Posted: 11/03/2011

 

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

(1979)

by Ruben R. Rosario



Now available on DVD from Acorn Media.


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Four men walk into a tiny room, each one with their own idiosyncrasies, sit down at a small table together. One of them finally speaks and say “Alright, let’s begin” and thus opens John Irvin’s adaptation of John Le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. This 7 part series follows George Smiley (Sir Alec Guinness), a former British Intelligence expert that was forced into retirement. George gets reinstated, due to the fact that a Russian spy has infiltrated the highest form of security of MI-6, or what is also known as “The Circus”. George leads the investigation to find out who the mole is and secure the intelligence leak in this riveting Cold War thriller.

John Irvin’s adaptation of this espionage thriller is a well crafted gem of a series. Irvine’s sense of direction is pitch perfect for a series like this in utilizing his casts acting abilities, effective cinematography and shooting in great locations for the maximum use of the drama built into Le Carré’s novel. Since the series isn’t heavy on action, all of these elements are used to create an enormous amount of suspense, from the very first frame, down to the last. Every single actor in the show, from Guinness’ Smiley to Ian Richardson’s Bill Haydon are top notch and take the material to another level. One of the most important things about making something during the Cold War, there must be a sense of terrifying atmosphere. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy creates this sense of atmosphere from the very beginning and never let’s up.

Acorn Media’s presentation of the show is in a full frame 4:3 aspect ratio and is presented on 3 DVD’s. There are wonderful production notes on the inner workings of adapting the book into the series, as well as an interview with Le Carré about it. With Le Carré’s history of being an actual MI-5 agent, the history and accuracy are very much real and the intricacies of a dangerous web of deception are truly frightening. Acorn Media releases this set just in time for the new adaptation by Tomas Alfredson, with another all star British cast. After watching this set, the expectations are pretty high for Alfredson to top Irvin’s classic BBC series. Highly Recommended!

Ruben R. Rosario is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Audio for Visual Media. He works as a freelance location sound mixer, boom operator, sound designer, and writer in his native Chicago. He’s an avid collector of films, comics, and anime.



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