STORY – 1
DIRECTOR – 1
ACTOR – 1
MUSIC – 0
CULT – 1
VERDICT – 4/5
1) A meta spy-thriller beyond the guessing capacity of viewers. The lead characters of the story are a merely expendable pawns in the great game.
2) MI6 plant their agent Leamas in HVA to implicate a German officer (Mundt). But in reality, Mundt is himself an MI6 informant, and the entire plan was to get rid of another German officer (Fiedler) as he was getting too suspicious of Mundt. Leamas and his lover Nancy were just small cogs in the grand spy machine.
3) Richard Burton’s final angry monologue on espionage to Nancy was just brilliant.
4) Leamas‘ final decision of not jumping the wall to safety signifies his exhaustion from dreadful spy-games.
Alec Leamas: I reserve the right to be ignorant. That’s the Western way of life.
Alec Leamas: What the hell do you think spies are? Moral philosophers measuring everything they do against the word of God or Karl Marx? They’re not! They’re just a bunch of seedy, squalid bastards like me: little men, drunkards, queers, henpecked husbands, civil servants playing cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten little lives. Do you think they sit like monks in a cell, balancing right against wrong? Yesterday I would have killed Mundt because I thought him evil and an enemy. But not today. Today he is evil and my friend. London needs him. They need him so that the great, moronic masses you admire so much can sleep soundly in their flea-bitten beds again. They need him for the safety of ordinary, crummy people like you and me…
Nan Perry: You killed Fiedler!
Alec Leamas: How big does a cause have to be before you kill your friends? What about your Party? There’s a few million bodies on that path!