Commentary By Ron Beasley
I love a good spy novel. I read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le Carr�hortly after it came out in 1974 and shortly after I left the DIA. I heard about the movie and looked forward to seeing it. I had it in my Netflix que but but then I read this by Eric Margolis, Forget the Film Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: See the BBC Original. Well I took his advice and watched the five plus hour BBC version instead.
John Le Carr�39;s Cold War espionage trilogy, which also includes, The Honorable Schoolboy and Smiley's People, is the finest work on the world of intelligence ever written. Le Carr�erved in Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, and knows of what he writes. He masterfully captures all the bureaucratic tedium and moments of terror of spy work, its lies, double-dealing, and betrayals.
The 1976 BBC TV version of Tinker, Tailor and the sequel, Smiley's People, was the best thing I have ever seen on TV. It was perfect. Full stop. Only the BBC series I, Claudius came near it.
John Le Carr�tated the BBC version was "complete" and should not be remade. I felt the same way, fearing that a remake would inevitably disappoint.
I still haven't seen the movie but after watching the 1976 BBC version I don't really see how a two hour movie could do the novel nearly as much justice as the five hour BBC series. In addition Alec Guinness plays George Smiley and I can't really imagine anyone doing it better.