Directed by: John Huston
Countries & Regions: United States
Length: 116 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 25 July 2011
Cat No: EKA40335
Hard of Hearing Subtitles: English
Screen ratio 1:2.35
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The Kremlin Letter
Cast: Dean Jagger , Bibi Andersson , Max von Sydow , Orson Welles , Lila Kedrova , Michael MacLiammoir , Niall MacGinnis , Richard Boone , George Sanders , Ronald Radd , Nigel Green , Barbara Parkins , Sandor Eles , Raf Vallone
John Huston directs this classic spy thriller starring Richard Boone, Orson Welles, Bibi Andersson and Max von Sydow. An undercover... Read More
John Huston never could resist a shaggy dog story and this convoluted Cold War caper is one of his most elaborate. The titular epistle is a top secret document that could start World War Three; Western intelligence thinks the Soviets have it and dispatch a team of ace agents to grab it; once ensconced in Moscow, the spies go to elaborate – and morally dubious – lengths to discover its whereabouts.
Like so much of the Huston's greatest work, this is an uneven film: the plot is labyrinthine and the tone fluctuates wildly, beginning as a mode-ish espionage romp before diving into deeper water. With its emphasis on the darker side of the spy game, it can be seen as a counterweight to the popular fantasies peddled by James Bond: our cheerful heroes are cheerfully unheroic, indulging in blackmail, drug peddling and prostitution.
The Kremlin Letter is not one of Huston's best-known films but it deserves praise for its ambition and cynicism. It's also worth it for the improbable sight of George Sanders in drag.