it more than routine poiroteesque grandstanding, the brilliant detective explaining how everything fits and pointing the quiveringly melodramatic finger at hans redacted moleman

jlc does this very neatly, by moving the "explanation of how everything fits" early, to scare a suspect he appears already to have cleared into switching sides: i have to say despite close rereading i don't quite get why this particular suspect has been cleared, mind you -- which i think is a mark of jlc's own very cunning knot, whereby EVEN THOUGH SMILEY EXPLAINS HOW EVERYTHING FITS TOGETHER it doesn't make it much easier to go back and intricately re-examine any given plot point from the new perspective... because of course it's always a double-perspective, a hall-of-mirrors everything-pulled-inside-out-perspective, where such-and-such a cover-story as supplied by yr bosses in london (or moscow) is actually the REAL story

anyway, this particular scene features toby, who as i say is easily my favourite character: and one of the things i love is how smoothly he adjusts to this catastrophic new understanding, and switches sides: smiley's mastery of the story in more detail than most readers quite grasp -- meaning that we cede smiley and jlc an element of trust as to the precision, which we feel more than we apprehend -- is enough to turn toby; and -- even tho he's kind of victim of the scene, toby is actually granted a lot of professional respect, and not just for sleight-of-hand... it goes without saying that he's a mastercraftsman of lamplighting, babysitting, pavement artistry etc etc, whichever side he's being run by, or duped by. (Except not in fact "without saying": bcz it's relentlessly acknowledged and stressed.)

There's a term used in Smiley's People -- by toby descriptively of smiley's tactics after a certain point -- which it claims is untranslateable, and then translates faintly dodgily. It's from German military phraseology: flucht nach vorn -- and literally means "flight to the front", but in military context means something more like "escape via the Front", ie a defence against attack that consists itself of unexpected attack. But it also has more than a smidge of "leap into the unknown", again as a tactic.

Anyway, that's relevant to this scene -- smiley is getting things going by making his completed theory an engine of events -- but with the proviso (not yet filled in with clarity) that someone/something else is also active in this unknown. We've had as many hints -- just as we have with the actual identity of the mole -- but they're still masked, at least to careless and semi-careful reading. The giveaway is a single word.

mark s, Saturday, 10 September 2011 16:46 (nine years ago) link

loving this liveblog

really couldn't get on w/ 'smiley's people: the tv series', barely watched some of it

karla getting caught felt truer than a bunch of other stuff going on there

the german hippies case in point

a hurrrr hurrrr (history mayne), Saturday, 10 September 2011 17:26 (nine years ago) link

haven't seen Smiley's People since it was first broadcast, remember more or less nothing. Haven't read the book since then, either, and I thought I'd leave it for a while now.

Stories from Hull City, Stories from Hull FC (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 10 September 2011 17:46 (nine years ago) link

i watched it last night with 8 cans of tennents and thought it alright. some of it is a bit hokey, lots of dodgy accents. in fact anyone doing an accent in it is terrible. but the plot itself is maybe a weak point. foiling your greatest nemesis in the easiest way possible, because he's being completely useless and sloppy.

you've got male (jim in glasgow), Saturday, 10 September 2011 17:52 (nine years ago) link

may find it hard to avoid live-blogging SP also, since 'm now going to have to reread it, but i'll put it in its own thread

the german hippies are part of my favourite section of SP-the-book actually: everyone gets hippies wrong on film and on TV, one day i will write a book about why this is

mark s, Saturday, 10 September 2011 17:54 (nine years ago) link

i wonder if it is the same reason as david 'pish incarnate' hare's theory about same

thomp, Saturday, 10 September 2011 18:35 (nine years ago) link

it is identical but mine is better

mark s, Saturday, 10 September 2011 19:02 (nine years ago) link

final tranche of liveblogging! as before SERIOUS SPOILERS FROM HERE ON IN, DO NOT READ IF YOU HATE THE ENDING GIVEN AWAY; also, tl;dr

So now -- at quite a lick -- we pass towards turning the molerunning system against itself to unmasking denouement to aftermath, as the events set running by the coming into consonance of the backstory and the present-times narrative intrude on smiley's intended conclusion

waiting in the safehouse for it all to kick off is good strong anticipatory mood-music -- including a nice turnabout scene where mendel watches the actual circus itself from across the road at cambridge circus (i once spent 20 minutes wandering around there trying to decide which building he can have been watching from, as he needs simultaneously to be able to see the circus itself, including the roofs above and behind the pepperpot tower over new compton street AND the theatre)

the unmasking that follows is a pretty effective portrayal of anti-climax; serious as the implications are, the action itself is borderline farce, powerful men reduced to flapping nobodies, petulant or stunned or totally withdrawn or (in p****'s case) apparently just clueless. except for t***, the secondary suspects -- who turn out just to be dupes -- were never fleshed out beyond cartoon level; b**** especially remains a cipher. And the actual real mole retreats into stoic bored passivity: this above all i suspect shapes the sense of anti-climax; he doesn't act like a villain, or protest innocence; he doesn't act like "himself" as we've watched him throughout the tale, so we're robbed of something, even if it's hardly clear what (perhaps routine poirotism)

smiley debriefs hans redacted moleman and discovers -- more or less nothing: turns out, denuded of the various stages the mole has fashioned for himself, there's nothing at the heart... the final russian doll turns out to be hollow: moleman gives a cliched political speech one day (jlc doesn't even bother giving it all, on the excuse that smiley isn't really listening -- treated as craft and deliberate style decision, you'd have to note that any mid-level brit stalinist on the stump in 1970, when there were still a LOT of them, could have given a less crappy account of the ideals moleman claims to be upholding; we also get to find out that his lovelife is mean and lame; that his paintings are no good any more; that's there's nothing there

(talking about moscow, smiley says that they won't humiliate great britain over this, because it's in their interests to allow their foes to seem worth taking on: so what does this observation say about smiley himself, and the lifefacts beneath the molereveal?) (i'm reasonably sure jlc is aware of this irony of course: indeed that it fits into his whol OH THE HUMANITY litany, which smiley tends to ventriloquise for him)

and then, in the last few pages, the basically horrid and squalid surprise conclusion: when Redacted B redacts Rredacted A: as i said (an age ago upthread) i saw the TV version before i read the book, so this was no kind of shock -- i'm doing my thin best to keep it at least a little spoiler-proofed just in case, because i'm interested in how it comes across to virgin readers (even though we are somewhat in CHRIST ON THE CROSS SPOILERS territory here).

Another very deliberate irony: a key consequence of this conclusion ensures that Redacted B loses moral high ground firmly established (over Smiley et al) as Smiley heard his tale earlier in the book. (The post-it note sentence here having been: "Why did he choose the same order for their names? Smiley wondered.") <-- ans = because they were more of a rigmarole than we at the time supposed; as now at last emerges... final very bitter irony; also final OH THE HUMANITY thumb-on-the-scale if this is an element yr allergic to...

Which it may well be: I don't want to belabour it, but my threefold reading of "method is morality" seems to me finally to hover over the characters we're encouraged at the end to be thinking of, and through: MOLEMAN obv, now forever an enigma; prideaux, broken and betrayed, and back at thursgood's, learning to forget; and smiley himself, also much betrayed (tho honestly ann's behaviour is NOT a parallel with moleman's if yr actually sane)... and of course, since all three are characters jlc has put a lot of time and love (and some hate) into, which is he saying is most him also? He far too obviously hopes smiley; he far too obviously fears moleman. And Prideaux is masked when visible; and most himself when not? Are novelists street agents or desk agents?

(he's a miner's son and the closest to a working-class contributor to the central

mark s, Sunday, 11 September 2011 13:00 (nine years ago) link

oops, i forgot to finish the footnote: as per discussion far far above, suspect SOLDIER is a miner's son who became an academic, and thus the closest to a non-middle-class contributor to the central tale

mark s, Sunday, 11 September 2011 13:02 (nine years ago) link

also forgot this:
HANS REDACTED MOLEMAN UNMASKED "also took it for granted that secret services were the only measure of a nation's political health, the only real expression of its subconscious." <-- actual quote on p306, 11 pages from close

So I was wrong, it's not JLC saying this, and nor is it his oft-times pained and sententious mouthpiece smiley, it's the defeated villain in his rambling foolishness. So does this mean JLC absolutely does NOT think this, and indeed thinks it ridiculous to think this? ah-hum: well that is the conundrum really... how much does JLC see himself in the villain as yearning wish fulfilment ("AT LEAST HE HAS A BELIEF SYSTEM!") and how much does he think the villain's ideology is would-be-ideology is absurd bad-artist self-delusion and no wonder he ends up defeated etc etc.

Of course we can all be right here, since a novel is not a maths problem: it doesn't have an "answer"

mark s, Monday, 12 September 2011 12:12 (nine years ago) link

how much does he think the villain's ideology is would-be-ideology is absurd bad-artist self-delusion and no wonder he ends up defeated etc etc.

well, im pretty sure jlc-the-man isn't a communiss. but i think he probably agrees with gerald about 'the state of britain' today a little. the pigs-in-clover society, sucking up to the US -- that stuff.

all the small zings (history mayne), Monday, 12 September 2011 12:45 (nine years ago) link

the full half-carmody!

mark s, Monday, 12 September 2011 13:00 (nine years ago) link

'a small town in germany' is really hard to fathom, politics-wise. one of the villains, karfeld, is a populist german nationalist politician, but i don't think jlc ever calls him a 'neo-nazi', and there's even some business about him wanting to make an alliance with the SU? in a totally non-communist way. many of his supporters are young people, though, and they don't seem to be particularly nazi neither. wonder if they relate to the hippies in 'smiley's people'.

all the small zings (history mayne), Monday, 12 September 2011 13:11 (nine years ago) link

tbf i don't think this is about politics-as-grand-narrative-ideology, it's about national and individual praxis: which the individuals and nations grab at labels for, of course, but what interests and concerns him is how people treat other people, not so much how they tribalise this <-- so far so wishywashy liberal maybe, hence his constant flagellation that he can't lay hold of an aggregate formulation, and conflcted envy of those who can

gerald's self-disclosure at the close is intentionally a chaotic unself-aware adolescent mess: even if gerald would describe himself as a marxist or whatever, JLC doesn't allow him the dignity of passing the description on to the reader...

mark s, Monday, 12 September 2011 13:48 (nine years ago) link

found this quite interesting http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/sep/11/jacqueline-durran-tinker-tailor-suits

caek, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 14:28 (nine years ago) link

lol/sigh @ sartorial spoilers

Once Were Moderators (DG), Tuesday, 13 September 2011 14:32 (nine years ago) link

ha yes so sad to learn that ricky will wear a REDACTED jacket

caek, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 14:44 (nine years ago) link

moleskin jacket

mark s, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 14:46 (nine years ago) link

been watching the tv version and i wonder if it doesn't really nail the most ingenious thing about the plot, which is

- they don't want tarr to come back and spill the beans, not bc they're in on the plot but bc the reality is also their 'cover story'

all the small zings (history mayne), Tuesday, 13 September 2011 14:49 (nine years ago) link

wait who is "they" in that sentence?

caek, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 14:50 (nine years ago) link

You know, them.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 14:51 (nine years ago) link

anyway i love love love the tv show but am still at maximum psychage for this weekend

they = three of them and alleline

all the small zings (history mayne), Tuesday, 13 September 2011 14:51 (nine years ago) link

well two of them and alleline, one of them IS actually in on the plot (unless it's alleline)

but yes, the ones not in on it think tarr's information will spills the beans in moscow central

mark s, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 14:57 (nine years ago) link

and to be honest despite having read and reread the book a trillion times i only "understand" this fact, i don't really "get it": it makes my head sing

mark s, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 14:58 (nine years ago) link

one of them IS actually in on the plot (unless it's alleline) or ALL OF THEM

mark s, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 14:59 (nine years ago) link

have any of the brits read malcolm gladwell's essay on spies/intelligence?

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2010/05/10/100510crat_atlarge_gladwell

im generally not a gladwell fan but its an interesting piece that gets at some of what le carre does in TTSS and APS

max, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:01 (nine years ago) link

i did not realise btw that paul greengrass cowrote spycatcher

caek, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:03 (nine years ago) link

via

http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/55264000/jpg/_55264721_28-32.jpg
"A book called Spycatcher written by the former Assistant Director of MI5 Peter Wright, reveals intelligence secrets and is banned in the UK. Entrepreneurs get a ticket to Calais, a boxful of books and a pitch in the street."

caek, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:04 (nine years ago) link

Saw the film this morning. Very good in parts. Inevitably loses much of the book's essence - the revealing of the story through lengthy conversations disappears, of course. What's slightly irritating is that while this is fine when you go to, say, Ricki Tarr in Istanbul actually being in Istanbul, it's a bit jarring when Smiley says something, he gets a reply, and you (and he) are then left to infer the rest of it all ...

Also, opening scene in Budapest has passers by going into the metro. They are black. Does anyone know if Budapest had a sizable black population in 1973? It stuck me as a bit unlikely. And, as with all films set in the early 70s, the wigs are terrible.

Trudi Styler, the Creator (ithappens), Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:05 (nine years ago) link

http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/135000/images/_139152_peter_wright300.jpg

p.wright's tradecraft^^^ would give toby esterhase the horrors

mark s, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:06 (nine years ago) link

has anyone actually read spycatcher? it's out of print afaict

caek, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:06 (nine years ago) link

it's on amazon for a penny (well, +p&p heh heh)

Once Were Moderators (DG), Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:13 (nine years ago) link

Peter Wright was mad, of course. Part of the Anglo wing that supported James Jesus Angleton's paranoid tendency in the CIA.

Trudi Styler, the Creator (ithappens), Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:14 (nine years ago) link

Wow, Chapman Pincher is still alive (he's 97) and still publishing (as of 2009)!

mark s, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:18 (nine years ago) link

haha. i have a book by him. for a project like. unread. a long-fermenting project.

all the small zings (history mayne), Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:19 (nine years ago) link

"suspected Harold Wilson of having been a Soviet agent"

wtf. what's the story there?

caek, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:23 (nine years ago) link

caek your local bookshop will probably give you a copy of spycatcher for free if you inquire pleasantly

thomp, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:24 (nine years ago) link

caek, the story is that people who work for intelligence are many of them MASSIVE IDIOTS.

mark s, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:28 (nine years ago) link

Nothing is more dispiriting hilarious than the gap between Le Carre's portrayal of the spy world, as full of tormented craftsmen of watchful intelligence (in all senses) and the actual oafish twerps and lunies that inhabit the service: how far distant do you have to be from common sense, the real world, actual history as it actually unfolded and etc to remain committed to the belief that Wilson was in the pay of the Soviets.

mark s, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:30 (nine years ago) link

isn't that story backwards? i thought it was the case that wilson was convinced of a vastm subterraneanm & largely nonexistant mi5 conspiracy to discredit him

thomp, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:30 (nine years ago) link

ctrl-h 'm' ','

thomp, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:31 (nine years ago) link

people like bron waugh not entirely ironically kept that rumour going

all the small zings (history mayne), Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:31 (nine years ago) link

xxp ha yes it sounds pretty much delusional cranky stuff rather than "truth is stranger than fiction" stuff

unfortunately my local bookshops all sell books in german but i will find it somewhere.

caek, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:32 (nine years ago) link

max ty for the nyer link

caek, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:34 (nine years ago) link

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Wilson_conspiracy_theories

got his own wiki category

Once Were Moderators (DG), Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:34 (nine years ago) link

The vastness was mistaken, it was a small aggressive faction, and it was MI6 not MI5, but the fact of it was real. There's a pretty good book about it all by Robin Ramsey and Stephen Dorril called Smear!, also long out of print. Good source also for the general cluelessness of the intelligence services in relation to Northern Ireland in the late 60s and early 70s.

mark s, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:34 (nine years ago) link

great sub head

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jul/01/ian-jack-chapman-pincher-fleet-street

caek, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:35 (nine years ago) link

it's from e p thompson, the urinal line

all the small zings (history mayne), Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:36 (nine years ago) link

oh he says that

all the small zings (history mayne), Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:37 (nine years ago) link

On the madness of a real spy, this is a good read by a good journalist:
http://www.amazon.com/Cold-Warrior-Angleton-Master-Hunter/dp/0671662732

Trudi Styler, the Creator (ithappens), Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:40 (nine years ago) link

caek i can send a copy if you want? i just found three in the back room + i am pretty sure there is a whole box of them somewhere

thomp, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:43 (nine years ago) link

Much has been written about Harold Wilson and MI5, some of it wildly inaccurate. But as far as I am concerned, the story started with the premature death of Hugh Gaitskell in 1963.

this man is a marvelous bibble.

thomp, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:44 (nine years ago) link

Here's how the Wilson theory came about, from Philip Knightley's LRB review of the Mangold biog of Angleton:

In 1962 Angleton’s office family was joined by Anatoly Golitsyn, a KGB officer who had defected the previous year in Helsinki. The two men quickly formed a professional rapport. Golitsyn, a heavy Ukrainian, had hard-line views about the ruthlessness, single-mindedness and Machiavellian cunning of the KGB, against which the flabby Western intelligence agencies were doomed. These views coincided with those of Angleton and when Golitsyn eventually revealed the KGB’s master conspiracy plan, Angleton was all too ready to believe it.

There were two KGBs, Golitsyn said. The West was doing battle with the external one and thought it was coping. But there was another, deeper KGB which was running a long-term operation to destroy the West. The reasoning of the second KGB went as follows. It was useless to devote resources to detecting and catching Western spies sent against the Soviet Union. The West would simply send more. A much better way was to gain secret control of the West’s major intelligence service, the CIA, by recruiting moles among its officers and by sending false defectors. These false detectors could feed the CIA wrong information about the Soviet Union and the moles could report on how this information was being received. Gradually the CIA’s perception of reality could be distorted to suit Soviet aims and the CIA would, in effect, come under Moscow’s control. Once this happened, all the Western spies in the Soviet Union would be of no use whatsoever. The KGB would be running the intelligence world.

Golitsyn claimed that this operation was already under way and that Western intelligence was riddled with Soviet moles. He was too clever to claim that the limited access he’d had to KGB archives before he defected enabled him to name these traitors, but, he said, if allowed to look at the CIA’s files he would be able to identify suspicious characteristics which would point to possibly guilty men. Angleton was convinced, and over the years, thanks to Angleton’s influence in the Western intelligence community, Golitsyn saw the files of the CIA, Britain’s SIS and M15 and France’s SDECE and DST. It must be said that Golitsyn had some successes in providing clues that helped identify such spies as the Admiralty clerk William John Vassall; Georges Paques, a French officer in Nato; and Hugh Hambleton, a Canadian professor. But although he insisted that there must be moles in the CIA, he never found one. Instead, over the years, his list of suspects in the West became more and more outrageous. They included Harold Wilson, Olaf Palme, Willy Brandt, Armand Hammer, Averell Harriman, Lester Pearson and Henry Kissinger. They also included every Soviet defector who had come after him. These men had been sent, Golitsyn said, to discredit him because the KGB knew how dangerous he was to their master plan.

Trudi Styler, the Creator (ithappens), Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:45 (nine years ago) link

Karla's deployment of Golitsyn was masterly.

mark s, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:46 (nine years ago) link

The vastness was mistaken, it was a small aggressive faction, and it was MI6 not MI5, but the fact of it was real. There's a pretty good book about it all by Robin Ramsey and Stephen Dorril called Smear!

