The book is better

Only a couple of weeks ago I read A Legacy of Spies, published last year; as ever with le Carrè, having to concentrate hard on the intricacies of the plot while drooling with appreciation at the vibrancy of his descriptions, both of people and places. And now I have almost finished re-reading Smiley’s People – written 40 years ago and as intriguing as ever.

So I was looking forward to the Beeb’s new serialisation of The Little Drummer Girl. But, try as I might with the two episodes, I don’t see a credible portrayal of le Carré’s murky, even manic world of deception and misinformation. The written word happily depends on the reader’s imagination for its realism; but this new tv job is a botched-up bore, designed to create an air of mystery but with actors better suited to a reality series. And dare I mention it? The grand master, le Carrè’s femmes fatales are drop-dead gorgeous. (Remember The Night Manager?) This one dies in the attempt.


Author: janus

I'm back......and front - in sunny Sussex-by-the-sea

4 thoughts on “The book is better”

  1. Typical post-modern dross, innit. At one time the BBC did such things brilliantly, almost as well as Merchant Ivory. Then they stopped, more concerned about quotas and ticking pretty, PC boxes than doing well. On occasion they still come up with a credible documentary — I’m currently watching the BBC’s series on Auschwitz on Netflix at the moment — but it isn’t what it used to be.

  2. I’ve never yet seen a film that has managed to do justice to the book. Film makers simply do not have the time to show all the intricacies that a few short well written words can show.

  3. I would agree that the book always beats the movie, although David Suchet’s interpretation of Poirot bucks the trend, and moving one step on there are very good reasons why ‘The Dambusters’, for instance, should never be remade.


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