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Forgotten Reel Spies

By Pragyananda Mishra

It has been few years since I discovered the art of gluing close to a laptop, stuffed in the tiniest of the spaces at times, plugging in the earphones, frantically searching for the subtitles and praising to the serial rippers for the wonderful releases. Ignore the ethical factor and these people are certainly the most revered ones for those who live, eat and drink celluloid. Among the myriad hues of genres, modern cinema (after 1950’s) has seen some of the best movies and the most probing climaxes in the Espionage segment. In here I intend to list my top 5 movies which have been long forgotten and are far too much underrated than they should be. I also fill the spaces with a few words of wisdom (I may not be the typical 50 something acerbic movie reviewer and definitely not the one who has seen everything but believe me I know a word or two )

Stand out performance : Robert Redford as Joe Turner
Suspense quotient : 6/10
Plot : As a low level CIA researcher “who is paid to read almost everything that has been published” this is Condor’s tale of bringing the skeletons out of the CIA’s closet after the gruesome death of his colleagues. Being voted as one of the sexiest men of the century he does what spies love to do with hostages and women.

Stand out performance : Cary Grant as Kaplan/Thornhill
Suspense quotient : 8/10
Plot : An advertising executive is on the run as he falls into a vicious trap set by a real spy working for ‘the’ agency. What follows is framing for murder, running for cover and rescuing a blond atop Mt. Rushmore. A Hitchcock masterpiece

Stand out performance : Gary Oldman as George Smiley 
Suspense quotient : 6/10
Plot : A spy operation gone wrong and the lead is accused to be the mole and is terminated of his office. Years later the British Intelligence needs him again and he uses all his espionage skills to unearth the fiasco and the men who led to his ungraceful exit

Stand out performance : Edward Fox as Jackal
Suspense quotient : 9.5/10
Plot : Adaptation of Forsyth’s classic novel of the same name, the movie matches the book in every aspect and even heightens the tension and the famous “will he shoot?” query that the audience hold on to for 2 hours. Weapon smuggling, car chases, sex with a hot-single-but-mingle-stranger make the movie a feast for the eyes

Stand out performance : George Clooney as Jack/Edward
Suspense quotient : 8/10
Plot : This is a classic example of the million movies which feature an instance of ‘This is my last! No more’ cases. Being a master assassin Jack manages to camouflage very well in the streets of Italy and finds an accomplice. The last scene of the separation/craving/meeting is worth seeing.

The movies listed above are 5 in number and in no way are the best rated in IMDB but it needs a comprehensive viewing. Among the bigwigs we can always shower plaudits to the Bourne’s, The Bond’s and The Mission Impossible’s.

Pragyananda Mishra
20 something-year old taciturn hobbledehoy; I try to win but a loss is always heartening. Presently bewildered and still not sure that 0% of everything is better than 100% of nothing.


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