Ramsay/Dorril a funny pair - I called up a stack of Lobster magazine from a library once - odd combination of slightly flakey mind-control cia stuff with super-detailed Clockwork Orange plot tracing, and odd analyses of 70s/80s policy. Wouldn't mind going through them again - & I keep meaning to read books by one or the other of them.

you don't exist in the database (woof), Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:51 (nine years ago) link

oh, just ordered Knightley's The Second Oldest Profession: The Spy as Bureaucrat, Patriot, Fantasist and Whore. Looked like it might be interesting.

you don't exist in the database (woof), Tuesday, 13 September 2011 15:54 (nine years ago) link

one of the Lobster guys used to be Hull-based iirc - never sure how much was brilliant investigative reporting and how much was internal psycho-geography at its furthest out

Chapman Pincher Overdrive (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 13 September 2011 16:17 (nine years ago) link

thomp have messaged you via ilx

caek, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 22:16 (nine years ago) link

Rikki "caek" Tarr has sent a field report and needs debriefing.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 13 September 2011 22:55 (nine years ago) link

uncensored liveblog now posted over at freaky trigger: do not read if you want to remain a molevirgin

mark s, Thursday, 15 September 2011 10:41 (nine years ago) link

the TTSS film would intrigue me more if it was done closer in tone to Burn After Reading

incredibly middlebrow (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 15 September 2011 13:58 (nine years ago) link

following up the "oafish twerps and loonies" angle

incredibly middlebrow (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 15 September 2011 13:59 (nine years ago) link

http://www.popstarsplus.com/images/DonAdamsPicture.jpg

in fact a searing expose^^^

mark s, Thursday, 15 September 2011 14:39 (nine years ago) link

as witness: p.wright's hat at last explained

http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/135000/images/_139152_peter_wright300.jpg http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/135000/images/_139152_peter_wright300.jpg

mark s, Thursday, 15 September 2011 14:41 (nine years ago) link

Meantime:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/sep/15/tinker-tailor-soldier-spy-film-review

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 15 September 2011 17:56 (nine years ago) link

Agree with the Graun's review. Also, the film is very grainy a la Black Swan, which eccentuates the stifling fag-ash greyness of it. Having never read the book nor watched the TV adap, I had no cue about the outcome going in, but I was able to guess the mole purely by the casting.
Liked it though. It captures the 1970s well and without resorting to smother everything in brown, as so often happens.
Tom Hardy's wig deserves a Bafta for Best Supporting character.

Beating up the Ritz (DavidM), Saturday, 17 September 2011 07:32 (nine years ago) link

saw it this afternoon, without having read the book or seen the miniseries - but i think i'd been somehow spoiler'd into knowing who the mole was already? it didn't matter much to my enjoyment, but i did wonder how the subtlety of the film would come across to someone with no foreknowledge.

tom hardy's wig was a marvel and a wonder; the national anthem scene was rather excellent.

civilisation and its discotheques (c sharp major), Saturday, 17 September 2011 21:12 (nine years ago) link

the earlier scenes were for me slightly overshadowed by simon mcburney's nose in sharp profile, which made him seem like a character drawn by a cartoonist.

civilisation and its discotheques (c sharp major), Saturday, 17 September 2011 21:20 (nine years ago) link

the national anthem scene was rather excellent

The Christmas party? That was amazing.

Beating up the Ritz (DavidM), Saturday, 17 September 2011 21:31 (nine years ago) link

that bit of the christmas party - i hope it isn't SPOILERS to say that I rather admired the economy of the use of the christmas party flashback.

civilisation and its discotheques (c sharp major), Saturday, 17 September 2011 21:53 (nine years ago) link

that scene was as deft as the film got, to me; i wasn't bowled over by its economy elsewhere, really, but it was v confident & graceful in plotting the few significant exchanges in that scene

and my soul said you can't go there (schlump), Saturday, 17 September 2011 22:13 (nine years ago) link

wasn't impressed at all :(

best thing about it was the BLOKES in the row in front, who had obviously turned up expecting the new bond film, bellowing WHAT THE FUCK WAS THIS FUCKING SHIT I'M GETTING MY FUCKING MONEY BACK as the credits rolled

Once Were Moderators (DG), Sunday, 18 September 2011 00:01 (nine years ago) link

Agree with the comments re: dinner party as the highlight. It was worth doing (re-arranging to what I guess is a more faithful versh re: chronology) but mostly fell off when I got to comparing certain scenes to the BBC series: Smiley and Connie in the film has some nice comedy tinged w/sadness but I prefer the Beeb's versh in which Smiley dishes out roughly to snap her out of nostalgia for 'her lovely boys'. Weird bcz you could get that kind of perf out of Oldham but he was directed to be more stiff - not sure how the bk wd have it, wouldn't say I care.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 18 September 2011 17:52 (nine years ago) link

Saw it this evening. Thought it was a bit mannered and heavy handed and Gary Oldman's acting self-consciously a performance.

Despite that I quite enjoyed the film because I enjoy watching performances.

The script is awful though.

Bob Six, Sunday, 18 September 2011 19:13 (nine years ago) link

pointless and popular feeling I'm sure and not really a complaint but preferred the telly cast and the v different tone of some sections and characters - particularly tarr and connie. seems a funny thing to say too since the telly one must have been drawn out at least as much as the movie but it did feel to me like it dragged rather more - maybe just means the story better suits a serial to spread the slow pacing which of course is fundamental out a bit. it was always going to be compared to the telly one though. funny that smiley's trusted coterie was made up of two of the modern era's greatest fictional minds: sherlock holmes and trigger. colin firth's zoo enclosure was weird. was relieved we didn't see smiley's nipples during the pond-swimming scenes.

conrad, Monday, 19 September 2011 08:17 (nine years ago) link

i ploughed through the tv series yesterday, it doesn't drag at all even though yes it's just people in rooms - this is because when in those rooms they actually have conversations of substance rather than just exchange two lines and stare out the window as in the film

Once Were Moderators (DG), Monday, 19 September 2011 11:16 (nine years ago) link

Kudos for the quality staring though...

Bob Six, Monday, 19 September 2011 11:28 (nine years ago) link

so is there a reason i can't find this movie anywhere within 50 miles?

talking heads, quiet smith (darraghmac), Monday, 19 September 2011 15:49 (nine years ago) link

it's undercover

Once Were Moderators (DG), Monday, 19 September 2011 15:57 (nine years ago) link

brevity

talking heads, quiet smith (darraghmac), Monday, 19 September 2011 15:59 (nine years ago) link

rumour has it it's using the identity of 'marley & me' so look for that

Once Were Moderators (DG), Monday, 19 September 2011 16:00 (nine years ago) link

:)

^ if you see this man pls notify the authorities

talking heads, quiet smith (darraghmac), Monday, 19 September 2011 16:13 (nine years ago) link

Didn't care for this much. Too compressed (lots of being led by the nose in terms of getting from plot point A to plot point B via dialogue/voiceover) and at the same time too many wasted minutes, e.g the walk of shame at the start. I know this killed two other birds, viz showed us the layout of the Circus and it was something to post the opening credits over but it just looked silly. Would have liked more screen time for Alleline, Bland and especially Esterhase to fill out their characters a bit. Oldman doesn't get an "oh, fuck" moment - see comments upthread about Guinness removing the glasses and putting them back on. So you never quite believe he's anything other than a doormat e.g. the scene where he's putting the Minister straight about Witchcraft just jars.

Enjoyed the scenes where Guillam's at the Circus second time round, but that was about it.

Jeff W, Monday, 19 September 2011 16:38 (nine years ago) link

The Circus irritated me a bit, actually. Long time since I've read the novels, but isn't it called The Circus cos it's a shabby rabbit warren on Cambridge Circus, rather than a purpose built open-plan warehouse style place? The old identity of the Circus is kind of crucial - the building embodies the faults of the organisation it houses - old fashioned, labyrinthine, unfit for purpose, on the brink of collapse.

Trudi Styler, the Creator (ithappens), Monday, 19 September 2011 16:45 (nine years ago) link

So you never quite believe he's anything other than a doormat

with an unfortunate resemblance to john major, making the final few shots of the film unintentionally comical

Once Were Moderators (DG), Monday, 19 September 2011 17:56 (nine years ago) link

ok here is the REAL question: what is the wooden gizmo little bill roach makes and brings to prideaux at the end of the film?

also: IRL what is the building that played the circus, and where is it in london?

mark s, Tuesday, 20 September 2011 22:39 (nine years ago) link

blythe house, west kensington

yes I was disappointed that we didn't find out about the wooden thing! maybe in the next movie?

conrad, Tuesday, 20 September 2011 22:52 (nine years ago) link

i am hoping the next film continues the harry potter-ish element, like the FLAMING OWL QUIDDITCH moment

mark s, Tuesday, 20 September 2011 23:05 (nine years ago) link

haha yeah

conrad, Tuesday, 20 September 2011 23:20 (nine years ago) link

++ loved the look, mise en scene somewhere between 10 rillington place and brazil (with a dash of the ipcress file); i think tomas alfredson's sense of place is strong anyway, as is JLC's of course, and they compliment one another here
-- gary oldman seemed to be playing smiley as a man in a rubber alec guinness mask; he has the voice down but you felt he was often just standing there saying "listen! i have the accent down!" (deep caveat: if alfredson's conception is mission impossibly and oldman was actually playing a mole in an alec guinness mask)
++ some of the second-rung actors were excellent (BC = guillam; MS = prideaux; KB = connie obviously; JH + control) (and LACON: i am a huge giant fan of simon mcburney as near-walk-on in "popular" drama, he is often massively cheeky and scene-stealing in a subtle way, and was here too) -- interestingly mcburney was probably the most effective at overly "playing" a double (the little fellow who played esterhase was the worst: but only one of the mole-suspects was presented as remotely attractive) (making it easy to guess which one was the mole)
-- it didn't solve and i think exacerbated the tension between the two species of book JLC tries to pass of as one; one a fraught procedural about precision of observation (where the unglam uber-technician turns out champ), and one a sententious lament about the morality of geo-political manouevre by other means <-- the second is by a long way the least interesting, jlc is shrewd about (non-female) people but windy at best when he turns this into aggregate generalised form... and this film did not allow space for much of the former, in fact: the detecting was as nugatory as the "playing double" was
++ it did actually clarify a few plot points in the original!

mark s, Wednesday, 21 September 2011 11:04 (nine years ago) link

forgot to say: i strongly feel alfredson is of the "secret intelligence is a worthless activity, and besides these men were drunks and clowns" school = VG TICK in ref my own equivalent prejudices

despite the ultra-grimy mise en scene, this is anything but a work of sociological or historical realism: no such milieu ever existed, and the director is unbothered if we leave the cinema thinking this

mark s, Wednesday, 21 September 2011 11:15 (nine years ago) link

only period detail i found slightly 'off' = smiley eating in a wimpey bar!

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 21 September 2011 11:27 (nine years ago) link

what's wrong with wimpy? he *was* using a knife and fork

conrad, Wednesday, 21 September 2011 11:31 (nine years ago) link

i was meant to be seeing this this evening, & the idea that he is just doing an alec guinness impersonation put me off, but the idea that he eats in a wimpy using a knife and fork actually leaves me feeling into it again

thomp, Wednesday, 21 September 2011 11:33 (nine years ago) link

everybody ate w a knife and fork in a wimpy in the 70s! i just think smiley, spooks in general, were a bit m class for a burger joint in the 1970s - but maybe it is 'deep cover'

Ward Fowler, Wednesday, 21 September 2011 11:36 (nine years ago) link

thought this was excellent, found it a very immersive viewing experience, good performances- not having read the book nor seen the bbc version i still found it ok to follow.

talking heads, quiet smith (darraghmac), Wednesday, 21 September 2011 11:36 (nine years ago) link

maybe it was a joke that everything moves slowly even the fast food

conrad, Wednesday, 21 September 2011 11:38 (nine years ago) link

wimpy existed in 1973! they were the first UK burger places iirc -- and the fact they eat at one is taken from the book

the one point where i was thrown out of story into overt anachronism watch was that -- in his makeshift investigation headquarters -- smiley appeared to have some scissors with black plastic handles: I DON'T REMEMBER THESE IN MY YOUTH, and it made me go AHA! (tho i may be completely wrong, but i think he would have old-school all-metal scissors)

oldman is the most disappointing element i think: and really all this proves is that smiley is basically a flawed and implausible character, a problem that guinness alone has solved to date

mark s, Wednesday, 21 September 2011 11:41 (nine years ago) link

it's not called a wimpy in the book

mark s, Wednesday, 21 September 2011 11:42 (nine years ago) link

1967 - Fiskars manufactures the world's first plastic-handled scissors

master musicians of jamiroquai (NickB), Wednesday, 21 September 2011 11:48 (nine years ago) link

:o

one of the things i really like about all the tech in the circus is that it looks like it was STATE OF THE ART AND GLEAMING about ten years before

mark s, Wednesday, 21 September 2011 11:52 (nine years ago) link

This 1974 portrait of David Bowie was part of an all day studio session in Los Angeles to promote the Diamond Dogs album. Bowie picked up the scissors absent-mindedly and O'Neill decided to keep them in the shoot to symbolize the cutting edge nature of Bowie's music.

master musicians of jamiroquai (NickB), Wednesday, 21 September 2011 12:05 (nine years ago) link

haha awesome

i feel smiley was as likely to be using those scissors as he was to be listening to aladdin sane as he stuck tiny photos onto chesspieces

mark s, Wednesday, 21 September 2011 12:09 (nine years ago) link

suppose if he'd absent-mindedly picked up a pile of shite o'neill would have probably asked him put it down for the photos

conrad, Wednesday, 21 September 2011 12:10 (nine years ago) link

Only anachronism I noticed in this was during the scene where Irina was wheeled onto the boat to Odessa, where a huge recent-looking poster/banner could be seen at the left-hand side of the shot (the design style and typefaces seemed more early-to-mid 2000's than 1973. Yes, I'm a design nerd). Also, a friend pointed out that some scenes had speed bumps in shot?

Silliness aside, loved it.

unpredictable johnny rodz, Wednesday, 21 September 2011 12:12 (nine years ago) link

"bowie absent-mindedly picked up a return-to form"

mark s, Wednesday, 21 September 2011 12:13 (nine years ago) link

possible sensible suggestion for the wooden gizmo that b.roach makes = a v-thing to pull one's boots off with (no wonder prideaux yelled at him)

finally reading j.sutherland's essay on TTSS in S&S: tempted to liveblog this too, it seems quite poor :(

mark s, Thursday, 22 September 2011 09:31 (nine years ago) link

it's a wooden prototype for what eventually became that v-slicer vegetable cutting wondertool advertised on uk living after 2.00am

talking heads, quiet smith (darraghmac), Thursday, 22 September 2011 09:55 (nine years ago) link

saw this last night. i think i might have enjoyed it more were i not in the middle of a godawful headache, such that each shot's lighting and sound produced a reaction in terms of pain before i got to consider aesthetics -- it was aight tho

heard from the row behind: "man, there was such great 50s design in that film"

thomp, Thursday, 22 September 2011 11:34 (nine years ago) link

okay something of a SPOILER follows

what's the logic of guillam -- after smiley warns him that those on top will now have their eye on him -- immediately throwing his boyfriend out? is the idea that he's so gauche that he thinks 'they' will care enough to use it against him?

thomp, Thursday, 22 September 2011 11:35 (nine years ago) link

actually, okay, it's established that he genuinely doesn't want other people aware -- viz. the play he makes of flirting with the office staff and such -- it just seemed a weird revision to the plot, when stuff like haydon and prideaux is an open secret. & i guess it's better than the hippie girlfriend, & that shot of cumberbatch crying was one of the more affecting moments

thomp, Thursday, 22 September 2011 11:38 (nine years ago) link

yeah, i think that haydn and prideaux being an open secret didn't necessarily exclude the possibility that the same thing could be used against guillam if necessary

talking heads, quiet smith (darraghmac), Thursday, 22 September 2011 11:49 (nine years ago) link

yes i think it's odd: there's actually very little in the film -- except the bill roach stuff? -- that isn't directly plot-driving, and that bit really isn't, so it sticks out

i: is it a general point about the dangers of being gay in the secret service in the early 70s? prob true but kind of a digression -- and why is it only suddenly now that guillam realises this?
ii: is it there as a marker of what danger guillam suddenly realises they're actually in? prob true but not well set up: we don't actually get a sense they're being watched (and they apparently bundle toby e into a car right outside the circus: certainly nearby)
iii: is it just character-colour? if so why only for PG?
iv: is there a ppl-wearing-rugs-are-a-kind-of-mole counter-textual subtext? <--- this (since his boyf is bald)

also: is prideaux (mark strong in a rug) crying at the xmas party bcz he too was watching haydon squeezing lady ann's bottom?

mark s, Thursday, 22 September 2011 11:52 (nine years ago) link

ps Toby Jones has such an awesome resume: Robert Cecil 1st Earl of Salisbury, William Hogarth, Daniel Quilp, Truman Capote, Arnim Zola, Percy Alleline, Karl Rove, Dobby the house elf

mark s, Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:04 (nine years ago) link

think that it's one of quite a few ways we can link guillam to haydon? Homosexual but plays the ladies man, possibly a little idealistic for the role, maybe there's more but off the top of my head....

talking heads, quiet smith (darraghmac), Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:06 (nine years ago) link

(Arnim Zola is the evil-doctor minion in Capt America not the French novelist: muddlingly enough I saw Capt Am the day before I saw TTSS)

mark s, Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:07 (nine years ago) link

"link" in what sense though? that he's been his lover? that he idolises and imitates him? that he's exposed bcz all gay ppl are secretly pals? if yr right it underlines that complaint that they don't really do enough work to guild haydon up into the god he is in the book -- which you can kind of do without plotwise, but it removes quite a lot of what's at stake in his exposure (which is pretty much all the british secret service's internal glamour)

mark s, Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:11 (nine years ago) link

prideaux was crying? whenever it was my observational skills had plainly gone to shit by that point

kind of curious if this movie is followable if you come in blind, at least without some kind of cheat sheet -- i read it a while ago & i've been following this thread so i had the list of names primed already -- but it seems like a hell of a lot of people to keep track of

which conversely was one of the things i didn't like about it! that it had to start with john hurt explaining THERE IS A MOLE! AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL! and that there had to be periodic flashbacks with smiley picturing them all in the soundless room. or shots of the bloody chess set.

(xpost.)

thomp, Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:12 (nine years ago) link

'link' in that guillam is a shadow-version of haydon, i thought he meant

thomp, Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:13 (nine years ago) link

otoh i liked that the corniest Spy Movie Lines -- "we're not so very different, you and i" -- "we're on the same side, george" -- were kind of recontextualised -- toby aware of the limpness of it as he says it, oldman in that very uncomfortable too-close-up address to an absent karla communicating: i don't know what, exactly

thomp, Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:14 (nine years ago) link

i thought the talking-to-an-empty-chair bit was fucking embarrassing tbf

Once Were Moderators (DG), Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:19 (nine years ago) link

'link' in that guillam is a shadow-version of haydon: not i think well achieved by the film on its own, but i find it REALLY hard to unremember what i (often unhelpfully) know from the book as you can image, since (a) i reread it last week and (b) i wrote it all down like an idiot!

hence the prob i had with that boyf-dumping scene was that i had too many conflicting ways of possibly reading it, w/o any clues, so it jumped right out as a bit of a weird change to decide on -- if i could grasp their rationale instantly i wouldn't have been nagged by it (this is partly a result of the way i think about films and books and etc anyway: "ok so why make this move here?" all the time)

mark s, Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:28 (nine years ago) link

yeah, link was just a story device, i meant.

Followed it without a cheatsheet btw, got a little muddled before the big unveiling but otherwise fine.

talking heads, quiet smith (darraghmac), Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:30 (nine years ago) link

on the FT thread andrew f just suggested that the "guillam is gay" scene is a way of firmly saying "we the film makers don't consider gay men to be obvious by-definition villains DO YOU SEE"

which if true is commendable in a kind of well-good-for-you-lads way, but (again) needs to actually read to justify itself, and didn't (proof = me not reading this)

mark s, Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:40 (nine years ago) link

it's daft anyway cos haydon isn't strictly homosexual; he bats for both teams DO YOU SEE

Once Were Moderators (DG), Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:46 (nine years ago) link

haha yeah but having guillam dump a poly gf/bf couple was shot down during early script conferences

mark s, Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:50 (nine years ago) link

it was the 70s, buckaroo

Once Were Moderators (DG), Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:53 (nine years ago) link

do the polymath

talking heads, quiet smith (darraghmac), Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:59 (nine years ago) link

cf also david bowie-endorsed plastic-handled scissors, symbol of smiley's cutting-edge sexuality

mark s, Thursday, 22 September 2011 13:01 (nine years ago) link

lol

talking heads, quiet smith (darraghmac), Thursday, 22 September 2011 13:05 (nine years ago) link

I've never read the book, never seen the mini-series, didn't know the reveal. The film made sense to me, in a I'd-need-to-watch-it-several-more-times-to get-it-all kind of way. None of the characters were especially rounded out, but there was a pretty impressively deep sense of confused dread about the thing. I guess that's what I responded to.

Tim, Thursday, 22 September 2011 13:35 (nine years ago) link

Great film but that ending montage was shamefully incongruous. Why kill the tone of the whole thing with that awful "and they all lived happily ever after, lol!!!" feeling.

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Thursday, 22 September 2011 23:01 (nine years ago) link

i thought the end was really sinister! proof if proof be need be that the real mole was actually SMILEY ALL ALONG

mark s, Thursday, 22 September 2011 23:23 (nine years ago) link

ugh no it was awful imo..."look he's back with his wife and now he's the boss". it should have ended with him watching tv, smoking.

