just sitting in the Family Room watching the Marlins play on a little league field in Buffalo, New York. They’re playing the Toronto Blue Jays, who are banned from their home in Canada. Guess Justin doesn’t want any sickly Americans invading his country..can’t say I blame him. The Marlins are ahead 1/0 in the bottom of the 5th. Hope they keep up their winning ways.
I’m back to talkin’ about Smiley (not done with that topic yet..What? You got an issue with the topic? Oh..ok..gonna talk about it anyway..
The movie version of Call for the Dead, retitled A Deadly Affair, Starred James Mason as George Smiley, aka Charles Dobbs. There’s a character called Elsa Fennon who’s an essential part of the plot. Simone Signoret played Elsa. Simone was considered a French national treasure in her day. Her performance as the wife of an alleged spy and survivor of the Holocaust was worth watching for her subtlety. Her dialogue pretty much came straight out of the book, which made watching her say the words even more interesting. Le Carré writes wonderful dialogue, terse and evocative. Simone handles it really well, considering that English is her second language.
I Googled Signoret, just to see if she was close to end of life when this movie was made. She had plenty of life left, almost another 20 years, working to the end. She remained married to Yves Montand, which seemed very odd for two reasons. First: Yves had an affair with Marilyn Monroe when they made a film together. Second: apparently, Yves sexually abused Simone’s daughter from her first marriage for decades. Who knows if she knew, but the first transgression with Marilyn should have been enough by itself. But maybe Simone and Yves were wed in name only..?
I started to watch The Spy Who Came in from the Cold last night prior to going to sleep. It came out in ‘65, filmed in black & white with a great sound track by a guy named Sol Kaplan. Sol had his career interrupted by the HUAC putting him on the Blacklist. The sound track for A Deadly Affair was done by Quincy Jones, and was wholly inappropriate for the film. Sidney Lumet was the director, and since it came out in ‘67, guess the suits thought a Shaft-like sound track was a good idea. It wasn’t. Also, Sidney was married to Lena Horne’s daughter, so maybe that figured into it..I’ll have to look. Yep..he was married to Lena’s daughter when he made the film.
Back to The Spy etc. Richard Burton was Alec Leamas, a man caught trying to have one last shot at redemption for an “operations man”. He participates in a setup that is supposed to sacrifice a few participants in the scheme in order to get a fellow named Mundt discredited and shot by the East Germans. Things go awry (of course) and Leamas achieves his redemption .. in a way. Burton was married to Liz Taylor at the time, so this was his atonement for her and Cleopatra. The plot of this story is far more opaque than Call for the Dead. It is also rather critical of MI5 for using and discarding people to achieve dubious ends. This notion is boldly explored in several of le Carré’s books, most notably The Little Drummer Girl and Tinker, Tailor. We can watch the author reveal more and more of his disillusion with the spy service as time progresses. He never did get over the woman in his life. Apparently still doesn’t really talk about it.
So that’s about it for that..I think I’m done with the topic..unless something else comes up.