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The Spy Who Came In From the Cold new production

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#1 hoagy



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Posted 18 January 2017 - 09:48 PM

With John Le Carre's The Night Manager having been successfully adapted for Long Form Television, while some people yearn for a TNM sequel, the networks in GB and the USA which presented TNM announced they will produce and air Le Carre's The Spy Who Came in From the Cold...(and Loved Me -- just kidding !)


I was wondering whether they will revise the ending, but I'll bet the vast majority of today's audience knows nothing of the book or the 1966 film.


I am certain it will be in Color, this time around.


So -- let the games of Casting Speculation begin !

    Bond alumni (on-screen) in or out ?  As for off-screen alumni -- fine.  They would not be obvious.  But on screen alumni might prove too distracting.  Similarly, I highly doubt any TNM on-screen alumni would be cast for this one.

   However, WERE any Bond on-screen alumni included, any ideas of Which Actor for Which Part ?

#2 trevanian



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Posted 19 January 2017 - 12:42 AM

I'd love Dalton for Control, the speech he has in the original film is something Dalton could add even more texture to. Judi Dench for the East German judge might be going a bridge too far though.


I love the original so much that I have grave misgivings about revisiting it, but hey, I wound up loving the TINKER TAILOR feature after dreading it, so I suppose it is possible they will pull it off.

#3 chrisno1



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Posted 19 January 2017 - 01:30 AM

I am always sceptical of remakes, but I thought the recent TTSS was excellent.

I watched the '65 version of TSWCIFTC over Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed it. I guess it creaks a little with age and the movie condenses an intricate narrative into just about two hours of drama (which takes some doing) yet it is a solid piece of film making and I'd recommend it above most modern 'shoot 'em up!' thrillers - this is how the cold war was really fought - at least that is how it feels. Oswald Morris' b&w photography helps to instil a sense of dread and foreboding. And yes, that ending is brilliant, one of those true 'make-up-your-own-mind' moments. Suffice to say Richard Burton is in riveting form as Leamas. Burton - like those other great British actors Caine and Connery who took all the money and ran - is always worth a look and this is a top notch effort from him. Nice score too. Was it Johnny Dankworth? I can't recall.

I'm not sure I'd want an update. The story is very Cold War. The beauty of the Oldman Tinker Tailor etc, is it revisited a well known saga and condensed it dramatically and expertly. The characters, while not wholly sympathetic, were believable. TSWCIFTC is not well known. Leamas is an anti-hero and to see more of him on screen in an extended version might make us dislike his pervading doom-laden attitudes.    

#4 trevanian



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Posted 19 January 2017 - 01:33 PM

Sol Kaplan, who did my favorite original STAR TREK tv score for THE DOOMSDAY MACHINE, did the music for SPY WHO.


I'm not sure that there is all that much condensing/expanding with SPY, since the novel is very short compared to TINKER and others. In fact when I first saw it on TV as a teen, I remembered thinking it was a very 'literal' adaptation of the novel, that they didn't do all that much to it. It may be heresy, but the film actually made me more of a fan of the novelist, because on first read, the book didn't do it for me when I was 15 (same thing happened with the novels CHILDHOOD'S END and DUNE, though I liked them fine in my 20s -- and it's been over 4 decades since I tried to read THE HOBBIT and I still can't get through any Tolkien at all.)


Do we need to see one or more 'bad' operations for Leamas before starting the story, or make it half-and-half about Riemeck and Leamas? I don't think so, just as you don't need to show a backstory for Number 6 from before he was brought to The Village in THE PRISONER (though I guess you could say DANGER MAN covers that ground!) s

#5 hoagy



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Posted 19 January 2017 - 09:56 PM

As for the anticipated timeframe of the new production, I am sure they mean for this to be a period piece, set in its own original time.


Otherwise, what would one do to make it work in today's times ?  Move the story to the border between Mexico and the US ?  Well, there's no "wall" there, yet, if ever, and the references to "coming in from the Cold", while figurative, might lose even figurative sense when set in a place known for its heat.  Hmmm...move it to the Great Wall ?  Pick up the Asian entertainment market ?  Nah...there's already a Great Wall theatrical feature coming out soon.  (Yes, folks, this second paragraph is an attempt at humor)


No, I am pretty sure they mean for it to be a period piece, occurring in the late-50s/early 60s Cold War, right there in Berlin.


Is no one prepared to speculate on the casting of Burton's successor ?  Or on the part of he whom Leamas called, a "bastard" ?  What about the lady with whom Leamas had a soulful romantic episode ?


As for the book supporting a limited run series -- I guess "mini-series" is too 70s a term for modern use ? -- I appreciate the thoughts expressed, wondering whether it would support that many hours of airtime.  So:  Perhaps it won't be as long a program in total hours as was The Night Manager, though I doubt it, in terms of marketing and m-o-n-e-y.  Next rumination on this topic:  Did anyone who read The Night Manager think it would / would not support a 6-episode program ?  And:  Does anyone think TSWCIFTC (that REALLY is unwieldy and hardly serves to "shorten" the title for discussion purposes !) needs more action (not referring to the romantic interludes !) in the presentation ?

#6 Dustin



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Posted 03 February 2017 - 05:36 AM

I only see this now, sorry for coming late to this.

Over my head why anybody thinks it's a good idea to remake THE SPY since the original film was a perfect adaptation. As trevanian notes, the script is already a near verbatim account of the book, even improving on it by cutting a very brief character and her fate.

As le Carré adaptations go the Martin Ritt film is the gold standard, also because it was actually made at the time and not 'reimagined'. The TTSS vehicle was a recent grisly example how that can end up in looks and little actual substance, I truly hated that one.

With TNM the story deviated ever more from the book with each new episode, probably also in part to give it a distinct Bond feeling. While the beginning was an excellent introduction of the main protagonists the end is from a completely different book no reader would recognise. Doing the same to THE SPY would go far beyond the pseudo-satirical end of the modern TTSS. If they don't leave the end with Leamas and Liz on the wall intact I'd prefer them leaving alone the whole book.

Central to the whole story are Leamas and Fiedler, the two good guys of the tale. The villain Mundt doesn't appear until the end and has little actual screen time although he's from the start present and active.

Leamas in the book was fifty, a tough and seasoned spy who has seen a lot, grey haired with off-the-peg simple clothes and steel rimmed glasses. Nobody would mistake him for a gentleman - but in night clubs he would generally get the best place. Interesting that Burton was only forty when he played him. At the moment no names come to mind for Leamas, Fiedler or Mundt.