In order to prepare myself for the upcoming theatrical release of John Le Carre’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy” I did what any excited viewer would do, I watched its predecessor, the 1979 mini-series !
(Ok, I admit this is a bit of a cheat since the real predecessor would be the book, but I can’t win em all.)
In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within the highest ranking officers of the “circus,” an elite secret service group buried deep within British Intelligence.
*Cue doom music*
In other words, the entire plot can be described in three tiny words: find the mole.
After watching the six hour mini-series, it’s easy to see how the plot could be condensed into a very tense two hour flick, but I must say, there is something to be said for the mini-series that slowly unwinds and immerses itself in the nuances of espionage. Every hint is playfully drawn out and for me, it worked. In fact, the little morsels they delved out made me latch on more, desperate to catch the next episode.
While the entire cast gives a strong performance, the one that stands out is Alec Guinness as George Smiley, who perfects the quiet and somewhat weary secret agent. While, you can never quite guess what he’s thinking or where’s he heading as he gradually draws out information, bit by bit , you never question his motive, loyalty or his intelligence.
So, if you’re in the mood for some quick espionage action, you might have better luck with the theatrical release, but I guarantee once you start watching the mini-series, you won’t be able to stop.
The DVD set, out by Acorn Media, includes some cool bonus features with a 28 minute interview and biography of the novelist himself, John Le Carre. And also features production notes from the mini-series and biographies of the cast.. The set isn’t action packed with a lot of extras but it doesn’t really need to be. The episodes do really speak for themselves.