The Deadly Affair
|The Deadly Affair|
|Directed by||Sidney Lumet|
|Written by||Paul Dehn|
|Produced by||Sidney Lumet|
|Edited by||Thelma Connell|
|Music by||Quincy Jones|
Sidney Lumet Film Productions
|Distributed by||British Lion-Columbia (UK)|
Columbia Pictures (US)
|115 minutes (UK)|
107 minutes (US)
The Deadly Affair is a 1967 British neo noir spy film based on John le Carré's first novel, Call for the Dead, published in 1961. The film stars James Mason and was directed by Sidney Lumet from a script by Paul Dehn.
As it is a Columbia Pictures production and Paramount owned the film rights to the name George Smiley, the central character is renamed Charles Dobbs. Paramount acquired the film rights to the character name when filming The Spy Who Came In from the Cold.
In 1960s London, Charles Dobbs (James Mason) is a staid MI5 operative investigating Foreign Office official Samuel Fennan (Robert Flemyng), a former Communist who apparently commits suicide. Dobbs becomes suspicious about the cause of Fennan's death while visiting Fennan's widow the morning after his death. When a wake-up call is received at Fennan's home, his widow Elsa (Simone Signoret) says the call was for her. Dobbs discovers this to be a lie, and as a result Dobbs suspects that Elsa, a survivor of a Nazi extermination camp, might have some clues regarding Fennan's death.
Other government officials want Dobbs to drop the case. However, Dobbs privately links up with retired police inspector Mendel (Harry Andrews) to continue inquiries. They uncover a network of Communist agents. Dobbs also discovers that his wife Ann (Harriet Andersson) is leaving him to go to Switzerland to join a former World War II colleague, Dieter Frey (Maximilian Schell), who may be using Ann to gain knowledge of Dobbs' investigation.
Dobbs uses his knowledge of Dieter to set a trap that proves that Elsa is a spy and Dieter is her control. In a final confrontation, Dieter strangles Elsa and shoots Mendel, but he is killed bare handed by the enraged Dobbs.
- James Mason as Charles Dobbs
- Simone Signoret as Elsa Fennan
- Maximilian Schell as Dieter Frey
- Harriet Andersson as Ann Dobbs
- Harry Andrews as Mendel
- Kenneth Haigh as Bill Appleby
- Roy Kinnear as Adam Scarr
- Max Adrian as Adviser
- Lynn Redgrave as Virgin
- Robert Flemyng as Samuel Fennan
- Leslie Sands as Inspector
- Corin Redgrave as David
- Sheraton Blount as Eunice Scarr (uncredited)
- Denis Shaw as Wilf the Barman (uncredited)
Location shooting for The Deadly Affair took place in London, in St. James's Park, at the Balloon Tavern and the Chelsea Embankment in Chelsea, in Battersea and Barnes, in Twickenham, and at the Serpentine Restaurant in Hyde Park (demolished in 1990). The exterior of Dobbs's house is in St. George's Square, Pimlico. For the theatre scene a performance of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Edward II was recreated at its real location of the Aldwych Theatre, London.
Director of photography Freddie Young's technique of pre-exposing the colour film negative to a small, controlled amount of light (known as "flashing" or "pre-fogging") in order to create a muted colour palette was first used in this film. Lumet called the result "colourless colour"  and it proved influential, being used by other cinematographers such as Vilmos Zsigmond on McCabe & Mrs. Miller.
Awards and honours
The Deadly Affair received five BAFTA Awards nominations: Best British Film for Sidney Lumet, Best British Screenplay for Paul Dehn, Best British Cinematography (Colour) for Freddie Young, Best Foreign Actress for Simone Signoret, and Best British Actor for James Mason. However, it did not win any of the awards.
Musical score and soundtrack
|The Deadly Affair|
|Soundtrack album by|
|Studio||Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ|
|Quincy Jones chronology|
Allmusic's Stephen Cook noted, "Deadly Affair's dreamy mix of bossa nova moods and unobtrusive symphonics still makes for some pleasant, if not always provocative, listening. Plus, one gets to hear Astrud Gilberto in fine fettle on the opening cut". The Vinyl Factory said "This soundtrack to the Sidney Lumet thriller starts off with Astrud Gilberto drizzling her best desultory vocal over ‘Who Needs Forever’, which creates a moody atmosphere that is sustained throughout the entire album. With its languid orchestrations, breezy strings, and airy samba rhythms, this is a perfect Sunday morning record".
All compositions by Quincy Jones
- "Who Needs Forever" (lyrics by Howard Greenfield) − 3:00
- "Dieter's First Mistake" − 4:50
- "Instrumental Main Theme (1)" − 2:05
- "Postcard Signed "S" / Mendel Tails Elsa / Tickets to "S"" − 5:31
- "Instrumental Main Theme (2)" − 3:00
- "Don't Fly If It's Foggy" − 1:11
- "Blondie-Tails" − 1:13
- "Instrumental Main Theme (3)" − 2:05
- "Ridiculous Scene" − 1:48
- "Body on Elevator" − 0:55
- "Bobb's at Gunpoint" − 0:45
- "End Title" − 1:42
- Unidentified orchestra arranged and conducted by Quincy Jones featuring:
- On Three War Fronts By A. H. WEILER. New York Times 9 Jan 1966: 69.
- Wootton, Adrian (5 October 2002). "John le Carré at the NFT (1)". the Guardian. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
- Photo of Serpentine Restaurant, accessed 18 November 2017
- IMDB Filming locations
- Parish, James Robert; Pitts, Michael R (1974). The Great spy pictures. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press. p. 138. ISBN 081080655X.
- "BFI Screenonline: 1930s: The Invocation of Theatre in Film". www.screenonline.org.uk. British Film Institute. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
- TCM Misc. notes
- Steffen, James "The Deadly Affair" (TCM article)
- IMDB Awards
- Cook, Stephen. The Deadly Affair (Original Soundtrack) – Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
- Verve Records Catalog: 8600 series accessed 17 January 2018
- 10 definitive Quincy Jones soundtracks from the ’60s and ’70s, The Vinyl Factory, accessed 17 January 2018