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The Deadly Affair [1966] [DVD] [2006]

James Mason , Maximilian Schell , Sidney Lumet    Suitable for 12 years and over   DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
Price: 3.97 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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The Deadly Affair [1966] [DVD] [2006] + The Tenth Man [DVD] + The Looking Glass War [DVD] [2005]
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Product details

  • Actors: James Mason, Maximilian Schell, Simone Signoret, Harriet Andersson, Harry Andrews
  • Directors: Sidney Lumet
  • Format: PAL, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Arabic, Danish, English, Finnish, French, German, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Greek, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
  • Dubbed: French, German, Italian, Spanish
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 6 Nov 2006
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,310 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Director Sidney Lumet tackles this cold war spy thriller based on a novel by master of the genre, John Le Carré. James Mason plays British secret agent Charles Dobbs, who’s puzzled by the sudden suicide of a man he’s recently investigated. The suicide seems contrary to his own findings, and Dobbs questions the recent widow (Simone Signoret) in an effort to understand the man’s state of mind. When the Foreign Office tells Dobbs to drop the inquiry, he persists, even enlisting a retired investigator when he turns up further disturbing evidence. All of this takes place while Dobbs is dealing with the news that his frequently unfaithful wife (Harriet Andersson) has been carrying on an affair with his friend and protégé (Maximilian Schell).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
71 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Call for the Dead 23 Aug 2007
By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAME TOP 100 REVIEWER
The Deadly Affair is one of the better John Le Carre screen adaptations. Based on 'Call For the Dead,' the title's not the only name change: though he's called Charles Dobbs here, James Mason is really George Smiley while Maximilian Schell's character also undergoes a name change from The Spy Who Came In from the Cold because Paramount still owned the character names. Shot in 1966, when Britain seemed to be closed due to bad weather (a look made even grimmer by Freddie Young pre-exposing the film stock to mute the colours), Sidney Lumet's low-key and very small-scale thriller works much successfully on screen than you might expect. Where many LeCarres fail because, as someone once said, they're all plot and no story, this has at its heart a fairly good mystery - why did a cabinet minister commit suicide AFTER being cleared of allegations of spying, and was it suicide or murder?

This is from that period when Mason's screen image was shifting from aggressive and domineering characters to tired and shrunken ones increasingly aware they'd lost all their battles with life and were just trying to get through life as gently and with as few vestiges of decency as they could muster. If it's overshadowed by Alec Guinness's portrayal of Smiley in the two 70s TV series which mixed cold steel with the domestic humiliation, Mason's tendency to show a man trying to keep everything on amiable and civilised terms as far as possible gives a good sense of how he ended up that way.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rather dry but not without interest 8 Jan 2011
By The CinemaScope Cat TOP 500 REVIEWER
John Le Carre was the anti-Ian Fleming. His spy novels (and the films made from them) detail the dull meticulousness of espionage rather than the fanciful excitement of Fleming's spy novels. This Sidney Lumet film is based on one of Le Carre's George Smilely books (CALL FOR THE DEAD) though, like the novel's title, the character is given a different name. After investigating an agent of the Foreign Office on past communist affiliations and clearing him, a secret agent (James Mason) learns that the man has committed suicide. But when the government dissuades him from investigating further, he suspects it may have been murder. Lumet is the perfect choice for such a slow, dry film with only Quincy Jones's jazz light score to soften the aridity. The film is unnecessarily cluttered by scenes on Mason's domestic strife with his nymphomaniac wife (Harriet Andersson, CRIES AND WHISPERS) which only peripherally add to the plot. As an antidote to James Bond though, it's actually not bad at all. With Simone Signoret, Maximilian Schell, Lynn Redgrave, Harry Andrews, Kenneth Haigh and Roy Kinnear.

