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A Murder of Quality (1991)

Taken from the book by John le Carré, George Smiley rallies to the aid of his former intelligence colleague, Ailsa Brimley, to investigate a mysterious letter from a junior master's wife at... See full summary »


Gavin Millar


John le Carré (screenplay), John le Carré (novel)
1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Denholm Elliott ... George Smiley
Joss Ackland ... Terence Fielding
Glenda Jackson ... Ailsa Brimley
Billie Whitelaw ... Mad Janie
David Threlfall ... Stanley Rode
Ronald Pickup ... Felix D'Arcy
Matthew Scurfield ... Inspector Rigby
Christian Bale ... Tim Perkins
Diane Fletcher Diane Fletcher ... Shane Hecht
Fiona Walker ... Dorothy D'Arcy
Nick Reding Nick Reding ... Sergeant Mellor
Michael Cochrane ... Charles Hecht
Charles Pemberton Charles Pemberton ... Sergeant Ted Mundy
William Armstrong William Armstrong ... The Reverend Fergus
Moray Watson ... Major Harriman
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Taken from the book by John le Carré, George Smiley rallies to the aid of his former intelligence colleague, Ailsa Brimley, to investigate a mysterious letter from a junior master's wife at Carne School, a boy's school. When Smiley goes to Carne to investigate, he finds the junior master's wife brutualy murdered, with her husband as one of the suspects. Smiley begins to scratch at the surface of the closed-knit society of Carne, and soon begins to find that things are not as they seem. Secret societies, sexual abuse, and a mysterious boy, Timothy Perkins, who is either another suspect, witness, or victim. Written by <73204.3701@compuserve.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


John le Carré's George Smiley Investigates See more »



Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Rupert Davies was the first actor to play'John le Carré''s famous George Smiley in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965); James Mason was the second actor to play George Smiley character on screen and TV in The Deadly Affair (1967) though the character was renamed Charles Dobbs; Sir Alec Guinness was the third, he played him twice, in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979) and Smiley's People (1982); Denholm Elliott was the fourth actor to play Smiley in A Murder of Quality (1991); whilst Gary Oldman was the fifth actor to play George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). See more »


Terence Fielding: We are all common middle class boys with upper class pretensions and third class degrees.
See more »


Referenced in John le Carré - An Evening with George Smiley (2017) See more »

User Reviews

good adaptation of LeCarre novel
8 July 2013 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

This time, it's Denholm Elliot as George Smiley, and the story is "A Murder of Quality" from 1991, also starring Glenda Jackson, Joss Ackland, Billie Whitelaw, and a 17-year-old Christian Bale.

Smiley is asked by a former colleague (Jackson) to look into a strange letter sent to her by a junior master's wife at a boy's school, Carne. When Smiley calls the school, he learns that the woman has been murdered. Her husband is a suspect.

Smiley travels to the school and works with the police. He discovers that plenty of people had a motive to kill this woman besides the husband - she was a blackmailer, not for money, but for the power of it. Another murder follows, and Smiley begins to put the pieces together.

Very good film, with LeCarre writing the screenplay himself. Denholm Elliot does an excellent job as Smiley, quietly observant, perhaps lacking the bite of Alec Guinness, but good nonetheless. It was a delight to see Glenda Jackson - she's been out of acting for so long, it was a joy to see her and remember how fabulous she was. Christian Bale doesn't have a ton of dialogue, but he was instantly recognizable and did well. Joss Ackland has a showy part as a professor and gives a flamboyant performance.

This is a depressing, moody film, quite dark, and highly recommended.

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Release Date:

13 October 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Asesinato de calidad See more »

Filming Locations:

Sherborne, Dorset, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Mono | Stereo (DVD release)



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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