Gripping grit, with a perfect performance from Burton, before Liz and alcohol robbed him of his center.
Spying is a grim, desperate business that is at once boring and exciting, with dirty work behind the scenes and hardly any derring-do. This superb adaptation of John Le Carre's novel artfully conveys that sense. Audiences must have preferred the more glamorous spies like James Bond because this
film, which was one of the best ever made on the subject, failed to gather much interest at the box office. Produced and directed by Martin Ritt in Ireland and England, with some second-unit lensing in Europe, the film stars Richard Burton as a burnt-out case, a man who...