The Sony DVD (an import from Great Britain) is a nice anamorphic 1.85 transfer.
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic of its genre 11 April 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The Deadly Affair was made at the height of the British film spy genre. Perhaps because of its understated qualities it does not appear to have acquired a following. However I rate this film very highly. The quality of the acting from the ensemble is brilliant with tightly drawn characters and a great script.The soundtrack is fantastic with music by Quincy Jones (soundtrack now available on CD from Amazon with the soundtrack from the Pawnbroker). The opening sequence has a haunting song from Astrud Gilberto which sets up the film. Great supporting roles from Harry Andrews and Roy Kinnear. I have watched it many times and it is still very fresh and entertaining. A classic.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great film, with great, film-noir, atmosphere. 15 Dec 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It is somewhat strange that The Deadly Affair never had the right attention from the studio to release it in a better format. The film itself probably passes unnoticed to most viewers, something that is ultimately rather unfair to the novel, script and filmmakers. There is also an outstandingly good soundtrack, from Quincy Jones, while he was still under great influence from bossa nova waves, literally speaking. No surprise that it is due to Astrud Gilberto to sing the main theme, mind you, in Portuguese, whereas in the CD soundtrack this particular rendition is, sadly, unavailable! Great movie, great atmosphere, filled with espionage and suspense.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
For an espionage thriller I like a lot, The Deadly Affair is also one of the most frustrating. The movie is based on John le Carre's first book, Call for the Dead. It introduced his readers to George Smiley. For some reason, in addition to changing the name of the book, director Sidney Lumet changed George Smiley to Charles Dobbs (James Mason). I'll continue to call him George Smiley. The story is how this aging British spy with a quiet manner and a shrewd mind finally learns the identity of an East German spy. It starts when Smiley is asked to investigate a mid-level foreign officer, Samuel Fennan, who has been accused in an anonymous letter of being, at best, a Communist sympathizer. Smiley determines that the man is not a danger, but shortly after the man commits suicide...yet he left a wake-up call for the next morning. Smiley's boss tells him to drop it. Smiley won't, quits, and enlists the help of a retired police inspector, Mendel (Harry Andrews), to help him. Smiley meets the man's wife, Elsa Fennan (Simone Signoret), a survivor of Nazi death camps where experiments were performed on Jewish women. He knows something is off and slowly tries to identify just who is the spy, if there really was one. All this while he must deal with his younger wife, Ann (Harriet Andersson). Smiley loves Ann and she may love him, but she is a serial adulterer and all he can do, apparently, is agonize over their relationship. It doesn't help when a younger man, Dieter Frey (Maxmilian Schell) arrives on the scene from Europe. Frey worked under Smiley in some dangerous operations during WWII and Smiley sees Frey almost as a son as well as a friend. It isn't long before Smiley learns that Ann is bedding Frey. And there is still the spy for Smiley to catch. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting spy story
I really loved the acting of James Mason and the direction of Sidney Lumet. I must admit I haven't read the book but I really liked the thoughtful and moderate character of Dobbs;... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Angelica Kosmidou
5.0 out of 5 stars The Deadly Affair
Please take note: This DVD arrived on time, well-packaged, bUT NONE OF MY THREE dvd PLAYERS WILL READ THE DISC.. iT IS MARKED rEGION 2, WHICH IS CORRECT. Read more
Published 4 months ago by jeremy789
4.0 out of 5 stars The Deadly Affair
Thoroughly enjoyed this film and so did my friends. This was promptly despatched and well packaged. Can recommend film and this firm. Thanks
Published 5 months ago by misswirral
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather time-worn now.
Recent treatments have done this type of story so much better. There were aspects I loved, such as the lack of extraneous music and the acting is fine, it was just the direction... Read more
Published 7 months ago by R M MEYER
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting whodunnit
Having read John Lecarre's novel many years ago and not realising it had been made into a film, I was pleasantly surprised by the authenticity. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Olly's dad
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable and entertaining film!
An enjoyable and entertaining film based on John le Carré's first novel, 'Call for the Dead'. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Speedygee
5.0 out of 5 stars The Deadly Affair
An often overlooked James Mason film, rarely repeated on t.v. This has excellent performances by all of the cast involved, particularly outstanding performance by Harry Andrews as... Read more
Published 10 months ago by martin cunningham
5.0 out of 5 stars For Me....
Bought this for me and highly recommend. This space is asking me to type a few more words all I can say is love it.
Published 11 months ago by Sally
3.0 out of 5 stars THE DEADLY AFFAIR
I doubt if John Le Carre was very taken with what they did to his book in this film. I gave the DVD away. The later version by Alec Guinness is iconic and became his pride and joy.
Published 15 months ago by Doreen Langmead
5.0 out of 5 stars Based on an early John Le Carre novel
Although now rather dated it is a fine thriller in it's own right.
What a great ensemble with each actor on top form. Read more
Published 16 months ago by David
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