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Thursday, 22 September 2011 23:28 (nine years ago) link

oh and colin firth has found his ideal role - sleazy posh guy who sleeps with other people's wives

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Thursday, 22 September 2011 23:35 (nine years ago) link

firth should play david cameron

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Thursday, 22 September 2011 23:35 (nine years ago) link

only problem with end was that it needed 'stayin alive' playin over it and oldman should have had a pimp cane

talking heads, quiet smith (darraghmac), Friday, 23 September 2011 00:51 (nine years ago) link

He is the boss in the next book. Dunno if plans are afoot to make the rest of the trilogy though.

scotstvo, Friday, 23 September 2011 06:23 (nine years ago) link

wld be first in line for a sequel to TTSS where toby jones turns up at the circus in full arnim zola clobber:

http://static2.aintitcool.com/images2009/ArnimZola.jpg

Ward Fowler, Friday, 23 September 2011 07:43 (nine years ago) link

loved this, bloody fatastic camerawork! the best shot film i've seen for years. amazed at how different Peter is in the film to the tv show. in the series he was almost light relief at times; no recollection of him beating the shit out of Tarr and freaking out, crying etc. Cumberbatch was great mind.

piscesx, Friday, 23 September 2011 13:02 (nine years ago) link

thoroughly enjoyed it, tho it has enough flaws on its own terms - the end scene radiates too much quiet triumph, quite out of tone for the rest of the movie, and there's some other silliness/poor writing imo. but as a whole, this was absorbing and coherent and straight pleasurable.

btw i think the wooden gizmo is a wedge for improving the stability of Prideaux' caravan, quite possibly as per the book.

Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 25 September 2011 00:20 (nine years ago) link

wd've liked it a bit denser and darker tbh

Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 25 September 2011 00:21 (nine years ago) link

Agree totally about the last montage, can't fathom how wildly out of step with the film it is.

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Sunday, 25 September 2011 01:12 (nine years ago) link

That scene at Wimpy was hilarious.

Disappointed they didn't cast Ann (guess she sn't described in the book?). Probably prefer the ending of the TV series (Smiley taken down a peg) but didn't mind the montage too much, partly bcz of the spin Mark gives on it.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 25 September 2011 18:45 (nine years ago) link

Mark's spin is fun and made me reconsider but I don't buy it really. Ann was cast, I think the actress is credited, but her anonymity reminded me of Captain Mainwaring's wife in Dad's Army which wasn't ideal.

Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 25 September 2011 19:41 (nine years ago) link

Yeah exactly, a messageboard lol doesn't really convince me of much.

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Sunday, 25 September 2011 19:42 (nine years ago) link

i'm trying not to compare film to book cos these things shd stand on their own but there's no sense at the end of the movie of "oh shit we've had a mole in the org for the last umpteen years the Circus is completely fucked"

Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 25 September 2011 19:45 (nine years ago) link

Yeah and it's like everything is now GREAT and he's happy plus oh look he's back with his wife. It's moronic as an ending.

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Sunday, 25 September 2011 19:54 (nine years ago) link

i liked the ending but it does make the film a future candidate for..
Movies wherein the last scene clearly indicates that the makers had a sequel planned, but no sequel came after it.

piscesx, Sunday, 25 September 2011 21:12 (nine years ago) link

I read Smiley's satisfaction at sitting at the head of that table as drenched in irony, given the rest of the film.

Alba, Sunday, 25 September 2011 23:51 (nine years ago) link

that whole section at the end (especially Peter's smile) is a bit shameless in it's attempt to please the audience but you know.. it's a 21st century movie not a seven hour 1970s BBC series or whatevs so i think we have to cut em some slack.

piscesx, Monday, 26 September 2011 02:31 (nine years ago) link

yeah out here in the 21st century we can't be expecting an audience to deal with a downbeat ending, cinemas wd be getting tore up

Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Monday, 26 September 2011 06:11 (nine years ago) link

I read Smiley's satisfaction at sitting at the head of that table as drenched in irony

^ yeah, this. like: it's more a "now i am here and i have no idea if i wanted that" than a "now i am here, hooray!"; likewise ann's return is not actually a triumph for him, & it seems weird to read it thus

(justification in filmic terms - the latter is filmed in deep shadow from the head of the stairs, or something like; and the former ends with a fairly abrupt smash cut to black)

thomp, Monday, 26 September 2011 14:07 (nine years ago) link

ha you guys are nuts, the ending is not remotely ironic, it's meant to be smiley totally kicking the door in

Once Were Moderators (DG), Monday, 26 September 2011 14:09 (nine years ago) link

the former ends after he's exchanged a knowing smile with Guillam on his triumphal march to the top table, if Oldman's playing ambivalence at the end there then he fluffs it imo

Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Monday, 26 September 2011 14:10 (nine years ago) link

i'll give you that "oh she's back" is dealt with a bit more subtly

Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Monday, 26 September 2011 14:11 (nine years ago) link

yeah i think the (fluffed?) attempt at formal symmetry with the walk-of-shame at the beginning undercuts the ambivalence (i want to be) there -- still, though. i like it more my way.

thomp, Monday, 26 September 2011 14:13 (nine years ago) link

justification of "now i am here and i have no idea if i wanted that" in mise-en-scene terms: given his known tastes in decor and etc (which we know from seeing the tasteful olden-times interiors of his house), he is sat in front of that screamingly 70s orange wallpaper, less swallowed and obscured (his favoured state) than horribly exposed <-- this is totally how alfredson's playing it

can't read how oldman's playing it ftb rubber guinness mask

mark s, Monday, 26 September 2011 14:14 (nine years ago) link

"exchanged a knowing smile with Guillam" <-- cutting-edge sexuality alert

mark s, Monday, 26 September 2011 14:19 (nine years ago) link

i like the way the film discarded some of le Carre's coyness about homosexuality but considering how underdrawn the suspects all were i'd question the screenwriters' priorities.

Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Monday, 26 September 2011 14:26 (nine years ago) link

that screamingly 70s orange wallpaper

haha but er aren't those acoustic baffles? -- if he's in the office we see everyone arguing in throughout. (which itself is kind of a hint -- look at his triumph sitting by himself in a soundproofed room.)

thomp, Monday, 26 September 2011 14:28 (nine years ago) link

look at his triumph sitting by himself in a soundproofed REALLY IMPORTANT BIG BOSS MAN room

Once Were Moderators (DG), Monday, 26 September 2011 14:30 (nine years ago) link

i wanted the movie to be perfect too but sometimes you have to settle for good but flawed

Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Monday, 26 September 2011 14:31 (nine years ago) link

ook at his triumph sitting by himself in a soundproofed REALLY IMPORTANT BIG MOLE MAN room <-- there is no dodging this

haha i think the film is very flawed: since i think its look is one of its -- and alfredson's -- strengths you should read with the grain first: wallpaper before "actors" so-called

mark s, Monday, 26 September 2011 14:33 (nine years ago) link

tell you something tho, i am kind of psyched for them to go on and film The Honourable Schoolboy now assuming that a) the look will need to be totally different and b) Stephen Graham as Westerby will be about a million times more fun than Westerby as per the novel.

god except they'll move it from Hong Kong to Gdansk on a wet Tuesday afternoon or something.

Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Monday, 26 September 2011 14:37 (nine years ago) link

ook at his triumph sitting by himself in a soundproofed REALLY IMPORTANT BIG MOLE MAN room <-- there is no dodging this

compromised it may be but that's cos it's the only room worth infiltrating <--- there is no dodging this

Once Were Moderators (DG), Monday, 26 September 2011 14:38 (nine years ago) link

they should hire wong kar wai to film it

mark s, Monday, 26 September 2011 14:39 (nine years ago) link

actually that is an awesome idea

mark s, Monday, 26 September 2011 14:39 (nine years ago) link

not trying to talk myself out of how much i enjoyed TTSS btw but yes the art direction had to do an awful lot of the heavy lifting

Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Monday, 26 September 2011 14:39 (nine years ago) link

xp

yet it's a fucking awesome idea

Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Monday, 26 September 2011 14:39 (nine years ago) link

yet = yes

Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Monday, 26 September 2011 14:40 (nine years ago) link

instead of taking off his guinness rubber-mask, oldman shd have donned a patrick stewart mask over the top

mark s, Monday, 26 September 2011 14:41 (nine years ago) link

then get Woody Allen in for Smiley's People

Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Monday, 26 September 2011 14:41 (nine years ago) link

otto leipzelig

mark s, Monday, 26 September 2011 15:42 (nine years ago) link

the former ends after he's exchanged a knowing smile with Guillam on his triumphal march to the top table, if Oldman's playing ambivalence at the end there then he fluffs it imo

I wasn't suggesting Smiley found it a hollow victory - the irony, for me, was on the part of the director, who for the rest of the film hardly gives the impression that the only problem with the whole world they're in is that there's a mole.

Alba, Monday, 26 September 2011 19:43 (nine years ago) link

yeah i mean i can see what you mean about the irony thing, but it was still out of step with the rest of the film. the whole feel of that last few mins wasn't really right for me, and if it was irony it was sort of oddly done.

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Monday, 26 September 2011 19:47 (nine years ago) link

It being a misstep, or a sop to commercial interests, are possibilities too. As is my misreading the rest of the film. But I prefer to have it all make sense my way!

Alba, Monday, 26 September 2011 19:50 (nine years ago) link

the other bit in the last 10 mins that was shit was firth's "the west is decadent" or whatever he said. was like "ah let's give him a line to explain why he did it"...fucking scooby doo style.

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Monday, 26 September 2011 19:54 (nine years ago) link

that's from the book, and i suspect that by cutting back on the earlier presence of haydon as this amazing sardonic glamour-puss superspy that the entire circus adored admired and imitated they left themselves no way to open up the fact this his ideological "explanation" is meant to be seen as lame halting rubbish: the book's device has smiley only half-listening to the spew of cliche and not bothering to set most of it down on the page except as reported speech (viz the book's reading is that the mole likes being an actor with deadly secrets and the world at his fingertips; but the pretext behind it is just cobwebs and self-deluded empty blah: which is a shrewd IRL idea but needed way more work if they wanted it to read ironically, as opposed to just lamely)

mark s, Monday, 26 September 2011 20:02 (nine years ago) link

yeah it was honestly not even a rant in the film, was just one single line. have to say i find colin firth pretty lightweight anyway but it wasn't his fault that bit was badly written.

prob sound harsh here but i loved the film, it looked great and the clothes and rooms and stuff were amazing, nice to see something really british too.

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Monday, 26 September 2011 20:07 (nine years ago) link

yeah like i said, underwritten characters all round imo. Le Carre is pretty good at establishing the suspects as, at least, separate personalities. Esterhase a lot less like Peter Lorre in the book.

Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Monday, 26 September 2011 20:09 (nine years ago) link

s/b "a shrewd IRL idea that works in the book but needed way more work if the film wanted...": the book is kinda a detailed psychological exploration of the reality of a scoobydoo villain, and those round him -- which is odd but moving, actually

(not that JLC knows who the fuck scoobydoo is but i think a key to his success is basically treating quite trivial lightweight spy stuff as if it has enormous emotional-philosophical weight, like shakespeare rewriting the wacky races as a tragedy)

mark s, Monday, 26 September 2011 20:10 (nine years ago) link

http://youtu.be/m6w0r-ScEG4

mark s, Monday, 26 September 2011 20:11 (nine years ago) link

nice to see something really british too.

uh oh

incredibly middlebrow (Dr Morbius), Monday, 26 September 2011 20:12 (nine years ago) link

what's that uh-oh for?

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Monday, 26 September 2011 20:14 (nine years ago) link

xposts

yeah le Carre manages to gloss over what we'd consider the heavyweight political and humanitarian stakes of the Cold War in favour of the emptiness and emotional damage it inflicts on a few players, and it's great. once again, the film isn't the book but attention to surface = less psychology = even less stakes, if anything.

Movie Smiley is kinda like the protagonist of The Third Policeman wandering around a murky, circular, mostly personal hell.

Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Monday, 26 September 2011 20:15 (nine years ago) link

LG, just a dumb joke about your gray, declining isle and its cinema.

incredibly middlebrow (Dr Morbius), Monday, 26 September 2011 20:17 (nine years ago) link

oh no DON'T

Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Monday, 26 September 2011 20:17 (nine years ago) link

I found that explanation too Scooby-Doo at the time (seem to remember it being less so in the TV series). But afterwards, in my evident desire to rationalise this into the best film ever made or some such, I decided that its cursory nature was part of Alfredson's "look at these poor old fools carrying on in this bizarre foreign country of a past like what they're doing really matters" masterplan.

I think the world he used for the west was "ugly".

Alba, Monday, 26 September 2011 20:17 (nine years ago) link

Dr Morbius believes Tinker Tailor is about the Irish secret service!

Alba, Monday, 26 September 2011 20:21 (nine years ago) link

LG, just a dumb joke about your gray, declining isle and its cinema.

I'm Irish! I think the lack of good British films or TV is all the more reason to enjoy this. I guess it's sort of intangible as loads of British stuff hypes its own Britishness, but this actually had some of that feeling of 70s and 80s Brit TV to me.

Alba I like your take on it to a point for sure, I was going to say earlier I really liked the way the film handled the reveal about the Russians only using the UK to get at American intelligence too, it undermined the London operation even more and made them all seem like silly old men.

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Monday, 26 September 2011 20:23 (nine years ago) link

Silly old men being conned by an American escort agency.

Alba, Monday, 26 September 2011 20:28 (nine years ago) link

it's a british subject obv but i don't think it's a very british film

mark s, Monday, 26 September 2011 20:32 (nine years ago) link

This was probably no better or worse than Brighton Rock or Made in Dagenham (to name a cpl of other British films I happened to watch earlier this year). The latter is certainly v British in subject

xyzzzz__, Monday, 26 September 2011 20:34 (nine years ago) link

i doubt i'd agree with that which is why i won't be finding out

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Monday, 26 September 2011 20:35 (nine years ago) link

just remembered there was a new version of Brighton Rock last year. was about to expostulate.

Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Monday, 26 September 2011 21:06 (nine years ago) link

saw this last night. wonderfully shot - Smiley's hair at an angle to the bannisters! Circus away from Cambridge Circus as an insane

Had some issues. Characters felt totally without substance (didn't care who the mole was - rang his bicycle bell indoors pretty much, ok).

Not sure about the 'knew deep down' thing at the end. At the time considered a big part of novel was impossibility of knowing deep down, hence the difficulty of the task. otoh Smiley having to find a papertrail to the centre of his emotional life; I buy that.

Felt the crucial moment in the plot - the linking of Witchcraft with the Mole was undersold. Represented if I read rightly by the points touching the rail? Seemed symbolic but not realised. Without this the plot seemed a bit Get Tarr.

Smiley was the dandy, Hayden in his suedes felt comparatively shabby. This felt wrong.

Paintings felt wrong. like they were used for period detail (plus oblong Russification of setting?) in place of all the Corots etc. Can understand that was part of the aesthetic, but lost some of the sense of mole v smiley as intellectual/cultural fight. GS likes books, BH into high art. Not a loss at all really considering the look, but again dimmed the character conflict for me.

End was balls. Karla interrogation scene cheesey as hell, but neat idea to keep Karla as permanently absent. (non-existent?).

School excellent. Budapest excellent. Didn't feel as funny as TV series. Was thinking 'No fucking tension!' before the bag drop scene, but this was done brilliantly, tension v quickly established.

Fizzles the Chimp (GamalielRatsey), Wednesday, 28 September 2011 17:58 (nine years ago) link

yeah the TV series is a Peter/George buddy movie by comparison. i missed those elements!

piscesx, Thursday, 29 September 2011 02:23 (nine years ago) link

does smiley look like a dandy? he looks like someone who has v high professional standards of dress but gets all his suits from the same shop for no particular reason

i tried to watch the tv series last night but was informed i fell asleep three times during the first episode; i managed to dream an integrated scene where various of the potential mole types were having a chilli-eating competition and wake up without realising i'd been asleep, at one point, though on reflection it became apparent

thomp, Thursday, 29 September 2011 12:09 (nine years ago) link

i: this is the currently only ilx thread with the word "Tinker" in the title
ii: wasn't there a thread about when/where/whether ppl put tape across their doors to check whether their flatmates/parents were going through their stuff? What was it called?

mark s, Wednesday, 12 October 2011 21:56 (nine years ago) link

I thought it was a very good spy film.

I don't know what Fizzles the Chimp means about paintings.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 12 October 2011 23:35 (nine years ago) link

"Short, fat, and of a quiet disposition, he appeared to spend a lot of money on really bad clothes, which hung about his squat frame like skin on a shrunken toad."

mick signals, Wednesday, 12 October 2011 23:43 (nine years ago) link

pinefox, I just wrote a long thing about the paintings, but it didn't send. probably no loss (angry 'FUCK!' aside) but it did expand on what I meant. I can't be arsed to write it again right now - dreadful hangover, but I'll give it another shot later today.

Fizzles the Chimp (GamalielRatsey), Thursday, 13 October 2011 11:28 (nine years ago) link

does that happen in the book? it seemed a weird lol spy stuff moment: i rationalised it to myself as it being for his wife's benefit, & then was v confused when it was used re:wossname - tom hardy's character -- later

thomp, Thursday, 13 October 2011 18:04 (nine years ago) link

i thought it might be a quick way of demonstrating that boring george smiley nonetheless took all the necessary precautions, that he's a 'proper' spy etc.

Read the book since, and took delivery of the bbc version this morning

shite pele (darraghmac), Thursday, 20 October 2011 11:59 (nine years ago) link

in the book i think it serves as an early reminder that underneath the stuffy Whitehall surface of Smiley's life, stakes is high

Two Noble Klinsmenn (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 20 October 2011 13:13 (nine years ago) link

like a metaphor for roy hodgson's style tbh

shite pele (darraghmac), Thursday, 20 October 2011 13:36 (nine years ago) link

watching bbc series all weekend, it's exceptional

interim dn (darraghmac), Sunday, 30 October 2011 13:35 (nine years ago) link

Read the book, not too many complaints (aside from it would doubtless benefit from an immediate re-read, which is not going to happen). One thing that didn't come off for me is Prideaux's stalking at the end. If he was the super-spook he was made out to be, no-one would have seen him. And, if as happened, Smiley and co did see him - even just a shadow that vanished - they wouldn't have brushed it off, they would have known with the certain justified paranoia of the spook that they were being followed.

antiautodefenestrationism (ledge), Sunday, 30 October 2011 17:52 (nine years ago) link

Saw this the other day - bored stiff and somewhat confused for the first half an hour or so but everything got much better from the Istanbul section onwards. Most of the characters seemed a bit thin though, especially the mole suspects.

I liked how tedious and unglamorous it made being a spy look.

Matt DC, Sunday, 30 October 2011 18:29 (nine years ago) link

bbc has 300 mins + to flesh out al-alein etc, tho strangely there's less of haydon

interim dn (darraghmac), Sunday, 30 October 2011 18:32 (nine years ago) link

characterisation is weak i think yeah, whole thing works much better as melancholy, dreamy eye-candy than as any kind of procedural.

Agyness Dei (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 30 October 2011 18:32 (nine years ago) link

still not sure how film-makers revivified the corpse of Peter Lorre to play movie Esterhase

Agyness Dei (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 30 October 2011 18:34 (nine years ago) link

thought Smiley was gonna tell him that when he slapped him he'd take it and like it at one point

Agyness Dei (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 30 October 2011 18:35 (nine years ago) link

lol my favourite line, that

interim dn (darraghmac), Sunday, 30 October 2011 18:45 (nine years ago) link

two weeks pass...

Nnnnhhh I just missed out on a preview screening of this with a Gary Oldman Q&A because my husband is TOO SLOW
Now I have to wait til December with the rest of the US :(

kinder, Thursday, 17 November 2011 00:21 (nine years ago) link

hard to imagine this condensed to 100 minutes

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Thursday, 17 November 2011 00:25 (nine years ago) link

tbf, it's 127 minutes. It's been years since I saw the TV series, but this didn't feel rushed or at all cramped, but obv. there is plenty of stuff from that and the book which was cut.

screening with Gary Oldman sounds like it would have been A+, shame you didn't make it.

that mustardless plate (Bill A), Thursday, 17 November 2011 07:47 (nine years ago) link

one month passes...

