Le Carre to discuss new George Smiley novel

David Cornell, aka John Le Carre, circa 1964

John Le Carre is scheduled to make an appearance in London on Sept. 7 to discuss his new George Smiley novel, A Legacy of Spies, The Telegraph reported.

Le Carre will be at the Royal Festival Hall, according to the newspaper. He “will read from the book, reveal Smiley’s deepest secrets, and discuss the way his career has reflected world events,” The Telegraph said. “There will also be a rare question and answer session.”

The novel’s summary on Amazon.com reads in part:

Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, is living out his old age on the family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London, and involved such characters as Alec Leamas, Jim Prideaux, George Smiley and Peter Guillam himself, are to be scrutinized by a generation with no memory of the Cold War and no patience with its justifications.

A Legacy of Spies is scheduled to be published Sept. 5, according to Amazon.

George Smiley returns in new Le Carre novel

David Cornell, aka John Le Carre, circa 1964

George Smiley is returning in a new novel by John Le Carre, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS REPORTED.

The news service quoted Viking, Le Carre’s publisher, as saying the author’s new novel, A Legacy of Spies, will debut Sept. 5.

“According to the publisher, the novel tells of how Smiley and such peers as Peter Guillam receive new scrutiny about their Cold War years with British intelligence and face a younger generation that knows little about their history,” AP reported.

Smiley appeared in a number of Le Carre novels, including Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Smiley’s People and, most recently, 1990’s The Secret Pilgrim. In some novels, he’s a primary character, in others a secondary one.

Smiley has been portrayed by several actors, including Alec Guiness and, most recently, Gary Oldman in a 2011 film adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Video of the Fleming-LeCarre debate

On Nov. 29, Intelligence Squared, staged a debate in London whether Ian Fleming or John Le Carre was the better espionage novelist.

The group has now posted the video of the debate to YouTube. You can view the debate here.

Anthony Horowitz, who has written one 007 continuation novel (Trigger Mortis) and is committed to another, represented the Fleming side. David Farr, who adapted Le Carre’s The Night Manager, represented Le Carre.

You can view the debate for yourself here:

 

Writers to debate whether Fleming, Le Carre is better

Intelligence Squared's poster for its Fleming-LeCarre debate.

Intelligence Squared’s poster for its Fleming-LeCarre debate.

Intelligence Squared, which stages debates and presentations on various topics, will hold a debate this month whether Ian Fleming or John Le Carre is the better spy novelist.

Representing Fleming (1908-64) will be Anthony Horowitz, author of the James Bond continuation novel Trigger Mortis, according to the group’s website.

Advocating for LeCarre (real name David Cornwell, b. 1931) will be David Farr, who adapted LeCarre’s The Night Manager for the BBC. The debate is scheduled for Nov. 29 at Emmanuel Centre in London.

Here’s an excerpt from the website:

To illustrate their arguments, Horowitz and Farr will be calling on a cast of actors to bring the novels to life. So far we are delighted to have confirmed Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis and Peaky Blinders star Alex Macqueen.

The tone of the debate may be interesting. Le Carre and some of his fans over the years have been critical of Bond.

Le Carre, in a 2012 interview with CBS, said, “We had the image of James Bond. He had this extraordinary life: the license to kill, all the girls he could eat and so on, and wonderful cars. He was the Superman with some kind of mysterious patriotic purpose.

“But people knew while they were watching that stuff, people knew then about this gray army of spooks that was around.”

Thanks to 007 Magazine publisher Graham Rye for the heads up via posts on Facebook.

 

Christopher Jones dies at 72

Christopher Jones, center, one of Thrush's "test tube" killers in a fourth-season Man From U.N.C.L.E. episode

Christopher Jones, one of Thrush’s “test tube” killers in a fourth-season Man From U.N.C.L.E. episode

Former actor Christopher Jones has died at 72 from complications of cancer, ACCORDING TO AN OBITUARY IN THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

The obituary focuses on credits such as Wild in The Streets and Ryan’s Daughter that were part of a “brief but dazzling career.” But given he mostly worked in the 1960s, Jones was drawn into the world of spy entertainment.

On television, he was the title character of The Test Tube Killer Affair, the second episode of the final season of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

The story centers on efforts by Thrush, the villainous organization of the show, to develop so-called perfect killers, bred for the task from a young age. Such killers have been conditioned to turn their emotions on and off as necessary.

