The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)


Plot: Alec Leamas (Richard Burton) is the operative for the British Secret Service overseeing the field Agents and their activities in Berlin. Recent activities in the field in Berlin and Alec's long-term status in the position make his London-based boss, Control (Cyril Cusack), openly wonder if Alec is burnt out and thus needs to come in from the cold to a London-based desk job. Alec's deteriorating state of mind is what Control wants the enemies to believe, as he asks Alec to do one last job out in the field. Alec is to pretend to become a drunkard who has left the agency due to his perceived failings in the job, working whatever odd jobs he can get, given his previous secret work. This change in attitude would make Alec ripe for turning information to the enemies. What Alec is supposed to do is implicate top East German Agent Hans-Dieter Mundt (Peter van Eyck) as a British double Agent, leading to Mundt being murdered by his own. The Brits expect Mundt's second in command, an East German Jew named Fiedler (Oskar Werner) who hates his ex-Nazi boss, to be the unsuspecting accomplice in this plan. Beyond the regular dangers in Alec being found out, or Mundt being able to convince his masters of his innocence, Alec faces one initially unintended obstacle, namely his relationship with a librarian named Nancy "Nan" Perry (Claire Bloom), whom Alec has met during his cover job as a library assistant. She is openly a member of the British Communist Party, but in her idealistic state, sees herself as drunkard Alec's savior. Alec wants to keep her out of what is occurring, which may be difficult, as both sides, while watching Alec's movements, will see their involvement with each other.

Alternative Plot: At the height of the Cold War, British spy Alec Leamas (Richard Burton) is nearly ready to retire, but first he has to take on one last dangerous assignment. Going deep undercover, he poses as a drunken, disgraced former MI5 agent in East Germany in order to gain information about colleagues who have been captured. When he himself is thrown in jail and interrogated, Leamas finds himself caught in a sinister labyrinth of plots and counter-plots unlike anything in his long career.

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