The Deadly Affair 1967 ****

John Le Carre’s super-spy George Smiley gets a second outing after The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, but gets rechristened as Charles Dobbs due to copyright complications in Sidney Lumet’s film. Played by James Mason, Dobbs puts aside his marital discord with Ann (Harriet Andersson)  to investigate the apparent suicide of a government employee. Dobbs questions Elsa (Simon Signoret) with the help of Inspector Mendel (Harry Andrews), but she doesn’t give much away, and the reappearance of Dobb’s old espionage mate Dieter (Maximilian Schell) suggests the problem is close to home. Although the names may have been changed, Lumet’s film nails the drab surroundings and elliptical dialogue for the future George Smiley adaptations, although the funky Quincy Jones score is a bit groovier than the sophisticated story-telling requires.


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