It wasn't difficult to follow but it demanded attention (the audience of sixtysomethings snored loudly), and the last fifteen minutes consisted of a "Murder, She Wrote"-style let-me-tell-you-how-it-REALLY-happened denouement

Is Gary Oldman so good an actor that when he disappears into a role like this it's so complete that he doesn't give a performance? I didn't find him very interesting. I did snap to attention whenever John Hurt and his bullfrog face appeared though.

lumber up, limbaugh down (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 6 January 2012 19:34 (nine years ago) link

i got sick of the brown-grey dinginess of everything. yeah yeah europe in the 70s i get it.

goole, Friday, 6 January 2012 19:41 (nine years ago) link

Usually I complain about "Mad Men"-style "LOL look how things have changed," but not this time. Alfredsom has an eye for the absurd: the owl on fire swooping out of the fireplace; Santa with the Lenin hat.

lumber up, limbaugh down (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 6 January 2012 19:43 (nine years ago) link

now that i've seen the bbc version, oldman vs guinness is a harsh comparison - the movie isn't about smiley to anything like the same extent

carpy deems (darraghmac), Friday, 6 January 2012 19:44 (nine years ago) link

The actors all hit their notes (I particularly the deftness with which Alfredson handles the revelation of a key character's homosexuality) but, as I did with the miniseries, I wanted more friction from these men.

lumber up, limbaugh down (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 6 January 2012 19:46 (nine years ago) link

*I particularly liked

lumber up, limbaugh down (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 6 January 2012 19:46 (nine years ago) link

I was surprised at how abstract and oblique this film was. I don't know how it would have made sense to me if I weren't already familiar with the story. It really made me realize how exposition-heavy the mini series is. This was the exact opposite, expecting us to infer a heck of a lot from minimal gestures.

The circus headquarters came off as very sci-fi or even steampunkish. Are those little boxy conference rooms a real life detail or just creative set design?

Moodles, Friday, 6 January 2012 19:57 (nine years ago) link

this movie had me trying to puzzle if oldman's recent preference for minimalist performances is a real aesthetic/artistic preference that he's grown into, or if he's just tired of being pigeonholed

have some more thoughts, but im gonna wait until i finish the mini to post them (have watched first two eps)

maghrib is back (Hungry4Ass), Friday, 6 January 2012 20:04 (nine years ago) link

the abstractness and obliquity are the film's best assests for me, as a straight story it falls very short i think

the white plies (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 7 January 2012 01:19 (nine years ago) link

the conference room insulated from noise is a detail from the novel, btw, altho the film's realisation of it doesn't feel remotely true to the book

the white plies (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 7 January 2012 01:21 (nine years ago) link

Was there any story-benefit for

SPOILER

- letting the audience think Prideaux is killed
- killing Thesinger
- killing Irina

apart from trying to pack in some cinematicness? It had the effect of making Moscow seem more thuggish than crafty.

mick signals, Monday, 9 January 2012 01:36 (nine years ago) link

well Moscow was!

lumber up, limbaugh down (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 9 January 2012 01:39 (nine years ago) link

killing irina sets up smiley's most ruthless moment, when he allows tarr to think that she can be saved because tarr is still of use to him

maghrib is back (Hungry4Ass), Monday, 9 January 2012 02:14 (nine years ago) link

i really dug this movie, but it creates sort of a catch 22 i guess. i was really into the movie and left it wanting to have the world fleshed out more, so i watched the miniseries... which then makes the movie seem a bit slight in comparison because of how many details are elided - i think they did about the best job they could though

after viewing the movie the only thing that i was slightly dissatisfied with was oldman's perf. i got a kick out of his constantly probing eyes (like an owl), and his accent was quite nice, but i didnt think much else of it. i wanted him to hit a grand slam, and it was more like a ground rule double. i was even more dissatisfied when i saw how much more guinness did with the same role - though to be fair it wasnt really the same role, the movie's smiley was really pared down with fewer character moments, which makes me less than certain whether or not im judging the performance or judging the role

there are things i thought the movie did better (all the ricky tarr stuff was much more artfully presented without really omitting anything that would deepen our understanding of his story), and i thought a lot of the supporting perfs were great - john hurt (who was actually considered for smiley - that might've been a more interesting movie), mark strong, and colin firth really impressed me with how much he suggested about his character with very little screen time, though i would later see that he got his method of manipulating his glasses from ian richardson's bill haydon

maghrib is back (Hungry4Ass), Monday, 9 January 2012 02:28 (nine years ago) link

the Ricky Tarr monologue in the movel, original miniseries, and new version are a dramatic dead-end. I don't know why.

lumber up, limbaugh down (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 9 January 2012 02:30 (nine years ago) link

*is

lumber up, limbaugh down (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 9 January 2012 02:31 (nine years ago) link

In the novel it was interminable.

lumber up, limbaugh down (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 9 January 2012 02:31 (nine years ago) link

i really love how the tv version kind of starts off on this note of smiley being this totally out-of-the-loop outsider who is "too old for this shit", and then he sits down with the british agents at the estate house to meet with the spy-on-the-run, and he takes off his glasses and puts them back on and gives this dude a look which says in an instant that he's the smartest and toughest dude around and it's like "oh shit."

― ('_') (omar little), Wednesday, October 13, 2010 1:43 PM (1 year ago) Bookmark

i actually said 'damn!' out loud at that shot

haha. oldman is so good. has he really never won an oscar?

― tylerw, Thursday, June 30, 2011 10:58 AM (6 months ago) Bookmark

i was looking at his credits recently and was surprised to find that he wasnt nominated for The Contender as i would've sworn he was - he seemed to get the most positive buzz of anyone in the picture at the time, but Bridges got the supporting nom instead

i don't even mind firth, but i'm sure even he would say that oldman's the better actor.

― tylerw, Thursday, June 30, 2011 11:09 AM (6 months ago) Bookmark

not so sure about this now tbh!

maghrib is back (Hungry4Ass), Monday, 9 January 2012 02:32 (nine years ago) link

the Ricky Tarr monologue in the movel, original miniseries, and new version are a dramatic dead-end. I don't know why.

― lumber up, limbaugh down (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, January 8, 2012 9:30 PM (1 minute ago) Bookmark

it killed the second episode of the mini for me, just dead in its tracks. definitely not deserving of a 30 minute flashback

maghrib is back (Hungry4Ass), Monday, 9 January 2012 02:33 (nine years ago) link

i thought the looks that strong and firth exchange in the xmas party flashback were pretty devastating

maghrib is back (Hungry4Ass), Monday, 9 January 2012 02:39 (nine years ago) link

Usually I complain about "Mad Men"-style "LOL look how things have changed," but not this time. Alfredsom has an eye for the absurd: the owl on fire swooping out of the fireplace; Santa with the Lenin hat.

So I did actually go to a Q&A with Alfredson when I saw this and he said the owl fireplace thing was something that actually happened to Le Carre.

kinder, Monday, 9 January 2012 03:04 (nine years ago) link

Michael Philipps called Toby Jones "the greatst sniveler" in movies.

lumber up, limbaugh down (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 9 January 2012 03:09 (nine years ago) link

Toby Jones really annoys me

Dr Morbois de Bologne (Dr Morbius), Monday, 9 January 2012 03:57 (nine years ago) link

thought it was funny to find out jared harris was up for toby jones' role first, because ive been getting those two mixed up for a couple years now

maghrib is back (Hungry4Ass), Monday, 9 January 2012 04:30 (nine years ago) link

I didn't like this much at all (and I loved the book and mini-series). Just plodding and with all the richness of the characters leached out (would have like to have seen this cast stretched out, but as it was most of the performance could at best be described as workman-like here).

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Monday, 9 January 2012 13:42 (nine years ago) link

found firth's haydon an improvement, if only on physical appearance

Oldman's smiley a bit of a non-event, think placing his character/development at the core of the movie missed the point somewhat.

carpy deems (darraghmac), Monday, 9 January 2012 14:15 (nine years ago) link

Toby Jones really annoys me

I know this is unlikely in any case, but you really must avoid Your Highness. Lots of naked Toby Jones.

Nicole, Monday, 9 January 2012 14:17 (nine years ago) link

I rather enjoyed this.

Do you know what the secret of comity is? (Michael White), Monday, 9 January 2012 16:24 (nine years ago) link

so they were all gay?

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Monday, 9 January 2012 16:29 (nine years ago) link

Apart from Bill Hayden, who is just decadent.

the Ricky Tarr monologue in the movel, original miniseries, and new version are a dramatic dead-end. I don't know why.

― lumber up, limbaugh down (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, January 8, 2012 9:30 PM (1 minute ago) Bookmark

it killed the second episode of the mini for me, just dead in its tracks. definitely not deserving of a 30 minute flashback

― maghrib is back (Hungry4Ass), Monday, 9 January 2012 Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

Certainly the weakest bit in the mini-series but 'dead in its tracks' is a bit strong.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 9 January 2012 22:03 (nine years ago) link

I liked this. It's been 30 years since I saw the miniseries, so the story was more or less fresh to me, but the melancholy vibe seemed in line with what I remember.

Agree w/Moodles above about the abstractness and obliqueness, I liked how often the movie made me fill in the blanks. The editing provided momentum that the performances and unspooling of the plot didn't. And maybe I'm just an Oldman fanboy, but I thought he was really good -- sort of a master class in "strong/silent."

What I really took away from it was the sense of this whole generation fading, which must have been what Le Carré felt when he wrote it. These guys (and women) who had won the War, but now had to slog through something a lot murkier and less satisfying no matter what side you were on.

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Sunday, 15 January 2012 04:40 (nine years ago) link

the point of the soundproofed rooms is not to keep noise out but to keep their voices from traveling out of the room. i am assuming the historical details are all accurate as le carre was an executive producer. i wasn't there at mi6 in 1973 but other spy agencies used similar systems.

i agree with hungry4ass's interpretation on the killing of irina.

as far as i can tell the point of killing thesinger is to establish that the russians were willing to "scorched earth" on the matter of irina, which giving her mole story credibility

we think prideaux is killed because smiley is the protagonist - we know everything he knows, and learn things at the pace he learns them at. we are in his shoes. that sets up the question of "why didn't anybody tell us prideaux was still alive?", answer being because the witchcraft dudes don't want anybody digging deeper into control's idea there is a mole (hayden because he's a mole, everyone else because they're far up their own ass and don't want to risk discrediting witchcraft) so they secretly repatriated him and sent him off to teach public school

the hate on this movie is inexplicable to me and seems to consist of

1) a lot of WHY OH WHY DID THEY PUT IN ISTANBUL INSTEAD OF LISBON without actually explaining why keeping all of le carre's details would have made a difference

2) comparing a 2000s movie to an 80s (sorta) miniseries to a 70s novel. get a life, snobs.

the late great, Monday, 16 January 2012 00:27 (nine years ago) link

i agree with hungry4ass's interpretation on the killing of irina.
i agree with hungry4ass's interpretation on the killing of irina.
i agree with hungry4ass's interpretation on the killing of irina.
i agree with hungry4ass's interpretation on the killing of irina.
i agree with hungry4ass's interpretation on the killing of irina.
i agree with hungry4ass's interpretation on the killing of irina.

til the power failure (darraghmac), Monday, 16 January 2012 00:29 (nine years ago) link

good summation of thesinger killing imo

til the power failure (darraghmac), Monday, 16 January 2012 00:30 (nine years ago) link

i dont know why you had to end your post like that, and i dont think anyone on here was really 'hating' either

maghrib is back (Hungry4Ass), Monday, 16 January 2012 00:31 (nine years ago) link

eveyone I saw it w/ fell asleep and hated it, I enjoyed it

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Monday, 16 January 2012 00:35 (nine years ago) link

the preview for red tails was way better tho, the sound was all fucked up and it was just random beeps and bloops spilling out of the screen. I was still stoned enough to appreciate what it meant I think

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Monday, 16 January 2012 00:37 (nine years ago) link

i am sorry, it was unclear

i wasn't referring to this thread when i was talking about "hating"

i meant more crap like this: http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2011/09/tinker-tailor-soldier-travesty.html ... i realize its the mail but it seems like a lot of the negative feedback i've seen around the net shares the tone

the late great, Monday, 16 January 2012 01:03 (nine years ago) link

srsly though i am very very tired of people comparing film adaptations to miniseries and novels. it really seems like there's not much motive to it other than pointing out that you've done something that other people may or may not have patience for. it strikes me a bit like complaining that the iliad is better in the original greek.

but again, i wasn't actually referring to what's going on on this thread, more what i've seen around the web in general

the late great, Monday, 16 January 2012 01:06 (nine years ago) link

this film was Greek to me.

Dr Morbois de Bologne (Dr Morbius), Monday, 16 January 2012 01:07 (nine years ago) link

LOL

i thought the looks that strong and firth exchange in the xmas party flashback were pretty devastating

the whole xmas party flashback thread was devastating in general

the other amazing "look" in the movie for me was when hayden says "i'm a man who made his mark" and smiley almost starts to reply but then just changes his mind and looks out the window in disgust. pitch-perfect!!

the late great, Monday, 16 January 2012 01:11 (nine years ago) link

i dunno, after the movie i said to my companion "best new film i've seen since good shepherd" which maybe tells you i'm not really an impartial judge of this sort of stuff

the late great, Monday, 16 January 2012 01:12 (nine years ago) link

the point of killing thesinger is to establish that the russians were willing to "scorched earth" on the matter of irina, which giving her mole story credibility

Exactly! Which is why that, as well as killing Irina, seems uncharacteristically klutzy on the part of Karla, if the Russians' goal is to avoid giving the mole story credibility. Interrogator says to Prideaux "tell Alleline we shot Irina," meaning what? Don't snoop around this mole situation any more or we'll continue to be violent?

mick signals, Monday, 16 January 2012 01:25 (nine years ago) link

the other amazing "look" in the movie for me was when hayden says "i'm a man who made his mark" and smiley almost starts to reply but then just changes his mind and looks out the window in disgust. pitch-perfect!!

― the late great, Sunday, January 15, 2012 8:11 PM (5 minutes ago) Bookmark

i like how oldman briefly comes alive in that scene when he raises his voice for probably the first time in the movie

maghrib is back (Hungry4Ass), Monday, 16 January 2012 01:30 (nine years ago) link

yeah, that too!

i think shooting irina was a warning signal for hayden to take care of tarr on his end - its hard to believe polyakov couldn't get the message to him some other way, but maybe their contact was restricted to just the witchcraft house, all of which was taped and reviewed by "housekeeping"

i have to reread the book now and rewatch the series to figure this out

the late great, Monday, 16 January 2012 01:40 (nine years ago) link

totally enjoyed this

Lana Ballantine (latebloomer), Monday, 16 January 2012 08:20 (nine years ago) link

Very little of the witchcraft house is taped - that's how Smiley brings them down, by taping when they're not expecting it.

It's really not clear to me that any 'message' at all is being sent by killing Irina* in front of Prideaux - he's never seen her before, he is going slightly dotty due to the punishment, how is he supposed to connect her to a girl that Tarr (and only Tarr) has met in Istanbul? The stick used to beat him in the book is that all of his networks in Czechoslovakia are being taken in and shot (and think it's his doing) - what I got from that scene in the film was that they were underlining the futility of his denial and/or administering a series of shocks, some of which would cut deeper than others.

* Also a couple of people I saw it with were very certain it wasn't Irina that was shot then, but I'd have to see it again to tell.

Andrew Farrell, Monday, 16 January 2012 10:06 (nine years ago) link

Interrogator says to Prideaux "tell Alleline we shot Irina," meaning what?

Hang on, does this actually happen?

Andrew Farrell, Monday, 16 January 2012 10:09 (nine years ago) link

what i remember was something like "tell your masters what you saw here"

that's a good point. i forgot that tarr and prideaux were in different cities. somehow i blended budapest and istanbul together in my mind. on the other hand, as i was thinking about it prideaux wouldn't need to connect the two - but as part of his job, he's going to tell the inquisitors everything he saw and heard. prideaux is a pawn!

but yeah, i might be reading too much into it

i get what you're saying about the shocks, i was thinking that too.

the late great, Tuesday, 17 January 2012 04:35 (nine years ago) link

Russian: (In Russian) Do you know this woman?

Prideaux: No, I don't know her.

A pistol shoots Irina.

Russian: Tell Alleline what we did.

mick signals, Tuesday, 17 January 2012 19:40 (nine years ago) link

David Bordwell breaks it down for the perplexed:

http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/2012/01/23/tinker-tailor-a-guide-for-the-perplexed/

Literal Facepalms (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 26 January 2012 02:17 (nine years ago) link

Yes, that is in italics, but does it actually happen?

Andrew Farrell, Thursday, 26 January 2012 10:50 (nine years ago) link

Just sayin'

Andrew Farrell, Thursday, 26 January 2012 10:52 (nine years ago) link

let's try that again

Andrew Farrell, Thursday, 26 January 2012 10:53 (nine years ago) link

That's my personal transcription, stage direction and all, from my viewing. Italics mine as well. But is anyone else disputing though that the shot lady was Irina?

http://i.imgur.com/6El85.png

http://i.imgur.com/oNbmT.png

mick signals, Thursday, 26 January 2012 18:12 (nine years ago) link

What?! It's definitely Irina.

Quand le déshonneur est public, il faut que la vengeance soit (Michael White), Thursday, 26 January 2012 18:15 (nine years ago) link

none of the difficult bits in the movie are gimmicky tricks from what i remember. i still suspect that some of the stuff that confuses people is a slight failure of story-telling rather than some "Mr Pink shot first" bullshit

summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those tumblr whites (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 26 January 2012 20:12 (nine years ago) link

in fact, ignore that particular analogy. there's a school of bullshit dvd-era smartboy over-reading of movies (Reservoir Dogs, Usual Suspects, Inception etc etc etc) which absolutely does not apply to this film and absolutely misses the point of it

summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those tumblr whites (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 26 January 2012 20:17 (nine years ago) link

y

teaky frigger (darraghmac), Thursday, 26 January 2012 21:11 (nine years ago) link

it wasn't mad complicated if you pay decent attention while watching.

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Thursday, 26 January 2012 21:32 (nine years ago) link

i'm always a little unsure how clear the narrative of a movie is if i know the book beforehand, because then you don't notice gaps. but TTSS the movie is all about atmosphere and suggestion, not some stupid puzzle to be solved.

summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those tumblr whites (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 26 January 2012 21:35 (nine years ago) link

i'm always a little unsure how clear the narrative of a movie is if i know the book beforehand, because then you don't notice gaps. but TTSS the movie is all about atmosphere and suggestion, not some stupid puzzle to be solved.

Agreed, I loved this adaptation.

Nicole, Thursday, 26 January 2012 21:46 (nine years ago) link

two reasonably intelligent critics I know didn't know there was mansex going on.

Literal Facepalms (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 26 January 2012 21:49 (nine years ago) link

yeah I only picked that up on viewing 2.

Simon H., Thursday, 26 January 2012 21:50 (nine years ago) link

It took a couple seconds to realize what had happened; wouldn't call it mansex though.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 26 January 2012 21:50 (nine years ago) link

the bit where Guillam dumps his lover seems pretty clear? and it's a departure from the novel, so it's not like i was pre-warned

summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those tumblr whites (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 26 January 2012 21:51 (nine years ago) link

when Haydon/Firth sez "there's a boy as well" near the end it didn't even get through

Literal Facepalms (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 26 January 2012 21:53 (nine years ago) link

are you talking about haydon and prideaux? thats pretty vague in the novel

max, Thursday, 26 January 2012 21:55 (nine years ago) link

I would think that that look they exchanged at the Christmas party conveyed enough about their relationship.

Nicole, Thursday, 26 January 2012 21:56 (nine years ago) link

iirc the only hints in the novel are a few dropped asides about how BH and JP were "thick as thieves" or whatever

max, Thursday, 26 January 2012 21:58 (nine years ago) link

le Carre is coy about homosexuality in the novel, considering what we know about the real life prototypes of the characters. but at the same time that public school blurring between deep friendship and admiration and sexual love seems like a true and useful ambiguity

summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those tumblr whites (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 26 January 2012 21:58 (nine years ago) link

haydon's bisexuality is made explicit, so i think youre definitely supposed to wonder if the two were lovers

max, Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:03 (nine years ago) link

i know what you mean nv about the "smartboy film" thing, but i think TTSS managed to be both ambiguous as well as having a tightly wound plot that does merit a bit of thought afterwards. it felt a bit like you end up assuming some of it rather than being beaten over the head with it.

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:10 (nine years ago) link

some of the shifts are a little more elliptical than others. the setup of the final exposure/confrontation was pretty opaque to me. and i didn't get smiley's arrival at the boys' school -- tho i guess that information is gleaned from the files stolen by guillam.

