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Directed by Martin Ritt
UK 1965

 

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.

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 16th, 1985

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Comparison:

Criterion (2-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

1) Criterion- Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 452 - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine #452
Region 'A' -Blu-ray
Runtime 1:52:12  1:52:24.988
Video 1.66:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8,24 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
1.66:1 - 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,831,507,306 bytes

Feature: 23,296,358,400 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 1.0)  LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, None English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1

Edition Details:

• New video interview with author John le Carré (39:22)
• Selected-scene commentary featuring director of photography Oswald Morris (39:02)
• The Secret Center: John le Carré (2000), a BBC documentary on the author’s extraordinary life and work (59:12)
• A 1967 interview with Richard Burton from the BBC series Acting in the 60's, conducted by film critic Kenneth Tynan (33:37)
• An audio conversation from 1985 between director Martin Ritt and film historian Patrick McGilligan Gallery of set designs (49:02)
• Theatrical trailer (1:28)
• 16-page liner notes booklet featuring a new essay by critic Michael Sragow

DVD Release Date: November 25th, 200
8
Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 14

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

Aspect Ratio:
1.66:1 - 1080P Dual-layered
Blu-ray

Disc Size: 46,831,507,306 bytes

Feature: 23,296,358,400 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

• New video interview with author John le Carré (39:00)
• Selected-scene commentary featuring director of photography Oswald Morris (39:55)
• The Secret Center: John le Carré (2000), a BBC documentary on the author’s extraordinary life and work (59:17)
• A 1967 interview with Richard Burton from the BBC series Acting in the 60's, conducted by film critic Kenneth Tynan (33:39)
• An audio conversation from 1985 between director Martin Ritt and film historian Patrick McGilligan Gallery of set designs (49:00)
• Theatrical trailer (1:29)
• 16-page liner notes booklet featuring a new essay by critic Michael Sragow

Blu-ray Release Date: September 10th, 2013
Transparent
Blu-ray Case
Chapters: 14

 

Comments:

NOTE: These Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

 

ADDITION: Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray (August 2013): The new 1080P advances substantially - evident in the screen captures. This is despite the dual-layered DVD having a strong image for that lesser format. Everything is crisper and the contrast ratchets up another notch looking more layered and bringing up the sharpness. This Blu-ray image looks very good in-motion and toggling back and forth between it and the SD - it is clearly notable giving a more film-like presentation. Criterion goes lossless with a linear PCM track and the original score by Sol Kaplan (1953's Titanic, Niagara) sounds moody and atmospheric. There are optional English subtitles and the supplements (see descriptions below) seem to mimic exactly those on the 2-disc DVD from 2008. I enjoy this film each time I see it - great to have it in this stellar HD edition.

***

ON THE DVD: 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! 

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus


Disc 2

 

Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920 X 1080 RESOLUTION

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Screen Captures

 

1) Criterion- Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion- Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion- Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion- Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion- Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion- Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion- Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Criterion- Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures


Box Covers

Distribution Criterion Collection - Spine # 452 - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine #452
Region 'A' -Blu-ray




 

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