Jones’s character, Greg Martin, kills a number of people, including three U.N.C.L.E. agents and one of his fellow “test tube killers” who has been judged to be “defective.” Martin is to blow up a dam in Greece to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Thrush project. The episode is a prime example of a much darker tone U.N.C.L.E. had in its final season.

Jones also starred in The Looking Glass War, a 1969 film directed and scripted by Frank Pierson, based on a 1965 John Le Carre novel.

UPDATE: After re-watching The Test Tube Killer, Greg Martin’s death toll was five: U.N.C.L.E. agent Miguel (pre-credits sequence), fellow “test tube” student No. 7 (Act I), an employee of the Athens airport (Act II) and two U.N.C.L.E. agents in a helicopter (Act IV). He also unsuccessfully tries to kill U.N.C.L.E. agents Solo and Kuryakin in Act I and Act III.

1964: John Le Carre appears on To Tell the Truth

David Cornell, aka John Le Carre

David Cornwell, aka John Le Carre

There was a time that game shows sometimes featured major literary or even historical figures. So it was in 1964 on the Mark Goodson-Bill Todman program To Tell The Truth when author David Cornwell, aka John Le Carre, was a contestant.

At the time of the broadcast on CBS, the author’s The Spy Who Came in From the Cold was a best seller. Cornwell had sold the film rights and it would be made into A 1965 MOVIE STARRING RICHARD BURTON. One of the screenwriters would be Paul Dehn, who had penned the later drafts of 1964’s Goldfinger.

The regular panel of Tom Poston, Peggy Cass, Orson Bean and Kitty Carlisle faced the daunting task of determining which of three contestents had once worked in British intelligence. The outcome? Well, let’s just say it didn’t turn out well for the panel.

Here’s the broadcast, featuring host Bud Collyer. Our usual caveat: these things are often yanked off YouTube, so it’s possible the embedded video may be gone by the time you see see this. Cornwell/Le Carre appears in the second of the three games:

Is Agent 007 a hero or an anti-hero?

Hero? Anti-hero?

So is James Bond a hero or an antihero? If you think the answers is easy, think again. Not even the co-chiefs of Eon Productions, whose personal fortunes stem from 007, agree.

Michael G. Wilson, who has worked on the Bond film series longer than anyone, is in the anti-hero camp. In an INTERVIEW WITH USA TODAY EARLIER THIS YEAR Wilson said, “There are plenty of imitators, but Bond really is the first one that was an anti-hero.” He again calls Bond an anti-hero in the new Everything Or Nothing documentary.

Barbara Broccoli, Wilson’s half-sister and the other co-boss at Eon, did an interview published last week at AIN’T IT COOL NEWS. This was her take on Bond: “He’s a classical hero, but he’s very human.”

Back on Feb. 1 WE DID A POST about Wilson’s remarks. It got a mixed reaction. One respondent wrote, “Bond of the novels was definitely an anti-hero, in my opinion, as was the Connery Bond of the first two films.” This person posted a YouTube video of a clip from Dr. No where 007 shoots Professor Dent, Dr. No’s lackey, in cold blood. Another said Bond was an anti-hero because he smokes, kills and “uses women.” Others wrote that Wilson misunderstands the Bond character or that 007 is a hero, but “a Cold War hero.”

As we presented on Feb. 1, this is the definition of anti-hero, according to Dictionary.com:

noun, plural an·ti·he·roes.
a protagonist who lacks the attributes that make a heroic figure, as nobility of mind and spirit, a life or attitude marked by action or purpose, and the like.

A less-evil mobster


By that definition, you could argue the label is more befitting of, say, Michael Corleone in The Godfather. He’s less evil than the leaders of the other mobs because he doesn’t want to get into the drug business. But, arguably at least, he’s not really a heroic figure.

Some have argued Bond is a hero, but a tarnished one (he does kill after all). He’s a patriot who, when he kills, does so for what he believes is a higher cause. Then again, John Le Carre would disagree, as would followers such as Robert MacNeil, the former PBS newsman.

We suspect none of this will settle the issue. As we noted before, when the two co-chiefs of Eon come down on different sides, that suggests the matter is one people will disagree about.