Re: RARA-AVIS: Re:The Long Goodbye

From: Patrick King (
Date: 08 Feb 2007

Thanks, Steve. I am a big fan of LeCarr頡nd the series inspired by him. Excellent adaptations.

--- Steve Novak <> wrote:

> Dear Patrick again,
> The only time ever I found a direct, palpable
> connection between
> characters/cast, plot/eding, direction/writing,
> atmosphere/mood/set
> lighting, point of view (angles/camera
> positions/lens choice/camera movement
> such as dolly-crane-zoom...)...etc...etc...etc...was
> in the two John Le
> Carr頮oir adaptations called Tinker, Tailor,
> Soldier, Spy and Smiley¹s
> People...shot with stupendous cast, direction, art
> department.... by BBC in
> late 70¹s-early 80¹s...
> Read the books or see the series first, it doesn¹t
> matter really....
> TV series are available on Amazon, eBay, whatever
> you fancy...this is an
> absolute must on the film side...if you haven¹t read
> the books...don¹t get
> me wrong, they are a must too...
> Sylvestre (Steve) Novak
> Here¹s a review for your pleasure:
> John Le Carr駳 1974 novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
> sought to dramatise the
> sense of loss and betrayal that accompanied
> Britain's post-war
> disillusionment following the final collapse of its
> empire. It did this by
> fictionally recreating the revelations of the 1950s
> and '60s that exposed
> many of its Intelligence officers, including Kim
> Philby, Guy Burgess and
> Donald Maclean, as double agents in the employ of
> the KGB, events that
> rocked the British establishment.
> In Arthur Hopcraft's seven-part BBC adaptation,
> George Smiley returns from
> his enforced 'retirement' to spearhead a mole hunt
> that is loosely based on
> the circumstances surrounding Kim Philby's
> identification as a KGB spy at
> the heart of the British Secret Service. By
> coincidence, the miniseries'
> first showing in 1979 coincided with the
> announcement that Anthony Blunt,
> Keeper of the Queen's pictures, had also spied with
> Burgess et al for
> Moscow.
> As Smiley, Alec Guinness gives one of his finest
> performances, his seemingly
> placid and imperturbable exterior masking a seething
> mass of conflicting
> emotions, culminating with his angry realisation
> that the same man is
> reponsible for his own domestic betrayal and that of
> the Service. The long,
> complicated narrative is told largely through a
> series of interlocking
> flashbacks, which helps to locate the mindset of the
> story and its
> characters in the past, one step closer to the
> events that inspired it.
> Tinker, Tailor eventually resolves itself into a
> succession of extended
> vignettes, allowing for some finely-etched cameos
> from the likes of Joss
> Ackland, Ian Bannen, Hywel Bennett and Nigel Stock.
> Ian Richardson, as the
> ambivalent Bill Haydon, and Beryl Reid, as a
> melancholic ex-colleague of
> Smiley's now subsisting on a diet of whisky and
> memories, are especially
> good. Si⮠Phillips is also particularly sharp in
> the series' final scene as
> Smiley's unfaithful wife Ann, the mere mention of
> whom has been used
> throughout the episodes as a subtle way to impugn
> his integrity.
> Although its Cold War aspects date it (as does
> Warren Clarke's crudely camp
> caricature of a homosexual functionary), the series
> remains notable for its
> powerful performances, taut direction by John Irvin,
> and an exceptional
> music score by Geoffrey Burgon, including his
> haunting Nunc Dimittis, a
> setting of the 'Song of Simeon', sung over the end
> titles uncredited by
> chorister Paul Phoenix. The series was an immediate
> success and has been
> repeated many times since. Guinness returned in the
> sequel Smiley's People
> in 1982.
> [Non-text portions of this message have been
> removed]

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