The cold war was actually far from cold. Martin Ritt film of John Le Carre novel THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD understands this perfectly. The dark recesses of the Berlin night are replaced by the white grey of London. Alec Leamas (Richard Burton), dwells there after an asset is shot down in cold blood while trying to cross over from East to West. London now has him in her breast and a new task is asked of him. He is to be a patsy in a staged transformation Control (Cyril Cusack) is his boss and the agency’s chief. He is also the mastermind of a plan to get back at the East German spy team that killed their asset. Their target is Mundt ( Peter van Eyck), the head of the East Germans and an odious piece. Lemas will use Nan Perry, a young and idealistic member of the British Communist Party to help him in his cause. Though unwittingly.

Ritt uses sometimes bold realism to chart Leamas plummet from grace. The powerful anger which Burton could express with physical poise, underscores his fall. The slippery nature of spy craft, reveals the emptiness of the agents who serve it. Lemas is a cool character but love damages his spirit. You must concertrate though, for the ends need to be justified.  The new audio commentary with film scholar Adrian Martin aside, anyone that knows Carre, knows his world of duplicity and deceit needs to be immersive. Martin makes a case for the obvious often in his commentary but the new ground answers many hanging doubts.

And that is what THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD is. A film of doubts and destruction. Lies and lines. Eureka have served it well. The 1080p transfer has a few light and white issues certainly, but it makes the film again. In his Essay David Cairns states that, coming to it again is a revealtory experience. Mostly, that is to say, it has got better with age…


  • Limited Edition Exclusive O-Card slipcase with new artwork by artist Grégory Sacré (Gokaiju)
  • 1080p presentation on Blu-ray from a restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Uncompressed LPCM Stereo audio/Optional English SDH
  • Brand new audio commentary with film scholar Adrian Martin
  • Brand new video essay by critic and filmmaker David Cairns
  • PLUS: A 48 PAGE collector’s booklet featuring a new essay by Richard Combs; and a number of archival pieces and imagery

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.