John Le Carré’s acclaimed bestselling novel about a Cold War spy on one final, dangerous mission is every bit as precise and ruthless on-screen in this adaptation directed by Martin Ritt. Richard Burton delivers one of his career-defining performances as Alec Leamas, whose hesitant but deeply felt relationship with a beautiful librarian (Claire Bloom) puts what he hopes will be his last assignment, in East Germany, in jeopardy. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is a hard-edged and finally tragic thriller, suffused with the political and social consciousness that defined Ritt's career.
Theatrical Release: December 16th, 1985
DVD Review: Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||Criterion Collection - Spine # 452 - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 8,24 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 1.0)|
video interview with author John le Carré (39:22)
Paramount came out with a DVD of The Spy Who Came In from the Cold in 2004, available HERE in a 1.85:1 ratio and 5.1 audio. I don't own it to compare to this Criterion release. As it stands the Criterion looks pretty sweet - strong grey scale and their usual excellent contrast. Flashes of surprising detail highlight another stellar image transfer in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. The disc is dual-layered, progressive and anamorphic - coded for region 1 in the NTSC standard.
Where the Paramount offered a fake 5.1 bump, this Criterion is original mono. It has optional English subtitles.
Extras are placed on a 2nd dual-layered disc and are expectantly overflowing. There is a 40 minute new video interview with best-selling author John le Carré (ne David Cornwall) as he discusses this, this third novel, in an interview conducted exclusively for the Criterion Collection in August 2008 in the UK. He talks about the evolution of the book and his involvement in the film's production. We are treated to a 40 minute selected-scene commentary featuring director of Oscar-winning photography Oswald Morris. He discusses certain scenes and working with Martin Ritt. There are also some set designs accessible for the film. The Secret Center: John le Carré (2000), is an hour long BBC documentary on the author’s extraordinary life and work, In the program le Carré peaks of his work with the British Intelligence and his unusual childhood. A, 30 minute, 1967 interview with Richard Burton from the BBC series Acting in the 60's, conducted by film critic Kenneth Tynan exposes a thoughtful and candid young actor. There is an audio only conversation from 1985 between director Martin Ritt and film historian Patrick McGilligan Gallery of set designs lasting about 40 minutes. Disc one has a 1.5 minute theatrical trailer and there is a 16-page liner notes booklet featuring a new essay by critic Michael Sragow.
Another excellent Criterion release of a classic film - placed in their higher price tier... but worth every penny. I had an immensely enjoyable viewing experience this afternoon, but would like to each again one evening. One day I may get the Paramount to compare... but this is a film I'd love to see in Blu-ray one day!