Critique of Pure Moods (goole), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:13 (nine years ago) link

i think the film leaves you to fill in the gaps, but also accept that some of the gaps are intended as unknowables, in the same way that the spy's world contains unknowables. i suppose it's not elliptical plots that bother me so much as circular earnest arguments about the "correct" solution.

summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those tumblr whites (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:14 (nine years ago) link

the setup of the final exposure in the novel still feels a bit opaque to me and i re-read the fucker 3 or 4 times.

summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those tumblr whites (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:15 (nine years ago) link

yeah i hate that kind of shit. i'm kind of anti-nolan solely because of it tbh

xp

Critique of Pure Moods (goole), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:15 (nine years ago) link

yeah one of my big bugbears with Nolan is i think he invites that shit deliberately

summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those tumblr whites (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:16 (nine years ago) link

donnie darko is the pinnacle of that shit.

When a German communicates, you listen (LocalGarda), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:17 (nine years ago) link

yeah i have seen the miniseries and read the book twice each and just saw the movie i still dont really remember how the final trap works

max, Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:18 (nine years ago) link

i thought memento was a really unsatisfying exercise. i enjoyed inception somewhat but my first thought as the credits rolled was "i don't want to read a single thing about this shit on the internet"

Critique of Pure Moods (goole), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:18 (nine years ago) link

anyway, no nolan in the lecarre room

Critique of Pure Moods (goole), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:19 (nine years ago) link

smiley showing up at the boys school though--prideaux is still using his old "ellis" work identity. cant be hard to track it down.

max, Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:19 (nine years ago) link

the movie's explication is slightly clearer than the novel's i think. Smiley figures that the Russian cultural attache guy is the mole's handler and therefore by making the Russians think they've smoked out the mole they panic them into warning him - so the guy who turns up off-schedule to meet him must be the mole.

summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those tumblr whites (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:22 (nine years ago) link

xp

yeah and iirc in the novel at least Smiley's aware that Prideaux isn't dead?

summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those tumblr whites (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:22 (nine years ago) link

yeah in the novel prideaux comes back while smiley is still in the circus i think. the time frame in the movie is a bit confusing to me--seems to compress the novel into a much shorter span

max, Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:23 (nine years ago) link

novel version takes place maybe 6 months after Prideaux's capture? film version is much more ambiguous

summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those tumblr whites (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:25 (nine years ago) link

having irina shot in front of prideaux confuses it for me. i thought prideaux had been released by the time ricky goes to portugal in the book, but i might be misremembering

max, Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:26 (nine years ago) link

anyway, and i probably said this after i watched it, but one of the most attractive aspects of the movie for me is that i didn't feel compelled to think the details thru. the dreamlike ambience was mostly great on its own, even more deliberately low-key than the novel. there are a couple of silly set-pieces that let that mood down i think. until i watch it again i'm gonna not think very highly of the "threatening to put Esterhase on the plane" scene

summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those tumblr whites (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:28 (nine years ago) link

and the "Irina gets shot" scene was another bum note i think

summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those tumblr whites (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:29 (nine years ago) link

the "threatening to put Esterhase on the plane" scene

i didn't really get what the threat was here. they were just gonna hand him over to the soviets? or put him in a place where he would probably get killed? or just demote him?

Critique of Pure Moods (goole), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:30 (nine years ago) link

drop him back in Eastern Europe to get picked up by the enemy, yeah

summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those tumblr whites (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:32 (nine years ago) link

i also feel like i missed some details about his backstory. was he hungarian, and a defector to begin with?

Critique of Pure Moods (goole), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:37 (nine years ago) link

i think he's Hungarian and is "found" by Smiley in Vienna at the end of WWII but i don't think there's a suggestion that he's a defector as such. an emigre tho.

summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those tumblr whites (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:39 (nine years ago) link

found by control i think. Smiley gets super mad at him for being a traitor (in the context of circus power struggle), right?

max, Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:40 (nine years ago) link

some of the details of his portrayal in the movie were much closer to the book than the miniseries' was -- flamboyant dresser, unplaceable accent

max, Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:41 (nine years ago) link

Speaks 14 languages, all of them awkwardly.

Andrew Farrell, Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:44 (nine years ago) link

he's a bit Peter Lorre in the movie maybe but in a film of underdrawn characters that's ok. yeah really Smiley thinks of all of the suspects as betrayers of one kind or another.

summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those tumblr whites (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:45 (nine years ago) link

ciaran hinds was a bit wasted. bland is an interesting character in the book, too.

max, Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:47 (nine years ago) link

i think it's probably a deliberate decision to have the characters so flat in the film but it's another thing that makes me question the screenplay a bit

summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those tumblr whites (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:49 (nine years ago) link

On reflection, watching this film on a plane while sitting behind 2 screaming toddlers wasn't a great move in terms of following the finer plot points.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: (Matt #2), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:49 (nine years ago) link

would have been nice to have bland et al fleshed out but tbf the decision to flesh out the central narrative at the expense of those touches probably needed making for a movie version

teaky frigger (darraghmac), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:51 (nine years ago) link

What's Bland's character in the book? I recall him as being the most underdrawn, as if the name was a hint. If it had been him as the mole I would have felt cheated.

I can only really remember him in one scene though, which is Guillam's trip into the Circus to steal the documents.

Andrew Farrell, Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:52 (nine years ago) link

agree with ronan that this was not a difficult movie to follow, as long as you weren't looking sideways at it for the nolanswipe

teaky frigger (darraghmac), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:53 (nine years ago) link

in the book there's a pub lunch scene filling out his background a bit more, iirc- tho yeah he's less involved in the real-time plot than the others

teaky frigger (darraghmac), Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:54 (nine years ago) link

bland is the working-class professor who uses his left-wing credentials as a way to recruit students in the eastern bloc

max, Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:58 (nine years ago) link

I'm starting to wonder which of you nerdz is the mole.

Literal Facepalms (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 26 January 2012 23:00 (nine years ago) link

we all done it, guvnor

summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those tumblr whites (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 26 January 2012 23:10 (nine years ago) link

nah tho, for all it's fun to nerd out on the details i still think this is mostly a pretty meditation on emptiness and isolation and the horror of office jobs

summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those tumblr whites (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 26 January 2012 23:11 (nine years ago) link

ilx?

Critique of Pure Moods (goole), Thursday, 26 January 2012 23:16 (nine years ago) link

Man, the betrayal goes all the way to Smiley's conjugal bed

Quand le déshonneur est public, il faut que la vengeance soit (Michael White), Thursday, 26 January 2012 23:18 (nine years ago) link

LOL, goole

Quand le déshonneur est public, il faut que la vengeance soit (Michael White), Thursday, 26 January 2012 23:18 (nine years ago) link

i think goole may be onto something

summer sun, something's begun, but uh-oh those tumblr whites (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 26 January 2012 23:20 (nine years ago) link

noize board = scalphunters imo

teaky frigger (darraghmac), Friday, 27 January 2012 09:15 (nine years ago) link

pavement artists more like

the late great, Wednesday, 8 February 2012 15:30 (nine years ago) link

one month passes...

a few interesting thoughts on the two adaptations:

There is another way the basic material has dated. Karla is considered a genius spymaster, smarter than anybody else in the business. Again, according to one Internet source (yes, I am getting into the epistemology of the Internet, but when better to do it than with the really epistemological world of intelligence gathering?), Karla was based on a specific Russian spymaster. Maybe so, but in the novel, miniseries, and film he is a superspy and infallible. The novel was written in the early '70s in the middle of the Cold War. The western spy services assumed the Soviet spy services were better than ours. We now know they weren’t. After the collapse of the Soviet regime, much, how shall we say, information in the KGB files found its way to the West, and boy, while we thought MI6 and the CIA were a bunch of cock-ups, the Soviets had them all beat. For example, for two years in World War II, the KGB was convinced that the Cambridge Five had to be British plants because the information they were getting was too good. So now we find it a bit hard to believe that “Karla” was all that great at his job. (A lot of information about this comes from a fascinating book I recently finished wading through called Defend the Realm: An Authorized History of MI5 by Christopher Andrews, the leading British historian of intelligence. A warning to you: it’s 850 pages and it is not a quick read.)

http://www.slantmagazine.com/house/2012/03/understanding-screenwriting-90-tinker-tailor-soldier-spy-the-adventures-of-tintin-contraband-and-more

Literal Facepalms (Dr Morbius), Monday, 12 March 2012 14:28 (nine years ago) link

Interesting reading. This is a good opportunity to show my love for this poster:

http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m0ihbeP1pP1qzdglao1_500.jpg

Respectfully, Tyrese Gibson (Nicole), Monday, 12 March 2012 14:56 (nine years ago) link

i think the paragraph before that is more otm:

We also do not get to know the five people in the Circus that Smiley and the late Control suspect of being the mole as well as we do in the miniseries, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. The basic story of Tinker Tailor was inspired by the “Cambridge Five,” as their Russian spymasters called them. They had positions of varying degrees of power in various branches of British intelligence from the late '30s on, and the Brits only began to suspect something was up in the late '40s. Three of the Five defected to Moscow, two in the early '50s, one in the early '60s. At least one source on the Internet suggests that one of the Five had revealed to Moscow that David Cornwell was working for British intelligence. Cornwell left the intelligence service, took a pen name and began writing espionage novels as John le Carré. In the novel and miniseries of Tinker Tailer we get a lot of detail about the five suspects, and more discussion of why the traitor among them was seduced by Communism in the '30s. There is almost nothing of that in the film, and I suspect that is because at this late date the idea that smart men would have believed in Communism may not work for contemporary audiences.

not getting that context across was a bit of a misstep, along with the line about fanatics always 'concealing a hidden doubt' or whatever. movie's two biggest flaws are its conception of the smiley character (the movie humanizes him, but doesn't convince you that he's a human being - hes probably a replicant) and not fleshing out hayden enough. but i still think its a hell of a picture. mark strong is so good in it that i wish he'd get some more non-badguy roles

these pretzels are makeing me horney (Hungry4Ass), Monday, 12 March 2012 15:06 (nine years ago) link

I agree -- Mark Strong was so good in this it made me sad that he is usually cast as the villain because he's capable of a lot more.

Respectfully, Tyrese Gibson (Nicole), Monday, 12 March 2012 15:16 (nine years ago) link

nnn. le carre doesn't really do a good job of realizing other belief systems than british bureaucracy.

also (important news for americans): the authorized history of mi5 was massively slated on release here, for exactly the reasons you'd expect an authorized history of a country's espionage service to be slated. though you wouldn't expect someone who'd write a phrase like " I still consider that one of the two or three best miniseries. Ever." to be smart enough to pick up on that. (also not realising that Bill Haydon's sexual orientation wasn't an invention of the filmmakers.)

desperado, rough rider (thomp), Monday, 12 March 2012 15:31 (nine years ago) link

yeah, the number of writers who are dense on/have forgotten the queer stuff is amazing.

Literal Facepalms (Dr Morbius), Monday, 12 March 2012 15:32 (nine years ago) link

did you see this, thom

these pretzels are makeing me horney (Hungry4Ass), Monday, 12 March 2012 15:34 (nine years ago) link

p

these pretzels are makeing me horney (Hungry4Ass), Monday, 12 March 2012 15:34 (nine years ago) link

i totally disagree, i think both smiley and hayden are perfectly fleshed out in the movie

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Monday, 12 March 2012 16:23 (nine years ago) link

it's perfectly pitched—any more than what we get would be too much

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Monday, 12 March 2012 16:24 (nine years ago) link

and ya, the queer stuff is such an important part of the movie—to the point where alfredsson basically hands it to u on a platter at the end—it's crazy how many ppl seem to have totally missed it

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Monday, 12 March 2012 16:26 (nine years ago) link

i didnt say smiley wasnt fleshed out enough - hes just poorly conceived. he's this repressed, completely internal robot. in the mini he actually had conversations with people, in the movie anytime someone asks him a question he just stares at them until they go 'oh... i suppose you're right' - its just such an absurd exaggeration of whats needed to convey that this guy is calculating and intelligent, and it borders on parodic

regarding hayden, they do a good job getting across certain things about him in an economical way, but he isnt really characterized at all. you really get no sense of the esteem in which he's held by the rest of the circus, which diminishes the effect when he's unveiled

these pretzels are makeing me horney (Hungry4Ass), Monday, 12 March 2012 17:57 (nine years ago) link

how is he more 'repressed' than in the series? it's all there dude...

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Monday, 12 March 2012 19:04 (nine years ago) link

you really see no difference in how the character is represented? the repression is all there is in the movie!

these pretzels are makeing me horney (Hungry4Ass), Monday, 12 March 2012 19:19 (nine years ago) link

obv the miniseries gives it a lot more room to breathe, but there are plenty of scenes in the movie where smiley's feelings and emotions are pretty plain—the xmas party, the last scene with haydon, the scene with toby. he's a restrained—i guess repressed?—character but that is far from all the movie shows of him.

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Monday, 12 March 2012 19:30 (nine years ago) link

i felt like Alec Guiness' portrayal conveyed more warmth. His face was more expressive.

sarahell, Monday, 12 March 2012 19:30 (nine years ago) link

u just had subliminal memories of obi-wan

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Monday, 12 March 2012 19:34 (nine years ago) link

yah i saw this, adep. i liked several minutes of it.

desperado, rough rider (thomp), Monday, 12 March 2012 20:02 (nine years ago) link

i dont know if i saw any warmth (i'd say he was colder than oldman actually), but yeah more expressive. and it's still a restrained, almost minimalist performance, but he's playing a more credible character

obv the miniseries gives it a lot more room to breathe, but there are plenty of scenes in the movie where smiley's feelings and emotions are pretty plain—the xmas party, the last scene with haydon, the scene with toby. he's a restrained—i guess repressed?—character but that is far from all the movie shows of him.

― A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Monday, March 12, 2012 3:30 PM (23 seconds ago) Bookmark

right, and the reason those moments are effective is because it's a rare crack in the armor. in the first episode of the show, we see smiley being constantly made to look impotent, and see his frustration and disillusionment in the car conversation with guillam. in the movie, guillam asks george about ann and he does the gaze-ahead-like-a-zombie thing and we cut to the meeting with lacon. and the movie keeps hitting that note over and over. right off the bat, the movie is defining the smiley character differently, for better or worse. so i don't get "it's all there" - cuz it aint

these pretzels are makeing me horney (Hungry4Ass), Monday, 12 March 2012 20:39 (nine years ago) link

haha i think ward posted that upthread.

these pretzels are makeing me horney (Hungry4Ass), Monday, 12 March 2012 20:49 (nine years ago) link

i think its possible i really just liked the last few shots. i feel like the filmmakers would do a better job w/ 'smileys people', somehow, maybe.

bosomy English rose (thomp), Monday, 12 March 2012 20:50 (nine years ago) link

how does guillam feel, working for smiley? working for someone, yet, that working for whom requires his sitting, in a wimpy, wearing a suit, eating with a knife and fork?

i think yr right that the film privileges a blank exteriority for no good reason, or because it mistakes that for constituting a style

bosomy English rose (thomp), Monday, 12 March 2012 20:52 (nine years ago) link

wimpy is obv about the worst example imaginable but i think i stand by that

bosomy English rose (thomp), Monday, 12 March 2012 20:53 (nine years ago) link

how does guillaum feel? well the scene where he SITS ALONE SOBBING AT HIS PAINFUL SACRIFICE probably indicates something of that, that didnt seem too blank to me

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Monday, 12 March 2012 21:36 (nine years ago) link

i think it's pretty phenomenal how the movie has pretty much the same... character, pacing and tone as smiley himself

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Monday, 12 March 2012 21:40 (nine years ago) link

and i dont see how it needs to show his impotence any more than it does... we already see him disgraced, fired, and cuckolded, i think we are pretty good on that score

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Monday, 12 March 2012 21:41 (nine years ago) link

how does guillam feel, working for smiley? working for someone, yet, that working for whom requires his sitting, in a wimpy, wearing a suit, eating with a knife and fork?

also, how does that one shot not tell you all that already?

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Monday, 12 March 2012 21:42 (nine years ago) link

i'm sorry i hurt you

bosomy English rose (thomp), Monday, 12 March 2012 22:56 (nine years ago) link

you dont get it, you hurt yourself

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Tuesday, 13 March 2012 02:44 (nine years ago) link

a blank exteriority

the late great, Tuesday, 13 March 2012 14:52 (nine years ago) link

Like most whodunnits, it really doesn't matter much whodunnit in this, which I just saw. It's well directed and acted, which is all that counts, I suppose. I was put off by the make-up, of all things, which made everyone look like creepy perfect-skin mannequins.

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 18 March 2012 02:41 (nine years ago) link

So, finally saw this -- good watch, first time through I felt it was more admirable than great but a second viewing helped tease out some moments a bit more. Also I think the first time through I was getting my head around the various elisions and shifts from the book/miniseries (took me a second to realize that the Jerry Westerby character in the film is actually the duty officer character but with Westerby's name).

Surprised nobody's seemed to have said anything about the music yet? Not the original score so much, which I think was half OTM half unnecessary, but music as a theme is constant throughout -- the occasional contemporary pop drop-ins, George Formby's "Oh Mr. Wu," and that soundtracking of the final minutes to Julio Iglesias's reworking of Bobby Darin's "Beyond the Sea."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGcp3_OT2-0

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 1 April 2012 01:02 (nine years ago) link

I liked how the soundtrack wasn't all suspensey. Also no idea why they chose the Iglesias (live!) track but it works great. Also it's La Mer, which Beyond the Sea was based on

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Sunday, 1 April 2012 01:15 (nine years ago) link

I really liked Oldman's interpretation of Smiley.

The only thing that bothered me at first was how Mad Men-y it felt with the way it was shot, like all very pleased with its furnishings and interiors and period details and I was like uggggghhhh is this going to be furniture porn

but i got over that pretty quickly. Didn't much care for Firth, who seemed really not to act at all but just be his usual self...but everyone else was great.

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 1 April 2012 01:16 (nine years ago) link

Also it's La Mer, which Beyond the Sea was based on

Ah, got it, wasn't sure which direction it went. A great use of music, all this lush French chattiness and sweeping style and everything over images of crushed people and Smiley perversely triumphant.

Bordwell did a follow up post, BTW:

http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/2012/02/20/tinker-tailor-once-more-tradecraft/

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 1 April 2012 01:26 (nine years ago) link

Also I'm amused by this interview just because of the photo -- damn does Alfredsson look out of place:

http://smhttp.14409.nexcesscdn.net/806D5E/wordpress-live/images/TTSS.jpg

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 1 April 2012 01:39 (nine years ago) link

reading Mailer's Harlot's Ghost at the moment makes me wonder what an adaptation would be like.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 1 April 2012 01:43 (nine years ago) link

i don't think it wd be a good idea

red is hungry green is jawless (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 1 April 2012 11:49 (nine years ago) link

btw

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Mer_(song)

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Monday, 2 April 2012 19:07 (nine years ago) link

started listening to the commentary last night (alfredsson and oldman), it's a bit sparse but lots of great stuff.

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Monday, 2 April 2012 19:07 (nine years ago) link

two weeks pass...

btw i think the wooden gizmo is a wedge for improving the stability of Prideaux' caravan, quite possibly as per the book.

― Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Saturday, September 24, 2011 8:20 PM (6 months ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

wd've liked it a bit denser and darker tbh

― Dios mio! This kid is FUN to hit! (Noodle Vague), Saturday, September 24, 2011 8:21 PM (6 months ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Jeez, give him a break, he worked hard on it

epistantophus, Saturday, 21 April 2012 01:11 (eight years ago) link

This film was magnificent.

Acute puppy syndrome (admrl), Saturday, 21 April 2012 02:04 (eight years ago) link

yes it is perfection

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Saturday, 21 April 2012 13:07 (eight years ago) link

http://i.imgur.com/gskk2.png

mick signals, Wednesday, 25 April 2012 23:37 (eight years ago) link

three weeks pass...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idUjpNL53RE

caek, Wednesday, 16 May 2012 14:11 (eight years ago) link

that = pure cinema.

that mustardless plate (Bill A), Wednesday, 16 May 2012 14:22 (eight years ago) link

this film was poop

DG, Wednesday, 16 May 2012 15:03 (eight years ago) link

God the ending of this movie is so fucking good

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Sunday, 20 May 2012 14:28 (eight years ago) link

OTM

piscesx, Sunday, 20 May 2012 15:02 (eight years ago) link

u mad

DG, Sunday, 20 May 2012 15:29 (eight years ago) link

great movie

congratulations (n/a), Sunday, 20 May 2012 17:40 (eight years ago) link

mark strong kills me in that clip every time.

