Spy Who Came in from the Cold [Criterion Collection] [Blu-ray]



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Based on the novel by John Le Carre, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold stars Richard Burton as a dispirited, end-of-tether British secret agent. He comes in from "the cold" (meaning he is pulled out of field operations) to act as a undercover man behind the Iron Curtain. To make his staged defection seem genuine, Burton goes on an alcoholic toot and is imprisoned and publicly humiliated. Once he has been accepted into East German espionage circles, Burton discovers that what he thought was his mission was a mere subterfuge--and that he's been set up as a pawn for an entirely different operation. Though Ireland and England "stand in" for East Berlin, Spy Who Came In From the Cold has the air of authenticity throughout, thanks in great part to the bleak black and white photography by Oswald Morris. The film was condemned as incomprehensible by those filmgoers accustomed to the simplistic melodramatics of James Bond; seen today, the double-crosses and double-double crosses seem all too clear and credible. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Product Details

Release Date
MPAA Rating
NR -- Not rated
1 hour, 52 minutes
  • Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Blu-ray region A (North America, Central America, South America, Japan, Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia)
  • English
Video Features
  • Exclusive, wide-ranging interview with author John le Carré
  • Selected-scene Commentary featuring Director of Photography Oswald Morris
  • The Secret Centre: John le Carré, a 2000 BBC documentary on the author's life and work
  • Interview with actor Richard Burton from a 1967 episode of the BBC series Acting in the 60's, conducted by critic Kenneth Tynan
  • Audio conversation from 1985 between Director Martin Ritt and film historian Patrick McGilligan
  • Gallery of set designs
  • Trailer
  • Plus: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Michael Sragow
Number of Discs