The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

Director: Martin Ritt
Year Released: 1965
Rating: 3.0

A visibly weary and emotionally spent MI6 operative (Richard Burton, memorably grouchy) volunteers to play double agent, sneak into East Germany and get the Commies to turn against one of their leaders (Oskar Werner). Dark, sad and (intentionally) unglamorous, it acts as an inverse view of the cheery Bond universe where being a spy involves fornicating with hot bodies and drinking martinis; this is cruel and manipulative and a little flat, though it does make an attempt to bring out the shades of gray in post War Europe where both sides will do anything to win (including use their own agents as pawns). Burton is magnificent - like the Yves Montand figure in Resnais' 1966 picture La Guerre Est Finie, he's too experienced to be an optimist.