Hungry4Ass, Sunday, 20 May 2012 22:32 (eight years ago) link

DG i believe it is "u" who is the one who is "mad" in this instance

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Monday, 21 May 2012 14:05 (eight years ago) link

and ya the way m-strong kind of adjusts himself after noticing colin firth looking at him is about as good as it gets

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Monday, 21 May 2012 14:07 (eight years ago) link

i dance like esterhase in that clip

caek, Monday, 21 May 2012 14:13 (eight years ago) link

move like esterhase

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Monday, 21 May 2012 14:14 (eight years ago) link

nah s1ocki this film was crap

DG, Monday, 21 May 2012 15:16 (eight years ago) link

hmm, guess i overlooked that inconvenient lil fact

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Monday, 21 May 2012 15:18 (eight years ago) link

yes

DG, Monday, 21 May 2012 15:19 (eight years ago) link

if i've read the karla trilogy and spy who came in from the cold can i basically read whatever le carre i want next?

caek, Monday, 21 May 2012 15:26 (eight years ago) link

Just finished reading Smiley's People a couple days ago and I really hope that movie actually happens. Funny to read through all the long slow conversations and imagine how they would have to be cut down to 45 seconds of screen time.

raw feel vegan (silby), Monday, 21 May 2012 15:29 (eight years ago) link

the miniseries isn't as good as TTSS but still vg

pet tommy & the barkhaters (darraghmac), Monday, 21 May 2012 15:31 (eight years ago) link

did it use everyday people as its theme song

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Monday, 21 May 2012 16:52 (eight years ago) link

no

max, Monday, 21 May 2012 16:53 (eight years ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCQ0vDAbF7s

max, Monday, 21 May 2012 16:53 (eight years ago) link

what if it did tho

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Monday, 21 May 2012 16:54 (eight years ago) link

max tell me what to read next

caek, Monday, 21 May 2012 17:48 (eight years ago) link

you could read a perfect spy, i guess. but youve finished all the best ones i think.

max, Monday, 21 May 2012 17:48 (eight years ago) link

i read tinker tailor so that i would have read it before i saw this movie and now i feel like i need to read everything. that book rules.

horseshoe, Monday, 21 May 2012 17:53 (eight years ago) link

yeah reading around i get the impression there's not a lot to choose between the rest of his stuff, and that's not because it's all 5*

caek, Monday, 21 May 2012 17:53 (eight years ago) link

has anyone complained that gary oldman is too skinny to be george smiley? oldman was good, but i felt a little let down.

horseshoe, Monday, 21 May 2012 17:54 (eight years ago) link

I couldn't finish the novel but I'll try again soon. My library copy, which smelled awful, looked like it'd been in a dog's mouth.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 21 May 2012 17:55 (eight years ago) link

everything else ive read is "eminently readable" and sometimes p good but none of it is as engaging or smart as TTSS or TSWCIFTC. perfect spy has its moments but is really long and most of it is not really about spying just about a thinly veiled version of JLC's dad

max, Monday, 21 May 2012 17:55 (eight years ago) link

le carre does mention smiley's belly and chins a lot

caek, Monday, 21 May 2012 17:56 (eight years ago) link

ok i guess i will buy the next one i see in a shop that is not one of those early detective stories

caek, Monday, 21 May 2012 17:57 (eight years ago) link

I own The Tailor of Panama. Should I read it?

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 21 May 2012 17:59 (eight years ago) link

tailor of panama is decent

max, Monday, 21 May 2012 18:01 (eight years ago) link

i feel like i've confused constant gardener and blood diamonds

caek, Monday, 21 May 2012 18:01 (eight years ago) link

I tried Tailor of Panama a couple of months ago and didn't get far. My attention kept wandering; might have been my problem and not the book.

Trey Imaginary Songz (WmC), Monday, 21 May 2012 18:02 (eight years ago) link

Slightly off-topic, but if you exhaust the Le Carre spy goodness, Peter Wright's "Spycatcher" is a good real-life fix

Peppermint Patty Hearst (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 21 May 2012 18:03 (eight years ago) link

i have so much trouble with le carre's writing and i'm not sure what it is, i've started TTSS and perfect spy at different times and i just can't get through them. i have to read some of his sentences three/four times before i can figure out what he's saying. everyone loves him so it's got to be a personal block.

congratulations (n/a), Monday, 21 May 2012 18:03 (eight years ago) link

for a guy who has a rep as a "beach read" kind of writer, le carre is sort of boring. i think in a good way!

max, Monday, 21 May 2012 18:04 (eight years ago) link

yeah I read John Banville's The Untouchable in one gulp and loved it and the guy's a mandarin compared to Le Carre.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 21 May 2012 18:05 (eight years ago) link

i will read all the george smiley books.

horseshoe, Monday, 21 May 2012 18:05 (eight years ago) link

My library copy, which smelled awful, looked like it'd been in a dog's mouth.

― Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn)

this is deliberate imo

pet tommy & the barkhaters (darraghmac), Monday, 21 May 2012 19:02 (eight years ago) link

in the spy world it's called "dogdipping"

bark ruffalo (latebloomer), Monday, 21 May 2012 20:19 (eight years ago) link

early le carré/smiley novels are worth reading. call for the dead is one, can't remember others off the top of my head. curious intersection of a type of v late golden era crime and detection thriller and cold war spy thriller, convey a great sense of drabness of post-war England. saloon/public bar shibboleths and divisions, dilapidation, spivvery & paranoia. it shd be said that the books themselves are drab.

Fizzles, Tuesday, 22 May 2012 06:15 (eight years ago) link

earlier this summer i picked up a copy of "a perfect spy" at a yard sale with the intention of re-reading it, but then i realized the dust jacket was wrong and it was "little drummer girl" instead. which i read. it was pretty decent. kurtz is a well-realized & compelling character, but nowhere near as fascinating as smiley imho.

judas, a homo (elmo argonaut), Tuesday, 22 May 2012 14:29 (eight years ago) link

i liked LDG when i first read it but re-reading it in my binge last year i wasnt quite as into it. still probably better than his last 3-4 books

max, Tuesday, 22 May 2012 14:32 (eight years ago) link

two months pass...

barmy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ii7b3vwW9zI

caek, Saturday, 28 July 2012 00:48 (eight years ago) link

What busy hands he has. Imagine if he'd been in minority report- he'd have broken the machine!

sktsh, Friday, 3 August 2012 22:03 (eight years ago) link

i'm with s1ocki here, i thought this was a dope versh of TTSS that stands entirely separate from the miniseries, and does so in a manner that doesn't cause one to overshadow the other. i can imagine watching either one for vv different rewards. ricki tarr's whole arc is a bit more heartbreaking than in the mini, holding out for hope and probably never knowing the truth of what happened.

omar little, Saturday, 4 August 2012 08:23 (eight years ago) link

in some ways this would have been a better backstory for bane

Author ~ Coach ~ Goddess (s1ocki), Saturday, 4 August 2012 15:54 (eight years ago) link

eleven months pass...

Watched this again last night, having caught the bbc version and the novel since.

Oldman can't compare tbh, and i kept filling in details from the other versions (which was p enriching actually) but it's still excellent across the board.

mundane peaceable username (darraghmac), Sunday, 21 July 2013 19:44 (seven years ago) link

i fell asleep during this. not proud of it.

official ilxor account of Ke$ha (Treeship), Sunday, 21 July 2013 21:16 (seven years ago) link

I'm terrible at remembering names in Le Carre things, but - I thought Tom Hardy in the new film played the character differently, but just as well as, the one in the TV series, but I thought the new Irina was better.

In the series there's a wonderfully evil man in a white suit who comes along and taunts Smiley ('Everyone likes Anne'). I think he's meant to be a double agent? Does he turn up in the film?

In the film I thought the baddies who take over the secret service and are actually in the pay of the enemy were brilliant, each one so ugly, and all together riffing off each other, just stylised enough to work but just short of being too ridiculous.

cardamon, Tuesday, 23 July 2013 04:29 (seven years ago) link

Will admit to liking Le Carre more and more after reading up on the controversy between him and Rushdie.

His insight during the Rushdie affair - he felt 'more worried about the girl at Penguin books having her hands blown off by a letter bomb' than he did about 'Mister Rushdie's royalties'. It's a certain kind of cynicism that's very, very difficult to achieve and people who go for cynicism as a thing often end up just being grey vampires or Guardian comment is free commenters.

cardamon, Tuesday, 23 July 2013 04:33 (seven years ago) link

i.e. it would be quite easy to trot out a line about the two sides in the cold war being just as bad as each other, but he does it in the right way

cardamon, Tuesday, 23 July 2013 04:35 (seven years ago) link

In the series there's a wonderfully evil man in a white suit who comes along and taunts Smiley ('/Everyone/ likes Anne'). I think he's meant to be a double agent? Does he turn up in the film?

Freddy Something-de-something or other?

anyway my recollection is that he's just supposed to be a pompous gossipy bore rather than a double agent. Wasn't in the film.

Fizzles, Tuesday, 23 July 2013 08:01 (seven years ago) link

From Wikipedia:

Roddy Martindale. A highly annoying, pompous bore, not employed by the Circus, but “haunted the fringes of the secret world". Works for the Foreign Office. “Affected buttonholes and pale suits". “Spoke in a confiding, upper-class bellow".

dubmill, Tuesday, 23 July 2013 08:07 (seven years ago) link

ah, thanks dubmill. at least I got the pompous bore bit right.

Fizzles, Tuesday, 23 July 2013 08:10 (seven years ago) link

In the TV series (and presumably in the book as well), Smiley runs into him in Burlington Arcade or somewhere like that near Piccadilly. He's been shopping (I think) but is on his way home. He allows himself to be talked into going out for dinner, which eventually becomes an ordeal. The episode seems to be put in to illustrate how socially awkward and constrained by politeness he is -- he could have simply said he was too busy, but he doesn't seem to be very good at dealing with things like that, which contrasts with his steeliness during intelligence operations.

dubmill, Tuesday, 23 July 2013 08:20 (seven years ago) link

Im not sure there's "people" plural in the circus that are in the pay of karla's lot, cardamom? just the one, as far as TTSS is concerned at least.

mundane peaceable username (darraghmac), Tuesday, 23 July 2013 08:39 (seven years ago) link

In the TV series (and presumably in the book as well), Smiley runs into him in Burlington Arcade or somewhere like that near Piccadilly. He's been shopping (I think) but is on his way home. He allows himself to be talked into going out for dinner, which eventually becomes an ordeal. The episode seems to be put in to illustrate how socially awkward and constrained by politeness he is -- he could have simply said he was too busy, but he doesn't seem to be very good at dealing with things like that, which contrasts with his steeliness during intelligence operations.

― dubmill, Tuesday, 23 July 2013 08:20 (2 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

There's also the early establishment of Smiley's intellectual space - Martindale is a vulgar upper-class snob, with all the anti-intellectualism that implies. How good Smiley's compass is in this respect is a thread throughout TTSS - the aesthete/fine art set from which Haydon is drawn, is not the same as Smiley's gloomy protestant German romantic poetry sympathies, but it is something, along with Haydon's wryness - his intellectual snobbery if you like - that Smiley appreciates. That, along with the deliberate exploitation of his Anne-weakness, is as much the thing he has to get to the centre of as the long, confusing trail of paperwork.

Fizzles, Tuesday, 23 July 2013 11:15 (seven years ago) link

There's been occasional talk of Smiley's People being a possibility forAlfredson/Oldman, but it just occurred to me that if they did Honourable Schoolboy they might be able to get some of that sweet sweet China money. Though perhaps not, considering the content.

El tres de 乒乓 de 1808 (silby), Tuesday, 23 July 2013 15:45 (seven years ago) link

I'd really like to see them do Smiley's People - thought the TV series was a dreadful hash, and the book ponderous. feel the virtues the film of TTSS wd be double with SP.

Fizzles, Tuesday, 23 July 2013 15:51 (seven years ago) link

Honourable Schoolboy is such an odd book with a central character i really do not like very much, but would be interesting to see Stephen Graham reprizing the role, he might make it quite a different take

Mancunian stagger (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 23 July 2013 16:19 (seven years ago) link

it's certainly the weakest of the Smiley trilogy, though I have problems with Le Carre's style generally anyway. The adaptations are way better, though of course comparisons between media are invidious.

Neil S, Tuesday, 23 July 2013 17:14 (seven years ago) link

"Spoke in a confiding, upper-class bellow"

ha otm

caek, Tuesday, 23 July 2013 17:55 (seven years ago) link

in some ways this would have been a better backstory for bane

― Author ~ Coach ~ Goddess (s1ocki), Saturday, August 4, 2012 11:54 AM (11 months ago) Bookmark

me otm

we're up all night to get (s1ocki), Wednesday, 24 July 2013 03:24 (seven years ago) link

four months pass...

Bbc 4 rerunning this. Missed til now but double header 6 and 7 on just there. Thats the night sorted.

Bigsam: flotsam and jetsam @ whetsam? (darraghmac), Tuesday, 17 December 2013 22:02 (seven years ago) link

So fuckin good, must rewatch entire over xmas

Bigsam: flotsam and jetsam @ whetsam? (darraghmac), Wednesday, 18 December 2013 00:01 (seven years ago) link

the perfect winter watch with a stiff one in hand

christmas candy bar (al leong), Wednesday, 18 December 2013 00:05 (seven years ago) link

a drink i mean

christmas candy bar (al leong), Wednesday, 18 December 2013 00:05 (seven years ago) link

*smiley face*
{=_=}

Bigsam: flotsam and jetsam @ whetsam? (darraghmac), Wednesday, 18 December 2013 00:10 (seven years ago) link

It is seven hours of drinking hard spirits from seemingly randomly sourced containers, another reason its a christmas watch imo

Bigsam: flotsam and jetsam @ whetsam? (darraghmac), Wednesday, 18 December 2013 00:11 (seven years ago) link

loved this re-run despite its imperfection and now i've traded the last 3 eps for Chelsea-Sunderland and a Bayern Munich training exercise :/

Noodle Vague, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 00:38 (seven years ago) link

Imperfection!

Bigsam: flotsam and jetsam @ whetsam? (darraghmac), Wednesday, 18 December 2013 00:41 (seven years ago) link

i dunno if you've read the book but having watched the first 4 eps of this for the first time in forever i feel like it had flaws like the movie but different flaws - the whole Ricky Tarr ep is pretty tacky here

Noodle Vague, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 00:44 (seven years ago) link

Agreed its def a part the movie does much better, but mainly cos hywel bennett is so fuckin funny looking maybe

Esterhazy is amazing on rewatch.

Bigsam: flotsam and jetsam @ whetsam? (darraghmac), Wednesday, 18 December 2013 00:50 (seven years ago) link

i think Hywel Bennett is way cool mostly - there's a def 70s dramarama feel to some of the scripting acting that you'd reject in say I Claudius but they haven't completely got away from theatre school yet

i mean fuck it, it's still excellent, these are quibbles. but some of the pacing has surprised me

Noodle Vague, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 00:58 (seven years ago) link

sorry i meant "Hywel Bennett is way cool mostly in his career but not really in this"

Noodle Vague, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 00:58 (seven years ago) link

the perfect winter watch with a stiff one in hand

― christmas candy bar (al leong), Tuesday, December 17, 2013 7:05 PM (54 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I literally snickered when I read this

socki (s1ocki), Wednesday, 18 December 2013 01:00 (seven years ago) link

did u obtain much stiff one

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 01:01 (seven years ago) link

i think his characterization of ricky tarr is a bit too smug in places, hardy got the right balance of cocky followed by desperate and lost. but the material overcomes it and i think his episode at the end packs a pretty strong punch.

christmas candy bar (al leong), Wednesday, 18 December 2013 01:02 (seven years ago) link

real mature btw s1ocki, you'll note i subsequently adjusted my post

christmas candy bar (al leong), Wednesday, 18 December 2013 01:03 (seven years ago) link

;-)

christmas candy bar (al leong), Wednesday, 18 December 2013 01:03 (seven years ago) link

your version of Tarr = fair. i'm definitely not trying to run down the TV version, it's just been an interesting experience having not watched it since i was a kid compared to having read the book and watched the movie in the last 2 years

Noodle Vague, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 01:05 (seven years ago) link

Yeah i just meant in this re hywel

I reject all the act8ng in i claudius but id reconsider did you put a strong word on it

Bigsam: flotsam and jetsam @ whetsam? (darraghmac), Wednesday, 18 December 2013 01:07 (seven years ago) link

when i rewatched Claudius as an adult i was thrown by how camp and OTT it seems at first, but i think there's a few things happening there - it's meant to be theatrical and we're used to people using TV as TV - not a defence as such but worth remembering; the whole story is a sick soap opera thru every iteration, TV and Graves and Suetonius are satirising the fuck out of the protagonatists; once you get used to the ripeness of the style there's a load of fantastic moments, especially jokes and surprise subtlety in the acting. you have to take it on its own terms and eventually it shd click, but if not maybe read the books first cos they do very similar tricks but without the Rep shtick

Noodle Vague, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 01:15 (seven years ago) link

Ill have a beastly time convincing herself but

Bigsam: flotsam and jetsam @ whetsam? (darraghmac), Wednesday, 18 December 2013 01:18 (seven years ago) link

i'm a big believer in "if it's not happening then fuck it" but

Noodle Vague, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 01:19 (seven years ago) link

Nah tbh it was kneejerk from us both based on channel hop glimpse

Bigsam: flotsam and jetsam @ whetsam? (darraghmac), Wednesday, 18 December 2013 01:26 (seven years ago) link

Saw the Beeb adaptation on DVD about five years ago and love it like most however just hated how it wasn't one-a-week re-screen.

Missed it last night as I was at a gig (and was considering cutting off the 2nd half to watch this), loved the EP with Smiley and Jim walking around fields and standing in hotel rooms as Jim recounts his ordeal in Czecho. Really it might be a long time before we see anybody put any faith in the audience being asked to sit watching two guys walking around a field for 10 mins, never mind 45.

Also love the end credits music so much. Do stay until that is finished with.

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 10:21 (seven years ago) link

I think I watched the DVD over two nights but its savagery not to have as a one EP a week thing on TV, even if it is so much hogwash I was all pissed off at this halfway house scheduling. How much better it would've been to see the last EP on xmas eve? You know I'm right.

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 10:25 (seven years ago) link

absolutely right. i think it's a plot to make me fork out for the DVD

the five people you meet in Hedon (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 18 December 2013 10:37 (seven years ago) link

I could praps save you the trouble wink wink

Bigsam: flotsam and jetsam @ whetsam? (darraghmac), Wednesday, 18 December 2013 10:38 (seven years ago) link

thanks dude but i'll hang on for now too much Xmas nonsense to think about this week

the five people you meet in Hedon (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 18 December 2013 10:41 (seven years ago) link

I got my DVD out from the library for a v tiny fee *flicks V-sign at those capitalist BBC fuckers*

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 10:43 (seven years ago) link

Only realised the other day that Arthur Hopcraft not only adapted TTSS, but also wrote The Football Man

Ward Fowler, Monday, 30 December 2013 12:32 (seven years ago) link

four months pass...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyxDVCb3ky4

o_O

caek, Wednesday, 21 May 2014 17:44 (six years ago) link

fuck everything

the only thing worse than being tweeted about (darraghmac), Wednesday, 21 May 2014 17:53 (six years ago) link

so Caine turns out to be the villain because he can't bear to let oiks join his gang

coign of wantage (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 21 May 2014 20:36 (six years ago) link

but come come the relief when I realised firth wasn't playing smiley

the only thing worse than being tweeted about (darraghmac), Wednesday, 21 May 2014 20:45 (six years ago) link

i am going to be charitable and acknowledge that i am not the target audience for this film

coign of wantage (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 21 May 2014 20:47 (six years ago) link

altho wdn't it be funny to acquire the rights to one of Le Carre's books and do that to it?

coign of wantage (Noodle Vague), Wednesday, 21 May 2014 20:47 (six years ago) link

I honestly thought at first that it was a reboot of The Spy Who Came In From The Cold

nitro-burning funny car (Moodles), Wednesday, 21 May 2014 20:51 (six years ago) link

hopefully mark strong and colin firth will have a healthier relationship in this flick than in ttss

jbn, Thursday, 22 May 2014 00:44 (six years ago) link

They had the healthiest relationship in TTSS! and, in the end, the most honest one.

