Novelist John Le Carré created one of literature’s most fascinating characters in Alec Leamas, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold’s main heavy, who is on a final, fateful mission in East Germany. In Martin Ritt’s movie version, now out on Criterion Blu-ray and DVD, Richard Burton embodies Leamas with a morbid gravitas for the ages. In the following short excerpt from an exclusive, exceptionally wide-ranging interview with Le Carré, recorded for Criterion in 2008, he talks about his inspiration for the rueful Leamas. Then watch a clip from the film, in which Burton brilliantly elucidates his character’s philosophy—or rather lack thereof.
Digging Through Movie History at Chaplin’s Studios
Film scholar Craig Barron gives us a tour of the studios on whose back lot Charlie Chaplin built the set for his final film of the silent era, The Circus.
Career Women in the Land of Lubitsch
Critics Molly Haskell and Farran Smith Nehme talk about the highly idiosyncratic heroines who populate Ernst Lubitsch’s comedies, including the protagonist of his final film, Cluny Brown.
Ritwik Ghatak’s Pursuit of Truth Beyond Realism
Acclaimed Indian filmmakers Saeed Akhtar Mirza and Kumar Shahani discuss how the Bengali master mixed expressionism and naturalism in his devastating domestic tragedy The Cloud-Capped Star.