A British agent is killed trying to get information back to England, information that mightconfirm or refute the presence of a Russian nuclear missile at a particular location in EastGermany. The British Secret Service, operating on a budget, decides to recruit a Polish civilian,offering him asylum if he will travel to East Germany to find out in person if the missile is thereor not. Much of the film is taken up by his training. Our hero is extremely cynical, and the o…lything that distinguishes him from his trainers is that he is also apathetic. The mission itselfoccupies the last half of the film, and isn’t, it must be said, terribly involving (though the acts ofviolence are very well done). It is also hampered by a deeply improbably romance. The endingthough, restores to the film to its earlier assured, understated, mordant tone.
The soundtrack is mono, but this is such a quiet film that you really don’t pine for a stereoremix. The music is clean and undistorted, and the same is true for the sound effects anddialogue. An efficient, no-frills track that gets the job done.
The print is clean and almost completely free of grain, and presented in its original 2.35:1anamorphic aspect ratio. The blacks are superb, strikingly so in the scene where the originalagent is killed. There is some slight speckling, and a bit of edge enhancement, but nothing to callthe authorities about. The colours and contrasts are good, their pale, slightly grey tinge a nicematch with the film’s tone.
Trailers for The Bedford Incident, Dr. Strangelove, Fail-Safe and ISpy. That’s it.
Though not terribly well received in the past, this early adaptation of John Le Carré isdefinitely worth a second look, and stands in marked contrast to the usual spy thriller we gettoday.
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