Insane Prince of False Binaries (Gukbe), Thursday, 22 May 2014 01:12 (six years ago) link

would be great if the kid turned out to be a total jackass

socki (s1ocki), Monday, 26 May 2014 15:34 (six years ago) link

or bill haydon

caek, Monday, 26 May 2014 15:51 (six years ago) link

exactly.

socki (s1ocki), Monday, 26 May 2014 16:42 (six years ago) link

i dont get why people are so negative these days i get you want good entertainment but wait till the reviews and the movie ACTUALLY come out smh.... people are just tooo negative its the trailer not every trailers does the movie justice it could be a lot better than expected truth be told the only thing to me that could bring the movie down would an over done cheesy romance that came out the blue im not a fan of those anymore they drag the story down but other than that give it a chance. i know its all opinion and subjective but it seems it could be good.

christmas candy bar (al leong), Monday, 26 May 2014 16:59 (six years ago) link

^^^ pvmic

socki (s1ocki), Monday, 26 May 2014 19:30 (six years ago) link

I watched this on an airplane

Then I read the wiki plot summary when I landed

Which was probably the best way to go tbh

, Tuesday, 3 June 2014 03:00 (six years ago) link

now the bbc series

dn/ac (darraghmac), Tuesday, 3 June 2014 03:02 (six years ago) link

It's good? Yeah?

, Tuesday, 3 June 2014 03:03 (six years ago) link

incredible

dn/ac (darraghmac), Tuesday, 3 June 2014 03:05 (six years ago) link

every winter I break out the DVD set of the bbc series and just work through it. so great.

christmas candy bar (al leong), Tuesday, 3 June 2014 03:11 (six years ago) link

Probably my most rewatched series DVD.

Is the BBC series of a Perfect Spy any good?

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Tuesday, 3 June 2014 03:14 (six years ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZgTRl3lj78

if you find that this type of thing is the type of thing you like etc

dn/ac (darraghmac), Tuesday, 3 June 2014 04:10 (six years ago) link

eleven months pass...

if anyone is looking for an "american version" of TTSS, david quammen's "the soul of viktor tronko" is a fictionalized version of the yuri nosenko defection and very good and readable in a le carre kind of way

max, Saturday, 16 May 2015 20:50 (five years ago) link

also i re-read the looking glass war and i take back it being boring. i mean its boring in the way le carre is boring, and its very overdramatic at the end, too much oh the humanity as people complain about upthread, but it gets the dilapidated upper middle class bureaucrats stuff really well

max, Saturday, 16 May 2015 20:51 (five years ago) link

two months pass...

watched movie again, thread was too harsh on it imo

irl lol (darraghmac), Monday, 10 August 2015 16:59 (five years ago) link

liked it a lot; but haven't read book or seen series so most of thread discussion on it = ?, shrug

drash, Monday, 10 August 2015 19:24 (five years ago) link

seven part BBC series.

go on, now. I'll wait.

irl lol (darraghmac), Monday, 10 August 2015 19:25 (five years ago) link

ok. hold on, shdn't take me long

drash, Monday, 10 August 2015 19:30 (five years ago) link

uh that was three minutes ago you were told

irl lol (darraghmac), Monday, 10 August 2015 19:31 (five years ago) link

watched the movie again too. have seen it half a dozen times now i think. if i have nits to pick it's only because it is less good than the novel or TV series - it's fine as a movie tho. weirdly the pace of it feels a lot faster now than when i saw it in the cinema, lot of abrupt scene jumps

the lion tweets tonight (Noodle Vague), Monday, 10 August 2015 20:06 (five years ago) link

yeah agreed on rewatch.

irl lol (darraghmac), Monday, 10 August 2015 20:10 (five years ago) link

...brb...

drash, Tuesday, 11 August 2015 00:38 (five years ago) link

two months pass...

getting ready for my annual rescreen

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCm3IrscqH8

nomar, Thursday, 5 November 2015 23:56 (five years ago) link

Tom Hardy wishes he was Hywel Bennett every day of his life

systems drinking (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 5 November 2015 23:57 (five years ago) link

watched the bbc series of this for the first time y'day mainly due to the praise given to it by dmac and NV. my word it was a terrific way to spend a saturday. halfway through smiley's people today. good work guys.

pandemic, Sunday, 8 November 2015 18:54 (five years ago) link

It's awesome to me that there are still people experiencing this 36 year old tv miniseries for the first time. Glad you enjoyed it!

too young for seapunk (Moodles), Sunday, 8 November 2015 19:03 (five years ago) link

Rah but iirc it was this thread and NV pointed me the way of the BBC version also

It is so brilliant, one of the most perfectly conceived tv series in history. But no way does Ricki Tarr turn into early 90's Shelley :(

xelab, Monday, 9 November 2015 00:55 (five years ago) link

mini series is so classic and i think also the least sexualized piece of art ever produced

lag∞n, Monday, 9 November 2015 00:56 (five years ago) link

Watched episode six today, opens with Smiley meeting Jerry Westerby (Joss Ackland) - who had voiced suspicions a year earlier - at the bar. Smiley brings them back up. Anyway, there's something almost unbearably great about these meetings in TTSP - people feeling out each other, or rather people feeling out Smiley, playing at jolly old fellows, stuck up sceptics - soon enough opening up and giving him what he wants, or at least some honest truth. There's talk, nervous ticks and smiles - and at the end you're nearly almost left with the feeling you watched the performance of some thoroughly lonely, hollowed thing, grasping for any companionship. And you chuckle and you tear up. And Ackland does so much here in just the first few minutes.

abcfsk, Monday, 9 November 2015 20:48 (five years ago) link

Yeah Auckland really males an impression in his few scenes

four months pass...

anyone watching the night manager?

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Tuesday, 22 March 2016 16:45 (five years ago) link

something with both Tom Hiddleston + Hugh Laurie in it? I'd end putting my head through the television.

calzino, Tuesday, 22 March 2016 16:51 (five years ago) link

o nice gon check it out

lag∞n, Tuesday, 22 March 2016 18:39 (five years ago) link

The Night Manager recap: episode one – as sexy and sumptuous as TV gets

It’s got revolution, respectful sex and a hospitality professional who looks set to thwart international arms dealing without even dislodging his tie pin. No wonder it’s the spy thrillers that get the big budgets

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Tuesday, 22 March 2016 19:29 (five years ago) link

yeah surprisingly into it

woof, Tuesday, 22 March 2016 19:33 (five years ago) link

will watch any le carre adaptation

lag∞n, Tuesday, 22 March 2016 19:34 (five years ago) link

I watched the movie for the first time, and while I really liked it, one thing bugged me a lot... I haven't read the book, so maybe it's better explained there? What I'm talking about is how Smiley figures out what the whole Polyakov/Witchcraft thing really is (a setup by Karla) and what it's ultimate goal is (to feed false intel to Americans that gets "confirmed" as genuine by MI6). He seems confident enough in his theory to get angry at the minister (his superior) who still believes in Witchcraft, yet we never see him discovering any evidence that would make him suspect Polyakov is anything else than what Alleline thinks he is. Sure, once he finds out the mole has been in contact with Polyakov, it becomes evident that Polyakov is a triple agent, because otherwise the mole would've informed on him to Karla, and the whole Witchcraft operation would've ended. But Smiley makes his grand statement to the minister before the scene where we find out all four mole suspects know who Polyakov is and are in regular contact with him. (Previously it was implied only Alleline knew who was behind Witchcraft; if Smiley presumed that this was the case, and Alleline wasn't the mole, then the mole wouldn't have been able to burn Polyakov.)

Tuomas, Tuesday, 29 March 2016 08:52 (five years ago) link

loved NGHTMGR

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 29 March 2016 10:53 (five years ago) link

Yeah it was great despite a couple of plotting clangers that can probably be attributed to Le Carre not really understanding modern technology.

Even allowing for the alarm system, it was a bit weird that Roper kept his top secret arms documents in an unlocked desk drawer when he was fully capable of getting a safe.

Matt DC, Tuesday, 29 March 2016 12:08 (five years ago) link

no cameras anywhere in mallorca either, but hey

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 29 March 2016 12:24 (five years ago) link

two weeks pass...

So I watched the BBC series, and liked it immensely, though it didn't really answer the question I asked above: how does Smiley figure out what Witchcraft really is? We never really see him uncovering any evidence towards that, so I guess we're supposed to think it's an educated guess, but it seems he's taking a huge risk based on that guess, making the Circus leaders + the Minister + anyone else who believed in Witchcraft look like fools.

There's one little detail that bugged me in the TV series: the small oil painting at Smiley's house. When Haydon visits Smiley's home, he comments that the painting wasn't there before, and Smiley says he bought it recently, and Haydon says he likes it a lot. And then in the final episode, when it's all over, there's a scene where Smiley is looking at the painting pensively. It seems to me the painting was some kind of signifier for the Smiley/Haydon/Ann triangle drama, but was the more than that to it? I couldn't quite see what the painting depicted (some kind of a pastoral scene?), is it a well-known image or something?

Tuomas, Monday, 18 April 2016 07:22 (four years ago) link

It was a painting of witchcraft being a setup

Daithi Bowsie (darraghmac), Monday, 18 April 2016 07:50 (four years ago) link

Lol!

Tuomas, Monday, 18 April 2016 08:50 (four years ago) link

did haydon paint the painting

conrad, Monday, 18 April 2016 09:19 (four years ago) link

I think in the book it's a group of pottery figures representing a love triangle?

Never changed username before (cardamon), Monday, 18 April 2016 09:39 (four years ago) link

the painting is a Corot iirc but there's nothing more specific than that - its only signification is that it's expensive as a gift from Anne?

The point where Smiley is able to link Witchcraft and the rotten apple is only dramatically explicit in the book (it's a great moment of realisation, the bit where everything unfolds for Smiley), implicit in the TV and missed entirely in the film i think. it's the thing that bothers me most with the adaptations, because it's critical how Smiley gets there: detection through paperwork. I can't remember the details of the book reasoning.

Fizzles, Monday, 18 April 2016 11:53 (four years ago) link

I see that someone asked this same question on the IMDb forum for the series, and here's how someone else answered it:

The business with Tarr and Merlin is complicated, and it’s easy to miss its significance.

• After Tarr flees Lisbon and hides out in Marseilles, Karla is desperate to shut him up. After using Witchcraft to discredit him at the Circus, Karla sends people to look for Tarr.

• Tarr, realizing that he’s being looked for, decides it’s time to come in from the cold. In order to protect his daughter and his daughter’s mother, he sets up a diversion: He secures travel bookings to London for them in the name of “Poole,” to match his own false identity, which he knows is blown. He then gives them the false Swiss papers that he had on him when he went to Lisbon and sends them to an entirely different destination. At this point, the only people in the world who associate the “Poole” travel bookings with Tarr are the Russians.

• In Guillam’s meeting with Alleline et al, he learns that Merlin is relating the “Poole/Tarr family to London” story to the Circus as a way of further discrediting him before he gets to anyone at the Circus. This draws a direct line between Merlin and Karla.

The rest of it is a result of Smiley’s reading of the history of Witchcraft, and his realization from that of how Witchcraft serves the needs of Moscow Centre. While this is the subject of an entire chapter of the novel, the whole thing is explained in a single brief scene in the TV series, and not at all in the recent film. It’s not really surprising that it wasn’t really clear.

The person wrote this is correct that it's not very clear in the series, and not explained at all in the movie. There's no scene where Smiley would connect all these dots, so his claim that Witchcraft is linked to the mole seems to come out of nowhere.

Tuomas, Monday, 18 April 2016 12:13 (four years ago) link

Do we have a thread on Night Manager?

They did a good job on it, despite/because/whatever studding it with big star actors and glamming it up

Never changed username before (cardamon), Monday, 18 April 2016 21:14 (four years ago) link

four weeks pass...

still no thread afaik but I'm watching it now on AMC and enjoying it

μpright mammal (mh), Monday, 16 May 2016 14:31 (four years ago) link

(The Night Manager, that is)

μpright mammal (mh), Monday, 16 May 2016 14:31 (four years ago) link

good menswear

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 16 May 2016 16:43 (four years ago) link

pvmic

μpright mammal (mh), Monday, 16 May 2016 19:40 (four years ago) link

although the scene in the most recently aired episode had hiddleston's character being sized up by a tailor and the dimensions read off made me think, damn that is one fit dude

μpright mammal (mh), Monday, 16 May 2016 19:42 (four years ago) link

I think it was like 41" chest, 32" waist

μpright mammal (mh), Monday, 16 May 2016 19:42 (four years ago) link

All fine attributes for modelling men's underwear and boat racing season, but not significant qualities in a half decent actor.

calzino, Monday, 16 May 2016 21:07 (four years ago) link

or modelling t-shirts
http://assets.elleuk.com/gallery/23464/tom-hiddleston-elle-feminism-t-shirt__large.jpg

calzino, Monday, 16 May 2016 21:10 (four years ago) link

Guinness & Co rule, Hurt & Co drool

normcore strengthening exercises (benbbag), Monday, 16 May 2016 23:25 (four years ago) link

two weeks pass...

lol http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com/2016/06/sedative/

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Thursday, 2 June 2016 21:39 (four years ago) link

pretty sure I've used those shows in much the same way many times

Al Moon Faced Poon (Moodles), Thursday, 2 June 2016 21:41 (four years ago) link

although I often don't make it into bed before falling asleep

Al Moon Faced Poon (Moodles), Thursday, 2 June 2016 21:41 (four years ago) link

confession: I didn't finish the blu ray set of the original series. Love the book, the movie is okay-to-good, I didn't feel like the miniseries was leaps and bounds beyond it (aside from having more time to fit material in) and both pale in comparison to the novel.

Kiarostami bag (milo z), Thursday, 2 June 2016 21:47 (four years ago) link

one month passes...

mini series owns so hard

lag∞n, Thursday, 14 July 2016 20:56 (four years ago) link

i liked the night manager alot tho agree w whoever said it was unnecessarily sexed up, especially the scene where they demo the weapons by shooting multiple airplanes out of the sky was very silly

lag∞n, Thursday, 14 July 2016 20:58 (four years ago) link

xp otm otm otm fu "karl malone" morelike karla moron

poor fiddy-less albion (darraghmac), Thursday, 14 July 2016 20:59 (four years ago) link

Lol i was so busy linking that i didnt notice it was milo

i dont have a milo/ttss joke

poor fiddy-less albion (darraghmac), Thursday, 14 July 2016 20:59 (four years ago) link

Someone start a Night Manager thread plz, it is completely disrespectful to mention that garbage on this thread.

calzino, Thursday, 14 July 2016 21:00 (four years ago) link

its by the same author

lag∞n, Thursday, 14 July 2016 21:26 (four years ago) link

I am not being completely serious, but he is a terrible writer and i didn't notice this thread was about the movie - rather than the two brilliant series.

calzino, Thursday, 14 July 2016 21:31 (four years ago) link

also*

calzino, Thursday, 14 July 2016 21:35 (four years ago) link

yeah night manager was trash

grudging respect for the sun's "tinker taylor snogs a spy"

r|t|c, Friday, 15 July 2016 11:59 (four years ago) link

at least there was some comedy relief added in the ep where TH is developing his drug dealer/tough guy back story or Colman's Yorkshire accent throughout.

calzino, Friday, 15 July 2016 13:30 (four years ago) link

actually her accent isn't funny it is just very bad.

calzino, Friday, 15 July 2016 13:32 (four years ago) link

I liked Night Manager but it was sooo lightweight

mh, Friday, 15 July 2016 14:39 (four years ago) link

no love for house md smh

lag∞n, Friday, 15 July 2016 16:26 (four years ago) link

nine months pass...

I was just listening to a really compelling episode of R4 series Document about Eric Roberts - the MI5 op who uncovered a large network of 5th Column fascists in wartime England. The MI5 fucked him off in the cold war years when he was in Vienna, possibly because of his grammar school background - they probably thought he was a Soviet mole. After which he went into a complete ILXer style huff and followed it up by emigrating to Canada!

calzino, Saturday, 22 April 2017 23:04 (three years ago) link

Is that downloadable, sounds just the ticket for my drive today

virginity simple (darraghmac), Sunday, 23 April 2017 07:55 (three years ago) link

I'm not sure if it's downloadable but link is here.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b061qzwt

calzino, Sunday, 23 April 2017 08:55 (three years ago) link

one month passes...

i had to make a gif for this

https://i.makeagif.com/media/5-25-2017/W8XGiW.gif

nomar, Thursday, 25 May 2017 00:44 (three years ago) link

It is perfect.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 25 May 2017 00:53 (three years ago) link

Best moment of the series

Moodles, Thursday, 25 May 2017 01:54 (three years ago) link

😍

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 25 May 2017 02:32 (three years ago) link

two months pass...

R.I.P. Ricki Tarr :/

nomar, Thursday, 3 August 2017 16:43 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

Park Chan-Wook is making his TV debut directing a John Le Carré adaptation starring Alexander Skarsgard and Michael Shannon?! pic.twitter.com/N4mRAvQOPi

— sonia saraiya (@soniasaraiya) August 21, 2018

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Tuesday, 21 August 2018 22:20 (two years ago) link

fuckin all right

faculty w1fe (silby), Tuesday, 21 August 2018 22:21 (two years ago) link

doesnt sound too shabby

sprout god (lag∞n), Wednesday, 22 August 2018 00:39 (two years ago) link

hi lag∞n!

The Silky Veils of Alfred (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 22 August 2018 00:48 (two years ago) link

haay

sprout god (lag∞n), Wednesday, 22 August 2018 00:54 (two years ago) link

two months pass...

watching again (movie) and rly its excellent

lie back and think of englund (darraghmac), Sunday, 4 November 2018 21:41 (two years ago) link

the little drummer girl is pretty good so far

la bébé du nom-nom (bizarro gazzara), Sunday, 4 November 2018 21:54 (two years ago) link

ilm

lie back and think of englund (darraghmac), Sunday, 4 November 2018 22:05 (two years ago) link

This is my comfort movie

I have measured out my life in coffee shop loyalty cards (silby), Monday, 5 November 2018 03:07 (two years ago) link

have u watched the mini series

lag∞n, Monday, 5 November 2018 04:04 (two years ago) link

Do we all love the BBC’s Smiley’s People? I love the BBC’s Smiley’s People. That and Tinker Tailor I’ll watch at least once per year.

chinavision!, Monday, 5 November 2018 13:44 (two years ago) link

its great but its a step below TTSS tbf

lie back and think of englund (darraghmac), Monday, 5 November 2018 14:12 (two years ago) link

I know that TTSS is all about claustrophobic offices etc but it really is fun to see smiley hopping around Europe a bit.

chinavision!, Monday, 5 November 2018 14:14 (two years ago) link

Lagoon I’ve seen the miniseries but it came from the library. I’d probably rewatch that a ton too if it were available digitally.

I have measured out my life in coffee shop loyalty cards (silby), Monday, 5 November 2018 15:23 (two years ago) link

i think its on youtube if thats not a major turnoff

lie back and think of englund (darraghmac), Monday, 5 November 2018 15:36 (two years ago) link

Don't know if anyone on here can answer this, but is the movie version in any way comprehensible to people who have neither read the book nor seen the miniseries? It barely made sense to me, and I felt that was only helped by my familiarity with the story.

Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Monday, 5 November 2018 15:54 (two years ago) link

The movie was the first form I consumed this in and I found it comprehensible even though it was highly elliptical.

I have measured out my life in coffee shop loyalty cards (silby), Monday, 5 November 2018 16:19 (two years ago) link

the bern episode of smiley's people is top 3 of the 12 IMO

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 5 November 2018 16:50 (two years ago) link

ive seen the movie a few times, the miniseries twice and read the book and last night i knew what was happening but at two key stages i didnt know how smiley knew what he knew

but im no smiley tbf

lie back and think of englund (darraghmac), Monday, 5 November 2018 16:57 (two years ago) link

The movie cuts a complicated plot down to the bone. Spy intrigue as impressionistic dream logic.

Mario Meatwagon (Moodles), Monday, 5 November 2018 17:01 (two years ago) link

the answer is FLUCHT NACH VORN, toby is the man who spotted it

(it translates as smiley saying "fuck it, let's to it and be legends")

mark s, Monday, 5 November 2018 17:02 (two years ago) link

I just started reading Little Drummer Girl, hope it's good because it's much longer than I expected.

change display name (Jordan), Monday, 5 November 2018 17:12 (two years ago) link

it's bad

mark s, Monday, 5 November 2018 17:14 (two years ago) link

women are a mystery to him in a bad way

(TV can sort this out possibly)

mark s, Monday, 5 November 2018 17:14 (two years ago) link

TV show is good so far although the dialogue feels weirdly modern and incongruous.

Matt DC, Monday, 5 November 2018 17:16 (two years ago) link

Also they keep deciding to go up to the Acropolis for no reason other than to go "look, we're at the Acropolis!"

