Tinker, Tailor

Days ago I came upon a few movies at the library starring Alec Guinness. I checked out three, I think. He’s one of my favorite actors.

One of the movies was Last Holiday. Another was Our Man in Havana. And finally I have gotten around to watching Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a BBC and Paramount production. It has been on my list of what to watch for years.

There are many terrific actors in Tinker Tailor, including Patrick Stewart of Star Trek fame. This is ironic because Guinness became even more famous after playing Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars trilogy.

Stewart, known as Captain Picard and Doctor Xavier of the X-Men films, doesn’t talk much. Apparently no lines were written for him. He sits silently while Guinness questions him. For an actor, no lines can be a difficult sell. But then working with Alec Guinness probably more than made up for the lack of dialogue and scenes.

Another great Brit actor in the movie was Ian Richardson, who I first came to recognize in Murder Rooms, which was shown on PBS. I really enjoyed that series.

Ian Bannen is another. He is one of the “bad guys” in Braveheart, playing the father of Robert the Bruce, with a diseased and ugly face. I haven’t quite figured out what the illness was, perhaps leprosy. It is quite interesting to see the man give terrible, conniving advice to his son while rotting away physically. So, not only is the character literally rotting away, he is morally and ethically as well.

Now, I will have to watch the 2011 version with Gary Oldman and another expansive list of terrific British actors.



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