Jul 16, 2009

Upcoming Spy Screenings In Los Angeles

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art will screen a double bill of rare spy films starring James Mason on Friday, July 31. At 7:30 the museum will kick things off with Joseph Mankiewicz's 1952 WWII espionage dramedy 5 Fingers, in which Mason plays a social-climbing valet in the British embassy in Ankara plotting to sell Allied secrets to the Germans. His machinations get him pursued by agents of both sides. 5 Fingers is followed at 9:30 by The Deadly Affair, Sidney Lumet's excellent 1966 adaptation of John Le Carré's novel Call for the Dead. Mason plays George Smiley, only Columbia couldn't call him Smiley because Paramount owned the rights to the name for their film of The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, in which Smiley plays a relatively small part. So Mason's Smiley is called Charles Dobbs. But he's quite excellent in the role, and local Le Carré fans should definitely make a point of catching this screening.

Neither movie is available on DVD in the United States, although The Deadly Affair is available in Britain and 5 Fingers is available in South Korea.

Visit the LACMA website for more information on this screening.

Read more about 5 Fingers in The LA Weekly's piece on the whole James Mason retrospective.

Read my whole review of The Deadly Affair here.

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