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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy / Smiley's People Double Pack [DVD] 
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Double bill of BBC espionage drama mini-series based on the novels by John Le Carré and starring Alec Guinness as master spy George Smiley. In 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' (1979), Smiley has been in 'retirement' for some time, some say owing to his mishandling of the Czech scandal. However, the retiring superspy finds himself summoned back to the 'Circus' (British secret service) when it transpires that an enemy infiltrator is at work in the department. Smiley returns once again to his old department in 'Smiley's People' (1982) following the murder of his friend, General Vladimir, a Russian who once worked for British Intelligence. When it transpires that Vladimir was in fact a double agent, Smiley becomes engaged in a battle of wills with his old adversaries at the Moscow Centre.
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The TTSS DVD version was an excellent version of the original BBC version of events that was spoiled only by the overlay of subtitles on disk 2, episodes which could not be switched off - still, as said, enjoyable upto a point. The Smiley's People DVD version disk 1,started off well apart from the problem of subtitles, which again, could not be switched off. Unfortunately, Disk 1, Episode 2 and Episode 3 proved to be unaccessible?
Disk 2 of Smiley's People had the same issues. Subtitles could not be switched off and Episodes 5 and 6 again proved to be unaccessible. Given the original dates) of production, I found the quality of playback very good. Just peeved that I am now left in limbo as to how the video version.
If anyone can throw light on how the Amazon Video version(s) play out regards the above issues I could be tempted to splash the cash?
But then the supporting cast is made up of some of the finest actors of the 70s and 80s. It is risible that the main complaint aired about the series is the pithiness of the plot which requires considerable mental alertness to understand. Of course, in the era of dumbed down entertainment in which we now find ourselves, no wonder audiences have lost the capacity to invest in a series rather than expect instant gratification.
If by any chance you have seen the film first, you owe it to yourself to see this magnificent portrayal of Smiley and his 'circus'.
The cast is like a who's-who of the British acting profession, the way it is shot is compelling and yet understated. It grips you from start to finish and when it's over, you just wish it wasn't. I have seen the remake (was dragged along by the boyfriend who fell asleep). I decided to go with an open mind and not compare it with this (and had the good grace to remain awake). However, I didn't even think that worked as a film on its own merits (too many things unexplained which, if you hadn't seen the original, would have confused).
Go for this one EVERY time. I could watch it over and over.
Must see telly before the days of Netflix and all that. And seeing Alec Guinness in excellent form is always a real treat.
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