Review: The Deadly Affair
Blu-ray & DVD: The Deadly Affair (1966)
Charles Dobbs (James Mason…a man whose voice I could listen to all day) has an innocuous chat with Foreign Office employee Samuel Fennan (Robert Flemying) in a park, but hours later Fennan is found dead after an apparent suicide. Hobbs is not satisfied that is was indeed suicide and decides to follow up on a few anomalies, despite the protestations of his seniors. Dobbs investigations are made all the more difficult due to the errant ways of his wife Ann (Harriet Anderson) whom he knows is having an affair with someone, yet prefers to bury his head in the sand about it and let it carry on with as little knowledge as possible.
To give any more away about The Deadly Affair would spoil an intricate and suspenseful storyline, where manipulation and deceit is high on the agenda of the majority of the characters, and their interactions with each other can only be taken on face value as trust and honesty is pared away to reveal their true souls.
Based on the John le Carré novel Call for the Dead, Director Sidney Lumet (who helmed one of my all time favourite movies; The Hill) does a damn fine job of keeping all the intricacies of the twists and turns in the storyline, AND the multilayered depths of the characters, adequately contained without everything spinning out of control and leaving the viewer with no idea of what is happening. As each scene unfolds, new information is given which has you second guessing yourself as to the loyalties and motives of all involved.
There are superlative performances throughout the entire cast, a particular favourite of mine being Roy Kinnear as dodgy car dealer Adam Scarr. His introduction in a grimy pub flanked either side by women of dubious morals (this after it’s already been established that he’s left his young daughter home alone at night) sets him out as being a character with which you have little empathy. Yet his journey from cocky and arrogant ‘king of the hill’ to beaten and emotionally drained (and near death) man, is one which is a joy to watch, especially given his relatively short screen time.
James Mason is of course fantastic. You can’t help but feel sorry for the situation he finds himself in both personally and professionally, and he’s an actor, while possessed with an incredible voice, that can say a dozen lines of dialogue with just a facial expression and a slight turn of the body.
The Deadly Affair is a must watch if you love spy thrillers, and also a must watch if you’re unsure if you do or don’t love them. Its narrative construction will have you constantly second guessing yourself and the acting throughout effortlessly carries the story through to its thrilling conclusion. Another superb release from Powerhouse Films which gives audiences an opportunity to discover a movie that may well have otherwise passed them by.
Needless to say, the special features are once again worth the purchase price alone.
INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION SPECIAL FEATURES:
• High Definition remaster
• Original mono audio
• Audio commentary with film historians Michael Brooke and Johnny Mains
• The National Film Theatre Lecture with James Mason (1967, 48 mins): archival audio recording of an interview conducted by Leslie Hardcastle
• The Guardian Lecture with Sidney Lumet (1983, 89 mins): archival audio recording of an interview conducted by Derek Malcolm at the National Film Theatre, London
• A Different Kind of Spy: Paul Dehn’s Deadly Affair (2017, 17 mins): writer David Kipen discusses the life and work of screenwriter Paul Dehn
• Take One and Move On (2017, 5 mins): camera operator Brian West on The Deadly Affair
• Lumet’s London (2017, 4 mins): the London locations of The Deadly Affair explored
• Original theatrical trailer
• Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
• New English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive 32-page booklet with a new essay by Thirza Wakefield, archival interviews with cinematographer Freddie Young and James Mason, and an overview of contemporary critical responses
• World premiere on Blu-ray
• Limited Dual Format Edition of 3,000 copies
The Deadly Affair will be released on 28th August, 2017 and you can buy it by clicking HERE. ALL money raised by purchasing from Amazon via our website is given back to our listeners and followers in upcoming competition prizes. The more people buy, the bigger our prizes!
Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Powerhouse Films.