The Deadly Affair (1967) torrent download

The Deadly Affair

1967

Crime / Drama / Mystery / Romance / Thriller

6.8

Synopsis

After Charles Dobbs, a security officer, has a friendly chat with Samuel Fennan from the Foreign Office, the man commits suicide. An anonymous typed letter had been received accusing Fennan of being a Communist during his days at Oxford and their chat while walking in the park was quite amiable. Senior officials want the whole thing swept under the rug and are pleased to leave it as a suicide. Dobbs isn't at all sure as there are a number of anomalies that simply can't be explained away. Dobbs is also having trouble at home with his errant wife, whom he very much loves, having frequent affairs. He's also pleased to see an old friend, Dieter Frey, who he recruited after the war. With the assistance of a colleague and a retired policeman, Dobbs tries to piece together just who is the spy and who in fact assassinated Fennan.

Director

Sidney Lumet

Cast

James Mason
as Charles Dobbs
Simone Signoret
as Elsa Fennan
Maximilian Schell
as Dieter Frey
Harry Andrews
as Inspector Mendel
Kenneth Haigh
as Bill Appleby
Roy Kinnear
as Adam Scarr

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by vjetorix N/A

Nearly forgotten spy film worth revisiting

Much-touted mainstream entry recommended to serious spy buffs as a well-crafted, bleak treatise on perceived realities. Deeper than many other spy films, the pleasure is derived from sifting through the strata of meaning in John Le Carre's story and reveling in the fine performances and top-notch film making.

This is one of those movies where you'll recognize all the actors; Harry Andrews, Roy Kinnear, Robert Flemyng, Lynn Redgrave, David Warner, etc. One standout is Simone Signoret as Elsa, a woman without a country, who scorns Dobbs and his attempts at clearing up the death of her husband. A concentration camp survivor, Elsa has no illusions about patriotism nor allegiances in that regard, remarking to Dobbs `I am a battlefield for you… toy soldiers."

Quincy Jones plays some fun cinematic tricks with the soundtrack (Astrud Gilberto sings the theme song) and it is appropriately melancholy for the material. Director Sidney Lumet is in fine form here and through the half-light of Freddie Young's cinematography is revealed the gray world beneath our intricately constructed lives.

Reviewed by Terrell-4 7 /10

Flawed, but still an interesting adaptation of le Carre's Call for the Dead with James Mason as George Smiley, aka Charles Dobbs

For an espionage thriller I like a lot, The Deadly Affair is also one of the most frustrating. The movie is based on John le Carre's first book, Call for the Dead. It introduced his readers to George Smiley. For some reason, in addition to changing the name of the book, director Sidney Lumet changed George Smiley to Charles Dobbs (James Mason). I'll continue to call him George Smiley. The story is how this aging British spy with a quiet manner and a shrewd mind finally learns the identity of an East German spy. It starts when Smiley is asked to investigate a mid-level foreign officer, Samuel Fennan, who has been accused in an anonymous letter of being, at best, a Communist sympathizer. Smiley determines that the man is not a danger, but shortly after the man commits suicide...yet he left a wake-up call for the next morning. Smiley's boss tells him to drop it. Smiley won't, quits, and enlists the help of a retired police inspector, Mendel (Harry Andrews), to help him. Smiley meets the man's wife, Elsa Fennan (Simone Signoret), a survivor of Nazi death camps where experiments were performed on Jewish women. He knows something is off and slowly tries to identify just who is the spy, if there really was one. All this while he must deal with his younger wife, Ann (Harriet Andersson). Smiley loves Ann and she may love him, but she is a serial adulterer and all he can do, apparently, is agonize over their relationship. It doesn't help when a younger man, Dieter Frey (Maxmilian Schell) arrives on the scene from Europe. Frey worked under Smiley in some dangerous operations during WWII and Smiley sees Frey almost as a son as well as a friend. It isn't long before Smiley learns that Ann is bedding Frey. And there is still the spy for Smiley to catch.

Lumet has directed some fine movies, and he's great with actors, but he's done a lot of flawed movies, too. With The Deadly Affair, those flaws seem magnified. First, the angst and conflicts of Smiley's relationship with his wife is a major part of the story...and it's like reading an agony column over and over. Nothing changes the impression that Smiley must be impotent and that Ann is a nymphomaniac. We're given scene after scene of the two of them emotionally baring their souls without either of them willing to identify what the problem is. Second, this means that Mason and Andersson have a series of "acting" moments that brings the spy story to a screeching halt. It isn't helped that Signoret as Mrs. Fennan also is given two major, teary "acting" scenes. Her scenes help advance the plot a bit and help us understand her, but they're basically designed by Lumet to give Signoret a change to do her stuff in close-up. Third, because of all these actor moments, the film lurches from story point to story point. One moment we're getting much involved in the spy story and how Smiley is prizing out the secrets, then we stumble into a scene where good actors are given far too much opportunity to emote. Fourth, there is a gratuitous death that serves no purpose than, as in so many Sixties and Seventies films, to make the audience think they must be watching a really serious movie. Fifth, there is an obtrusive and very with-it score by Quincy Jones that says "the Sixties" loudly. It doesn't fit the quiet George Smiley at all.

Even with all this, The Deadly Affair is a favorite of mine. The mood of the movie is somber but it's not dull. The plot is clever and twisting, with a minimum of required violence. Figuring out the killer isn't too hard. Figuring out who is a spy, why and why the anonymous letter about Fennan that started everything takes some thinking. The acting, even with all the marital angst, is high caliber. James Mason as Charles Dobbs aka George Smiley gives as fine a performance as I've ever seen. He agonizes over his relationship with Ann while refusing to give up on learning the real story behind Samuel Fennan. Signoret may have been indulged by Lumet for those acting moments, but she never the less is a force to be reckoned with. Harry Andrews as Mendel is terrific as the literal and resourceful counterpoint to the cerebral and clever Smiley. All the secondary roles are well-crafted.

For trivia collectors, watch the scene in the theater when a major character, seated in the full house, is killed. On stage is the Royal Shakespeare Company performing Marlowe's Edward II. While our killing is taking place, so is the killing of Edward, played by no less than a young and unbilled David Warner.

The Deadly Affair is definitely a mixed bag. For those who admire James Mason and also early le Carre, it's worth having.

Reviewed by Karl1975 9 /10

A very fine, intelligent movie (***½ out of ****)

A complex, suspenseful, and sometimes surprisingly funny spy thriller by master director Sidney Lumet ("12 Angry Men", "Long Day's Journey Into Night", "Dog Day Afternoon", "Running on Empty"). The picture has a really brilliant cast, including James Mason, Simone Signoret, Maximilian Schell, Harriet Andersson and Harry Andrews. The photography is interesting too. Lumet and cinematographer Freddie Young used a technique called "preflashing". In his book "Making Movies" Lumet writes: "Thematically it was a film about life's disappointments. I wanted to desaturate the colors. I wanted to get that dreary, lifeless feeling London has in winter. Freddie suggested preexposing the film."

Lumet's approach in "The Deadly Affair" (1967) is perhaps even a little too realistic to make it a suspense masterpiece. But nevertheless you should really see this little gem.

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