Matt DC, Monday, 5 November 2018 17:16 (two years ago) link

isn't that the exact same reason everyone goes to the acropolis tho?

mark s, Monday, 5 November 2018 17:17 (two years ago) link

y'all brits can see the best stuff what you pillaged iirc

I have measured out my life in coffee shop loyalty cards (silby), Monday, 5 November 2018 17:38 (two years ago) link

Spy intrigue as impressionistic dream logic.

This gets at exactly what I love about this movie. My platonic ideal of this kind of story has a rigidly coherent internal logic that is nevertheless inaccessible to the reader/viewer and only reveals itself in suggestion.

ryan, Monday, 5 November 2018 17:47 (two years ago) link

(There's a possible metaphysical suggestion as well in that kind of structure--in that solving a mystery probably does involve, at some point, a mysterious intuitive leap, spontaneously making sense out of nonsense, etc.)

ryan, Monday, 5 November 2018 17:52 (two years ago) link

watching again (movie) and rly its excellent

― lie back and think of englund (darraghmac), Sunday, November 4, 2018 1:41 PM (yesterday)

i watched it again last week, and it was better than I remembered. I liked the miniseries better, but the movie was more aesthetic, the way movies tend to be, esp. vs. 20th century TV.

sarahell, Monday, 5 November 2018 18:22 (two years ago) link

Also, slightly off topic, I've always wondered whether the show MI-5/Spooks was paying homage to this when they introduced the character of Connie, who initially seemed modeled on Connie from TTSS

sarahell, Monday, 5 November 2018 18:24 (two years ago) link

My favorite thing about Le Carre is that most of his books are told in flashback/retrospect, so there's this overwhelming fatalistic "nothing to be done about it now, just clean up the mess" vibe which is very appealing to me as a middle-aged man.

grawlix (unperson), Monday, 5 November 2018 18:37 (two years ago) link

One aspect of TTSS I really enjoy is the distance between Ricki Tarr’s self-image as a master spy and the reality of him as a fuckup.

omar little, Monday, 5 November 2018 18:41 (two years ago) link

i feel like in the Le Carre world, many characters have that aspect

sarahell, Monday, 5 November 2018 18:45 (two years ago) link

the miniseries is atmospheric but it does suffer in a non-charming way from bbc ca.1980 production values.

i think in some ways i prefer the movie. but although oldman is not ... miscast ... he's totally forgettable (i guess that's deliberate via acting)

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 5 November 2018 18:48 (two years ago) link

ok but he gets the One Massive Big Thing he needs to get right (and that's what smiley spots and it's why he knows the things he knows that deems couldn't work out why he knows them)

(not least: if tarr had in fact been the tar-baby that karla sent to smoke out merlin, they'd have picked someone who was less of a fuckup)

it does suffer in a non-charming way from bbc ca.1980 production values

sir our friendship ends here

mark s, Monday, 5 November 2018 18:51 (two years ago) link

i kinda feel like the forgettable quality gets at the essence of Smiley and that type of figure in Le Carre's work. I mean, in terms of espionage, you want to be forgettable, you don't want the enemy to be able to read you, think you are significant, or remember much about you, in order to avoid capture.

sarahell, Monday, 5 November 2018 18:51 (two years ago) link

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1600/1*luLXOCVtodcB3MvHRl359A.png

me and my pals goofin off

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 5 November 2018 18:52 (two years ago) link

I was just thinking, WTF happened to Tomas Alfredson anyway? Then I remembered lol The Snowman

wayne trotsky (Simon H.), Monday, 5 November 2018 18:54 (two years ago) link

oof yeah that was a rough landing :(

i want donald duck to scream into my dick (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 5 November 2018 18:57 (two years ago) link

I agree w/you on Tarr getting the info and he’s not a completely unresourceful amateur, but he winds up in way over his head and thoroughly unprepared for the enemy coming at him, which is at odds with the suavity and confidence he exhibits in the early going. All he can do at a certain point is escape and sneak back into England.

omar little, Monday, 5 November 2018 18:58 (two years ago) link

I think sarahell gets at that point a bit too, Ricki is a bit flashy and reckless when he should be a bit more low key.

omar little, Monday, 5 November 2018 18:59 (two years ago) link

bold who does it best:

PRIDEAUX: Ian Bannen vs Mark Strong (tie)
CONTROL: Alexander Knox vs John Hurt
SMILEY: Alec Guiness vs Gary Oldman
ALLELINE: Michael Aldridge vs Toby Jones
ESTERHASE: Bernad Hepton vs David Dencik
BLAND: Terrance Rigby vs Ciaran Hinds
HAYDON: Ian Richardson vs Colin Firth (tie)
CONNIE SACHS: Beryl Reid vs Kathy Burke
GUILLAM: Michael Jayston vs Benedict Cumberbatch
WESTERBY: Joss Ackland vs Stephen Graham
LACON: Anthony Bate vs Simon McBurney
TARR: Hywell Bennett vs Tom Hardy (tie)
IRINA: Susan Kodicek vs Katrina Vasilieva
MENDEL: George Sewell vs Roger Lloyd Pack

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 5 November 2018 19:07 (two years ago) link

in the movie some of these roles had very little to do

sarahell, Monday, 5 November 2018 19:10 (two years ago) link

I mean, it's up there with ranking best portrayals of "Henchman #3" in Die Hard movies

sarahell, Monday, 5 November 2018 19:10 (two years ago) link

if there were a die hard tv series in which they were permitted to spread their wings yes

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 5 November 2018 19:12 (two years ago) link

hepton is the main flaw in the TV SP i think

i don't really agree re hinds vs rigby but the character is such an unsketched nullity even in the book that it's mainly bcz i think i took against some character hinds played in something

mark s, Monday, 5 November 2018 19:12 (two years ago) link

sure! but like Bland's part in the movie was the equivalent of Henchman #3 in a Die Hard movie

sarahell, Monday, 5 November 2018 19:13 (two years ago) link

lol i think it's the villain in lara croft: tomb raider – the cradle of life

xp

mark s, Monday, 5 November 2018 19:14 (two years ago) link

fuck that guy

mark s, Monday, 5 November 2018 19:15 (two years ago) link

GUILLAM: Michael Jayston vs Benedict Cumberbatch

but this, yes, yes, yes

sarahell, Monday, 5 November 2018 19:15 (two years ago) link

As in Jayston was way better

sarahell, Monday, 5 November 2018 19:16 (two years ago) link

word. that comparison really brings home how uncharismatic cumberbatch is (in everything).

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 5 November 2018 19:16 (two years ago) link

I think when I initially saw the casting, I had hoped Cumberbatch would play Ricky Tarr or Percy -- like, he's fine being a smug prat that gets his comeuppance

sarahell, Monday, 5 November 2018 19:18 (two years ago) link

joss ackland is so perfectly cast, and i'd watch him read the phonebook. not sure he'd have been able to sustain it for a miniseries of the honorable schoolboy though.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 5 November 2018 19:20 (two years ago) link

it's year since i read honourable schoolboy -- bcz it's not very good -- but iirc westerby comes across quite a lot younger than someone ackland could reasonably play

(i think the character is written somewhat ambiguously agewise and lecarre felt he could spin him out into something where he definitively was younger)

mark s, Monday, 5 November 2018 19:24 (two years ago) link

Jayston's performance has a great balance of competence and casual blending in with hidden wariness vs Cumberbatch's performance, which skews a little too far towards obvious fear and unpreparedness.

omar little, Monday, 5 November 2018 19:27 (two years ago) link

Cumberbatch has a certain theatricality that he can't hide, he's too showy for the role of someone who is supposed to be trusted by everyone on every side at any given moment.

omar little, Monday, 5 November 2018 19:29 (two years ago) link

xp - I enjoyed honourable schoolboy, but I remember next to nothing about it, so in retrospect it was probably not that great

sarahell, Monday, 5 November 2018 19:30 (two years ago) link

Actually, I vaguely recall reading it and thinking it was something Len Deighton would have written better, but I could be confusing it with another forgettable le Carre

sarahell, Monday, 5 November 2018 19:31 (two years ago) link

The Hon. Schoolboy is great!!

mick signals, Monday, 5 November 2018 19:41 (two years ago) link

id declare firth over richardson i think

lie back and think of englund (darraghmac), Monday, 5 November 2018 20:08 (two years ago) link

unfortunately firth is walking around with a huge giant pointy arrow sellotaped to his head say "obviously the mole is me"

mark s, Monday, 5 November 2018 20:15 (two years ago) link

aye the fact that he's the best known actor of any of the suspects and is the only one that has much screen time surely signals that a bit too much (id seen the bbc miniseries before i saw the film so it's hard to tell).

( ͡☉ ͜ʖ ͡☉) (jim in vancouver), Monday, 5 November 2018 20:19 (two years ago) link

aye the fact that he's the best known actor of any of the suspects and is the only one that has much screen time surely signals that a bit too much

yeah, that was one of the disappointing things about the movie

sarahell, Monday, 5 November 2018 20:25 (two years ago) link

I wasn't familiar with the story before watching the film and I didn't twig that Firth was the mole, although to be fair the main flaw with the film is that it spectacularly bad at making you care who the mole is.

Matt DC, Monday, 5 November 2018 20:25 (two years ago) link

ah its only the point in a very vague way

also toby tchoocallim has lots of screen time and has much more of a sign pointed at him

esterhazy is a dick on a few occasions and bland uh looks sinister in a few slo-mos so tbh it keeps it clean enough that way

lie back and think of englund (darraghmac), Monday, 5 November 2018 20:34 (two years ago) link

films i had recently seen toby jones in (reverse order):
captain america: the first avenger (arnim zola)
st trinian's 2: the legend of fritton's gold (bursar)
frost/nixon (swifty lazar)
w. (karl rove) (!)

so i knew it couldn't be him

mark s, Monday, 5 November 2018 20:48 (two years ago) link

(also i'd read the book abt 349852309457 times)

mark s, Monday, 5 November 2018 20:51 (two years ago) link

My god Firth and Richardson tied? I adore Ian Richardson as Haydon. Also I do really like Hepton as Esterhase. Actually one of the performances that brings the most joy when watching! I love how he adopts an English accent in TTSS but loses it for something vaguely foreign in SP.

chinavision!, Tuesday, 6 November 2018 16:14 (two years ago) link

And his insane shirts

chinavision!, Tuesday, 6 November 2018 16:17 (two years ago) link

Esterhase also really shines in the Bern scenes in SP. We see how good he is at what he does.

chinavision!, Tuesday, 6 November 2018 16:18 (two years ago) link

yeah hes a much better performance and role in sp

lie back and think of englund (darraghmac), Tuesday, 6 November 2018 16:20 (two years ago) link

firth dies better than richardson

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Tuesday, 6 November 2018 16:52 (two years ago) link

i like richardson's weird broke-neck wriggle, even though it's totally unconvincing -- it sort of suits the stupid squalor of the situation (including the fact that the air and the charm go out of the character like a leaky balloon when he stops being an actor on a stage)

mark s, Tuesday, 6 November 2018 16:56 (two years ago) link

Ok I really don’t really remember the broke neck wriggle. Have to rewatch.

chinavision!, Tuesday, 6 November 2018 17:37 (two years ago) link

three weeks pass...

binged little drummer girl over three nights and thought it was good

the absence of actual british government agents until the last act made the one representative character take on an air of imperial cynicism that you miss out in some of the other le carre adaptations because everything's coated in that cynicism from the get-go

mh, Thursday, 29 November 2018 19:14 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

Ricki Tarr, one of fiction’s great dirtbags

I have measured out my life in coffee shop loyalty cards (silby), Friday, 18 January 2019 04:09 (two years ago) link

one month passes...

Why did Alfredson's The Snowman get such terrible reviews? I thought it was okay--standard serial-killer stuff that at least looked good and maintained a kind of desolate mood.

clemenza, Monday, 4 March 2019 12:50 (two years ago) link

(Val Kilmer's pretty bad, I should add--and almost unrecognizable at first.)

clemenza, Monday, 4 March 2019 12:53 (two years ago) link

seven months pass...

According to le Carré, The Ink Factory now plans to do new television adaptations of all the novels featuring Cold War spy George Smiley — this time in chronological order. “That means that if you actually go back to the first big conspiracies in ‘The Spy Who Came In From the Cold’ you’ve got to consider how Smiley ages and how young he was at that time,” le Carré says. That would mean finding an actor who can play younger than the Smiley incarnated by Gary Oldman in the film version of “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.” Le Carré says that his sons are interested in casting the British actor Jared Harris, whose performance they all admired in the recent TV mini-series “Chernobyl.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/12/books/john-le-carre-agent-running-in-the-field.html

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Sunday, 13 October 2019 03:24 (one year ago) link

Shit, Harris would be a really good pick

omar little, Sunday, 13 October 2019 04:07 (one year ago) link

Yeah I'd be down for sure.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 13 October 2019 04:20 (one year ago) link

omg yes plz

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 13 October 2019 04:24 (one year ago) link

Understandable if interesting that he mentions Cold since a full series sweep would have to start with Call For the Dead.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 13 October 2019 04:33 (one year ago) link

tbh if you're really gonna do this why not cast multiple actors a la The Crown

Simon H., Sunday, 13 October 2019 04:43 (one year ago) link

Understandable if interesting that he mentions /Cold/ since a full series sweep would have to start with /Call For the Dead/.


a parochial british detective story with a spy thriller solution. they’d do well to start with it rather than forget it.

Fizzles, Sunday, 13 October 2019 06:49 (one year ago) link

tbh if you're really gonna do this why not cast multiple actors a la The Crown


if this means we get olivia colman as george smiley i’m all for it tbh

geraldine mcewan as the smiley in a murder of quality plz

mark s, Sunday, 13 October 2019 12:59 (one year ago) link

she's only a bit dead

mark s, Sunday, 13 October 2019 12:59 (one year ago) link

tought to improve on Spy Who Came In From the Cold film

just as the TTSS movie did nothing. noooooothing.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 13 October 2019 14:39 (one year ago) link

six months pass...

Just read The Traitor and the Spy. I’m told this is about as good as non fiction about espionage gets, and it was good! (but still nowhere near TTSS).

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 13 April 2020 15:30 (one year ago) link

i just got gifted that last week! cant wait to read

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 13 April 2020 16:05 (one year ago) link

I’ve probably already said this but Spy / Counterspy is tremendous and while almost certainly not completely true it’s totally gripping and “non-fiction” in a, uh broader sense.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Monday, 13 April 2020 16:26 (one year ago) link

The Deadly Affair is unfortunately fairly weak. Don't bother with it.

― Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:27 (eight years ago) bookmarkflaglink

this is fair advice

some nice supporting turns but they absolutely butchered smiley/anne and shouldve really left that whole strand out

steer calmer (darraghmac), Saturday, 18 April 2020 22:36 (eleven months ago) link

two months pass...

Currently listening to the audiobook of a perfect spy, read fantastically by David jayston (Peter Guillam from the tv series)

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Wednesday, 24 June 2020 05:21 (nine months ago) link

Oh I forgot to update

I finished The Traitor & The Spy and it was remarkable. I had to keep reminding myself that it was true, it was so unbelievably tense and (sometimes completely absurd!) it truly felt like a novel. Incredible stuff, highly HIGHLY recommend.

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 24 June 2020 05:45 (nine months ago) link

Truly a ripping yarn!

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Wednesday, 24 June 2020 06:00 (nine months ago) link

not read it but when it was book of the week on R4 a couple of years it caught my attention, because normally their books of the week are quite dull and this was not!

calzino, Wednesday, 24 June 2020 06:38 (nine months ago) link

years back

calzino, Wednesday, 24 June 2020 06:38 (nine months ago) link

As great as was, I was even more spellbound by, earlier Kim Philby book.

Ben Macintyre's true spy storytelling is better than almost any spy fiction. Right up there with The Traitor & The Spy, I'd recommend his Kim Philby book, A Spy Among Friends and Double Cross: the True Story of D-Day Spies.

punning display, Wednesday, 24 June 2020 20:42 (nine months ago) link

As great as was, I was even more spellbound by, earlier Kim Philby book.

punning display, Wednesday, 24 June 2020 20:43 (nine months ago) link

If you can find a copy (it's probably out of print), I really recommend Take Nine Spies by Fitzroy Maclean. It's got a great chapter about Kim Philby and another really good one about Operation Mincemeat.

Greetings from CHAZbury Park (Lily Dale), Wednesday, 24 June 2020 21:05 (nine months ago) link

Michael Jayston I think you mean, who I am delighted to see is still alive.

Future England Captain (Tom D.), Wednesday, 24 June 2020 21:14 (nine months ago) link

the Donald Maclean book, A Spy Named Orphan is a not bad read. Not much tension in it though, because the British establishment was so numb-brained back then about their posho diplomats that if "one of theirs" got shitfaced on vodka and started singing The Internationale and drunkenly telling anyone in earshot that they are a traitor, it still wouldn't be enough to arouse suspicion. whereas Gordievsky had an absolutely sadistic, switched on, paranoid evil bastard, possessed with low cunning type boss who was suspicious of all his underlings, so he is on much less borrowed time.

calzino, Wednesday, 24 June 2020 21:40 (nine months ago) link

xp no i meant david jason ha

i was staggered when i looked up the reader. he must be 1000 years old but it's an incredibly spry performance! tons of accents. can you imagine your reaction as a audiobook reader when the author creates a character originally from france with a bronx accent? admittedly the american accents aren't great, but he sounds about 50.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Wednesday, 24 June 2020 21:42 (nine months ago) link

he's 84!

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Wednesday, 24 June 2020 21:43 (nine months ago) link

looks like he's recorded lots of le carre audiobooks

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Wednesday, 24 June 2020 21:44 (nine months ago) link

He has got an excellent voice.

Future England Captain (Tom D.), Wednesday, 24 June 2020 22:00 (nine months ago) link

A Perfect Spy is a perfect book. (I read it just before lockdown, so it might be improved in memory).

remy bean, Wednesday, 24 June 2020 22:57 (nine months ago) link

watched the bbc miniseries a couple months ago and it was great and also amazing how much ~space~ there was. any recent adaptation would ratchet up the tension so much more, e.g. guillam would have had to sweat much harder when lifting documents from the circus, tarr would have been shot at, etc.

also a couple of smiley's antagonists are such *exquisite* assholes, notably alleline and (from the first episode) roddy martindale. esterhase wasn't quite up to snuff imo. and while i'll admit it's a tough role, tarr's russian girlfriend was wholly unconvincing as a legit source of information.

the string quartet ruled

mookieproof, Thursday, 25 June 2020 00:23 (nine months ago) link

Listening to the perfect spy scene in which brotherhood interviews an eccentric old catholic while surrounded by his grandchildren and wearing a “disgraceful” pullover. I’m in heaven.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Thursday, 25 June 2020 01:29 (nine months ago) link

one month passes...

did we talk about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bureau_(TV_series) anywhere?

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 3 August 2020 05:10 (eight months ago) link

Maybe. Should I binge watch this rather than going outside and enjoying the rest of summer?

lukas, Monday, 3 August 2020 05:17 (eight months ago) link

i don't know! i want to know if it's any good.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 3 August 2020 05:21 (eight months ago) link

I've binged all of those The Bureau seasons. It's somehow a huge phenomenon and casual mainstream reference point over here (in Norway).

I have actually made the "Tinker" comparison while talking about it before. There's not as much nostalgic pathos in the conversations, perhaps, but like Tinker it's brilliant at making thrilling television out of office work and careful smoking out of spies, mules and state secrets. It takes the spy work extremely seriously but it's still got plenty of larger than life characters. As a TV thriller it's one of the best.

abcfsk, Monday, 3 August 2020 08:52 (eight months ago) link

agreed. it’s tremendous. kassowitz is incredible but you’ve got other absolute giants of cinema in there too. and the operations, and the centrality of the middle east, are (from what i understand) based on very detailed research.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Monday, 3 August 2020 10:43 (eight months ago) link

Similar vein, is the 2007 adaptation of Robert Littel's 'The Company' any good?

American Fear of Scampos (Ed), Monday, 3 August 2020 11:49 (eight months ago) link

three months pass...

looks like he's recorded lots of le carre audiobooks

― 𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Wednesday, June 24, 2020 5:44 PM (four months ago) bookmarkflaglink

He has got an excellent voice.

― Future England Captain (Tom D.), Wednesday, June 24, 2020 6:00 PM (four months ago) bookmarkflaglink

now listening to jayston's TTSS. flawless performance.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Tuesday, 17 November 2020 01:06 (four months ago) link

Watched episode one