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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
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on 19 February 2014
If you are a le Carre fan watch the film first. Basically a good story, but disappointing.
The film starts very well by showing how a road accident confirms to an department struggling for its survival the need to mount an operation in an attempt to justify its existence. It is from this point the film is spoilt by a lack of background detail, as though parts of the story had to be cut to keep within budget. Also the use of a young illegal immigrant as the agent with little knowledge and training coupled with his attitude put into a no win situation stretches the imagination to the desperate state of the 'Department's' resources. The final scenes of children playing give a somewhat ironic twist to the opening scenes. Not the best adaptation of a J le C novel, but it does introduce a character who is to become a main feature in later books, (not certain where this one comes in the order of writing). I think a BBC version would do the book more justice. Alternatively, read the book, don't bother with the film.
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on 9 May 2017
Its the UK 70s film industry so the budget is small and it shows, the book I should imagine is better crafted but the plot is not so timeless as his others as it plays on post war UK decline so I suspect its one for the older viewer and reader any way.
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on 9 May 2017
I did not think that the subtle account of the British class system so masterfully given by Le Carré in this and other stories was conveyed by this film.
There should be real anger.
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on 27 April 2017
Most disappointing.1star only. My mistake, I thought it was based on a John Le Carre
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on 12 June 2017
a very good cold war spy film well worth watching recomended
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on 15 April 2017
Easily the worst film adaption of a Le Carre novel I have seen. Very little to recommend it.
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on 2 April 2015
I lived and worked in West Berlin throughout 1967 and extensively toured the old DDR in 1988. I often crossed over through Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin and I can assure you the locations etc smell of the old East Germany. I enjoyed the film although I found the opening segment a little upsetting. It's not quite up to the standard of other Le Carre stories made into films. Try it, you might like it!
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John Le Carre is a particular novelist whose books have been meticulously transformed into several films and tv series that have often worked well and been highly acclaimed.

In my opinion the choice of actors has been key to their success--- Burton and Guinness immediately come to mind.
Put simply the lead role in 'Looking Glass' is played by Christopher Jones which, for me, just didn't work.He looks like a cross between James Dean and Billy Fury (for those that can remember that pop star) and was simply too 'pretty' to make his role work not withstanding that he wasn't a particularly good actor.

He was having an affair with a pregnant Sharon Tate just before her horrific murder by the Manson sect,and soon turned his back on Hollywood and rarely appeared in films afterwards.

Sorry to digress. Anthony Hopkins was quietly effective in his support role as trainer to Jones's budding spy. Delectable Susan George appeared briefly as a dolly bird as did Micheal Robbins (Olive's husband in 'On The Buses'), both leaving their impact on the film.

Also solid support from Sir Ralph Richardson, Paul Rogers and a cameo from Tim West playing a sleazy go-between which wasn't nearly as effective as Micheal Horden's wonderful turn in a similar role in 'The Spy Who Came In From The Cold'.

A watchable thriller but not as good as some other Le Carre adaptions.
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The year is 1969 and the Cold War is raging. A British spy who was investigating missiles on the East German border has just been killed. The West needs another agent fast and they hire Leiser (Christopher Jones), a handsome and clever young man from Poland. He agrees to be a spy in exchange for political asylum in the West. He sneaks into East Germany and finds not only missiles, but also an very pretty girl, while his trainers (Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Richardson) anxiously wait to hear from him.

This isn't the James Bond kind of spy movie; there's no glitz or glamour and definitely no humor. Instead, it's a grim, pitiless look at the men who pull the strings in the espionage game. There isn't a lot of action; the bleak and hopeless mood of the times pervades the story. With Hopkins and Richardson around, one has to wonder why they recruited an outsider to join British Intelligence, but if you can overlook this plot hole, it is an engrossing film. Handsome Christopher Jones, a James Dean look-alike, is appropriately petulant and charismatic. It's a shame his voice had to be dubbed; one wonders what his voice really sounds like. Young Anthony Hopkins brings his usual intensity and dignity to a rather thankless role. It's an interesting and quite cynical look at the paranoia that characterized the 60s.
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VINE VOICEon 4 December 2009
The screen adaption of John Le Carre's The Looking Glass War hasn't improved with age. Frank Piersens' direction is unnecessarily slow and at times has more in common with a road movie than it does a spy movie. Wally Stott's score is underused and lacking in tension. As Polish seaman Leisser, Christopher Jones' James Dean posturings were mannered even in 1969 and too much of the film seems like an expensive show reel for Jones' undeniable screen presence and propensity for looking iconic in every given situation. As Leisser's handler, Anthony Hopkins (Avery) feels somewhat wasted but manages to convey the complexity of a man in cisis, his growing attachment and attraction to Leisser reveals how little he feels for his wife (Anna Massey)and the utter pointlessness of his job. Ralph Richardson is splendidly uncaring, aloof and bored. The romance between Leisser & the girl (Pia Degermark), whom he picks up on the road and who tries to sway Leisser from his mission, is not only confused but features some spectacuarly risable dialogue that only a sixth former could have considered profound. Whether or not the movie is an accurate representation of the novel, Piedersen's direction seems perversely to avoid the key ingredients of what constitute a good spy movie - intrigue and suspense. Look out for Susan George, Tim West, Ray Mcnally and Michael Robbins (On The Buses) as a homosexual truck driver whose German accent sounds like he spent his formative years in Cardiff.
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