Ring of Spies

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ring of Spies
"Ring of Spies" (1961).jpg
Original UK 1-sheet poster
Directed by Robert Tronson
Produced by Leslie Gilliat
Written by Peter Barnes
Frank Launder
Starring Bernard Lee
William Sylvester
Margaret Tyzack
David Kossoff
Nancy Nevinson
Thorley Walters
Cinematography Arthur Lavis
Edited by Thelma Connell
Distributed by British Lion Films
Paramount Pictures
Release date
24 March 1964 (1964-03-24)
Running time
90 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Ring of Spies (also known as Ring of Treason) is a 1964 British spy film[1] based on the real-life case of the Portland Spy Ring, whose activities prompted "Reds under the bed" scare stories in the British popular press in the early 1960s.[2][3][4]


A dissatisfied Navy clerk begins handling secret documents when he is approached by secret Soviet intelligence to hand over documents to them. Although he is being blackmailed, he agrees to do so while also being paid for the information. He begins an affair with the secretary who also has access to greater secret documents. Together, the couple continue to procure information for Soviet intelligence while getting paid. Soon, the British government gets wind of their betrayal.


Critical reception[edit]

TV Guide gave the film 2.5 out of 5 stars, and noted that the film "concentrates on factual evidence leading up to the crack in the case. Lending an air of authenticity, shots of the actual spies appear in the opening frames," and concluded that "despite the documentary flavor, there are a few witty touches by the hand of Tronson";[5] while David Parkinson in the Radio Times gave it 3 out of 5 stars, and felt "the docudramatic style rather undermines director Robert Tronson's attempts to build suspense," but "Frank Launder proved himself to be just as capable of turning out a nail-biting thriller, as he was of crafting a chortle-worthy comedy. For once, separated from his usual partner, Sidney Gilliat (although the latter's brother Leslie acted as producer), Launder and co-writer Peter Barnes capably retell the story of the Portland spy ring."[1]

External links[edit]