As someone (just) old enough to remember when Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy first hit the small screen way back in 1979, it is no surprise that we now find it transferred to the big screen 32 years later. The original boasted a strong cast, lead by Sir Alec Guinness in the lead role playing George Smiley, a right hand man to the head of British Intelligence Spymaster Control (now played by John Hurt). This new, updated version has Gary Oldman cast in the role and with probably the finest ensemble cast to hit cinemas this year, the film not only remains faithful to the BBC original and therefore the book but uniquely also stands up as a film in it’s own right.
The film is basically a spy thriller but what a thriller it is, cleverly playing out the pieces as George Smiley, fired (along with his boss) after a botched covert operation in London in the 1970’s is asked back by the Whitehall powers that be to investigate evidence of a Russian mole within the hallowed walls of MI6. His role? To spy on our spies as he tries to uncover the identity of the Russian spy!
The supporting cast of John Hurt, Colin Firth, Kathy Burke, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong and Benedict Cumberbatch are more than up to the task of matching Gary Oldman on screen and indeed Benedict Cumberbatch’s character (Smiley’s sidekick Peter Guillam), seems to have the most fun on screen of all the protaganists. However, the film belongs to Gary Oldman. Daunting enough to be following in Sir Alec’s footsteps, Gary carries the film not just with his thoughtful portrayal of a somewhat put upon government stooge but in the way he carries himself and of course in the way he looks.
The 1970’s is captured perfectly with the dour suits, beige macs and black briefcases but most importantly in George Smiley’s eye wear. Remember these were the days when spectacles were a purely functional item and with the choice opticians offered sometimes limited to “would you like those in brown or black”, it was an era populated with the classic NHS eyewear.
Thankfully, the big, square, plastic look has come full circle and having virtually disappeared for the last 20 years, it has made a return to our faces with a modern twist. With designers recreating this look now has never been a better time to buy into the “George” look. Try to match the sharp, modern suit and overcoat with frames such as London Retro Shoreditch:
and Mai Tai:
The Fabris Lane Thomas:
and Lucky Brand Cliff:
add a slightly modern take on it and if you’re feeling very brave then the Harold is one for the true Spy!
So take a look and get the 2 for 1 offer to truly blend in (as only a true spy can). I know MI6 would approve.