Saturday, 10 September 2011


The week has been upside down.  I have been tossed around in the sea of Venice.  Luckily I got to view Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which some Americans in front of me were moaning they did not understand a word of.  I come to it from a different view point.  I am a fan and friend of Jack English the photographer.  He is my great protector.  I saw his photographs of the set and look of the film a few months ago and I thought it was visually exciting. Gary Oldman looking very brown.
This is unlikely to be a smash hit but it has truth and honesty, except the people who I knew to be spies were slightly more glamorous, my father included.  If he was not a spy he certainly wrote in great detail about them, eg Body Guard of Lies, Treason in the blood, etc. {Anthony Cave Brown} This film is slow and if you are not confused you soon will be, like true life you do not know who to believe. The story is fairly simple although you would not know it. Based on John Le Carre's book about four men who lead the Circus a nickname for M16, one of whom is a double agent.
The BBC did a series in 1979 which was when the secret service was doing badly.  Of course the code breakers at Bletchley  had won the war for Britain thirty years before.  The history is undoubtedly fascinating. Of course when the series came out  M16 had been practically destroyed by the betrayals of Kim Philby and three other Cambridge students.  There was meant to be a fourth and a fifth, and knowing humans as we all do there were probably ten.
The subject is definitely interesting, but this is a slow paced beautiful film, that if the story does not hold you, you could fall asleep. Gary Oldman steps into the shoes of George Smiley with confidence and Tomas Alfredson assumes the 1970's well.
It is for the connoisseurs of the genre to check whether the details are correct and I am sure that they were more interesting than perhaps this ordinary portrayal.  Certainly my Father's life was exciting.
It got huge claps at the end, but how can we not love Gary Oldman, John Hurt and Colin Firth, a line up of incredible stars, with costumes that took me back to the "chocolate brown and orange" kitchen I painted in 1972.   and my Mother's  Citroen going up and down, to see the car again was a treat in itself.

Anthony Cave Brown, Treason in the Blood

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