Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tinker, Tailor ... Mossad Murphy?

I'm a little behind this week, so, sorry that everything is slow.  This post will be a short one.

Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyNumerous times when writing about Scott Murphy, I've made reference to another fictional character, George Smiley.  Originally a character in a John Le Carre spy novel, Smiley was a plain little man, in a plain little suit, who tried to offend no one, only answered questions with questions, and was no one really important.

Except that he was a spy.  He taught them, he ran them, he designed plans for them.  In some of Le Carre's books, Smiley ran the entire plot from behind the scenes, and never once made an appearance.

Many, many moons ago, three of the novels that starred Smiley were put into film.  Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy was one, as well as the sequel, Smiley's People.  Both times, it starred Alec Guiness.  A third film was made, called simply A Murder of Quality, starring Denholm Elliott .... if you've ever seen the Indiana Jones films, you might know him better as Marcus Brody, one of the sidekicks.

Now, granted, Scott Murphy has a lot of differences.  He's got all sorts of tricks and tips for committing mayhem. Just don't ask him to punch anyone ... or shoot anyone farther than ten feet away ...

So, why am I explaining all of this?

Well, because they've remade Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, with a whole bunch of interesting actors. Since Guiness is dead, he's been replaced by Gary Oldman -- who I mentioned as this generation's Alec Guines not too long ago.  Smiley's sidekick is played by one Benedict Cumberbach, who BBC fans may recall from last year's Sherlock.

Now, it should be interesting to see how they play the movie, considering the original was six hours long, though my family has estimated that three hours could have been easily sliced out due to the speed of the film (eg: see Smiley walk. Walk, Smiley, walk), or due to the fact that much of the film was told in flashbacks, and stories, and interviews. The original film was interested in the methods and mechanisms of spycraft ... if one cut out a lot of that (which is repeated over, and over, and over again), then there's the plot and the character.

We'll see how it works.

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