Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Philby Burgess and Maclean|
Actors: Anthony Bate, Derek Jacobi, Michael Culver, Bernard Archard, Barrie Cookson
Director: Gordon Flemyng
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Studio: Bfs Ent & Multimedia Limi Release Date: 01/22/2008
Cambridge Spies: The After-School Special!
F. S. L'hoir | Irvine, CA | 02/03/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This 1977 biopic, which was advised by Phillip Knightley, cannot be faulted for distortion of the known facts of the case, although they are so compressed that they seem to have been forced into a telescope backwards. It can, however, be faulted for its egregiously shoddy production values. The entire enterprise, in fact, reminds me of one of those dreadful after-school specials that they used to have on TV, in which the producers were flogging some topical issue such as the dangers of teen promiscuity or substance abuse (in this case, the dangers of Soviet espionage). As with the teen specials, the leading actors (Anthony Bate as Philby, and Derek Jacobi as Burgess) are excellent, but the story itself is merely a recitation of events, with no pace, no buildup of suspense. Furthermore, the quality of the DVD itself [which seems to have been pirated off a VHS tape] with its flickering lighting, and over-saturated dark colors that disintegrate into rainbow blobs, is ghastly. Even the introduction theme, with its long shadows on red cobblestones, lamp post, rolling soccer ball and bulldog (One supposes that they are meant to represent England under the communist threat.), looks both dated and amateurish. One finds better visuals on computer games. And the music with its wheezy out-of-tune canned saxophones--or whatever they are--is quite opprobrious. This DVD is recommended only for those who are addicted to the topic of the Cambridge Spies.
And even we have our limits!"
Marvelous acting; bad history.
Frank R. Sledge | Washington, DC USA | 01/10/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Philby, Burgess, and MacLean" dates from 1977. On the good side, we are treated to wonderful early performances by superb actors such as (Sir) Anthony Bate and (Sir) Derek Jacobi, who would go on to star in "I, Claudius". Their technique is mesmerizing. On the negative side, this film tends to gloss over the truly sordid side of MacLean and Burgess (their love affair and Burgess's near-incoherence from drinking.) Worst of all, of course, is that in 1977, it was not yet known that royal art historian Sir Anthony Blunt ("Master of the Queen's Pictures") had been the mastermind behind the entire espionage group, and he was caught but never prosecuted. A far better historical treatment would be the more recent "The Cambridge Spies" (available on Amazon, and starring the equally superb Samuel West as Blunt.) Do yourself a favor; get both. You'll want them."
David F. Evans | Australia | 01/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a real gem, and a superior production to either the glibly superficial 'Cambridge Spies' or the slightly silly 'Another Country', two historical dramas that centre roughly around the same events. The acting is superb, the Ian Curteis script taut, the build-up and motivation believable. Antony Bate bares an almost uncanny resemblance to the real Philby, Derek Jacobi is suitable disheveled as Guy Burgess, and the best scene belongs to Micheal Culver as McLean losing it in the men's room of the Egyptian embassy. As a piece of TV drama it has rarely been equaled, although it is slightly dated, and remains a benchmark of how this sort of make historical drama should be made (in my humble opinion). I'm really glad this has been released to DVD. Hopefully, 'An Englishman Abroad', Alan Bennet's brilliant screenplay with Alan Bates as Guy Burgess will at last make it to DVD format as well."
Jeffrey Sokolow | Atlanta, GA USA | 09/11/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Although Bates is quite good as Philby, and the scenes in which he parries questions from his low-key but penetrating inquisitor are well done, overall this film is disappointing. Only for those who must read or see everything about the Cambridge spy ring."