Saturday, March 14, 2015

A good scene from a not so good film

It occurs to me that I have not had anything in my series of anti-Communist films for a little while. This one may be cheating a little not because the theme is not anti-Communist but because the film manged to get rid of that theme. You would not think that was possible with something like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy but they did it.

Both the book and the TV series (as well as a more recent radio series, I believe) dealt with the theme of Communist perfidy and treason in a reasonably straightforward fashion though the plot is anything but straightforward. Of all John le Carré's books this is morally the clearest and considerably better than the rest of the lamentable "Karla trilogy". On our side rough men might do bad things so that the rest of us sleep soundly but our side is infinitely preferable to theirs and traitors are contemptible.

Somehow, this message gets lost in the film, which seems to excise the Cold War from its plot and concentrates on personal matters, ignoring the different characters of the "three of them and Alleline" (a phrase that is never mentioned), making a huge mountain of the very slight homosexual theme in the book and changing the characters and stories of both Peter Gwillym and Jim Prideaux to an extraordinary degree without adding anything to the plot.

No, I did not like it, despite Gary Oldman's brilliant performance of Alec Guinness at the centre. The film was a huge wasted opportunity and at some later stage in this series we shall have to have a look at the now classic TV series.

There is, however, one magnificent scene in it: the Christmas party at the Circus, slightly spoilt by what somebody I know called a knee-trembler at the end but that does kind of fit in with the plot, Still, the rest of it is enjoyable.



  1. Talking about getting rid of a theme

    Tinkered, Tailored, Soldout, Sly

    Staring Michael E. Mann as Slimy Git

  2. Not related to that particular film but something interesting seems to be happening at the Kremlin at the moment.

    DEBKAfile (not exactly the most reliable source) reported that Putin had died three days back. Then the Kremlin denied it... so on that basis it MIGHT BE TRUE!!! Of course it's just as possible that he's come down with a case of man-flu and is taking a few days off.

    At the moment they're building something (a stage maybe?) in front of the Kremlin and apparently they're going to be making some sort of announcement soon. Also military units have apparently been deployed in Moscow, though without knowing what is normal for military units in Moscow I have no idea if that means anything.

    Of course some wags have suggested a simpler alternative explanation; Apparently Putin is stuck in an underground elevator and the equipment is needed to get him out! :)

    Oh well, interesting times.

  3. The rumours around Putin are multiplying but I think we would have noticed if there had been military units deployed in or around Moscow. It was one of the first things I wondered about, recalling Khrushchev's coup against his comrades and Stalin's funeral. There do not seem to have been any. The Kremlin has denied everything. He is not dead, he is not sick, he is not away with his mistress who is having his love child (really, that could have been arranged slightly more quietly). So we are left with rumours.

    1. And with one bound he's back:

    2. Well it ain't over till it's over. The rumours are not about to stop, not if I know Moscow.