Search - A Family of Spies on DVD

A Family of Spies
A Family of Spies
Actors: Powers Booth, Lesley Ann Warren
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Television
UR     2002     2hr 55min


Movie Details

Actors: Powers Booth, Lesley Ann Warren
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Espionage, Drama, Television
Studio: Allumination
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 07/01/2002
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 2hr 55min
Screens: Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Fun, if you don't take it too seriously
Rottenberg's rotten book review | nyc | 01/28/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Having essayed at least two books on the Walker family spy ring, I found this TV mini-series historically suspect in the finest tradition of "made for TV movies", and yet surprisingly entertaining.

WHO THE WALKERS WERE: Though referred to as a case of a family of spies, much of the work was really done by patriarch Johnny Walker, a naval cryptologist whose access to USN code keys and related material allowed him to inflict damage against the US military. From 1968 at least until the mid 1980's, Walker turned over volumes of classified encryption material to his Soviet handlers - a career that began when he approached the Russian embassy in 1968. Never arousing much suspicion from his supervisors, Walker left the Navy fearing a routine background check might uncover his treason. (He also feared that his wife would turn him in, and he was unluckily dead-on in that respect.) Though initially motivated by desperate finances, Walker underpriced his product - clearing a million dollars only near the end of his 17-year career. Before leaving the Navy, and after being reassigned to an area lacking access to sensitive and lucrative cipher material, Walker recruited Jerry Alfred Whitworth - a naval communications specialist - to carry on his end of the business. Though a weak character, Whitworth is a superb spy, who excels largely because he willingly served in high security areas like Diego Garcia - an unpopular spit in the Indian Ocean reviled by those who serve there, but also possessing strategic importance to the Americans. Walker's brother Arthur, who worked for a defense contractor after leaving the Navy, also provided some classified material. Walker successfully recruited his son as well. Michael Walker had only recently begun collecting classified material as a sailor on an aircraft carrier when he was seized by investigators. Though Michael and Arthur could have matured into prolific suppliers of classified material, Whitworth was likely Johnny Walker's most important partner. Walker's wife, long aware of her husband's espionage, alternated between silent compliance and threats to betray him. Ultimately she did approach the FBI, sealing the Walker spy ring's fate. Until then, the Soviet's made the most of their access to America's encrypted communications - mostly shadowing military units like carrier battle groups. American military planners grew frustrated as Soviet forces became perennial spectators of allied war games prepared and executed in apparent secrecy. The prospect of treason, however, was never seriously considered - treason is something people in other (read: communist) countries do.

THIS FLICK ROCKS: because it looks more like a parody of the Walker spy saga and fact-based movies in general. Though Walker was a treasonous weasel, Powers Boothe plays him as a darkly charismatic manipulator, one who wraps attractive women around his finger like James Bond. Even more outrageous are elaborate sequences in which US Naval strategists determine that they've been compromised. (In this version, high-tech American subs are tracked by unsophisticated Russian subs - leading analysts no choice but to conclude that the Soviets have broken their codes.) While the above may one day prove to have been true, it currently clashes with known accounts in which the Americans disregarded clues of Russian code-breaking (Soviet technology lacked the computing horsepower to break codes on their own, and of course nobody wanted to believe that one of our own had turned on us.) In short, it's fun if you've read the true story and can point out where actual treason becomes fun TV."
Chad Sinanian | Danbury,Connecticut | 08/17/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)