The Russia House
The book The Russia House was made into the movie The Russia House.
Book details for The Russia House
2 cassettes / 3 hours
Read by the Author
From premier spy novelist John le Carre, a magnificent thriller, a love story and an ethical puzzle for our time.
We are in the third year of perestroika and glasnost. The place is Moscow. The man is Barley; a derelict, English publisher with a passion for jazz and a penchant for booze, who visits the Moscow Book Fair.
The woman is Katya: a beautiful Russian with a mission to mankind and access to some of the hottest defense intelligence to come out of the Soviet Union in years. It source: a disillusioned and desperate Russian physicist who wants Barley to publish the secrets . . but the British Secret Service and the CIA have other ideas.
Movie details for The Russia House
The movie was released in 1990 and directed by Fred Schepisi, who also directed A Cry in the Dark (1988) and Last Orders (2001). The Russia House was produced by MGM (Video & DVD). More information on the movie is available on Amazon.com and also IMDb.
Actors on this movie include Sean Connery, Michelle Pfeiffer, Roy Scheider, James Fox, John Mahoney, Michael Kitchen, J.T. Walsh, Ken Russell, David Threlfall, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Mac McDonald, Nicholas Woodeson, Martin Clunes, Ian McNeice, Colin Stinton, Denys Hawthorne, George Roth, Peter Mariner, Ellen Hurst and Peter Knupffer.
The problems, meanwhile, emanate from the story line that brings these opposites together. Le Carré's novels are absorbing but typically internal odysseys that seldom offer the level of straightforward action or simple arcs of plot that the big screen thrives on. For The Russia House, written as glasnost eclipsed the cold war's overt rivalries, Le Carré means to measure how old adversaries must calibrate their battle to a more subtle, subdued match of wits. Barley himself becomes enmeshed in the mystery of the manuscript because British intelligence chooses to use him as cat's paw rather than become directly involved. Such subtlety may be a more realistic take on the spy games of the recent past, but it makes for an often tedious, talky alternative to taut heroics that Connery codified in his most celebrated early espionage role.
If the suspense thus suffers, we're still left with an affecting love story, as well as some convincing sniping between British and U.S. intelligence operatives, beautifully cast with James Fox, Roy Scheider, and John Mahoney. Veteran playwright Tom Stoppard brings considerable style to the dialogue, without solving the problem of giving us more than those verbal exchanges to sustain dramatic interest. --Sam Sutherland