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John le Carré - An Evening with George Smiley (2017)

An Evening with George Smiley (original title)
Broadcast live from London's Royal Festival Hall, join us for a celebration of one of the world's greatest writers as he shares the secrets behind the creation of his most beloved character.


John Kirby


John le Carré


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Credited cast:
Hossein Amini ... Self
Simon Russell Beale ... Self
Tom Hiddleston ... Self
John Irvin ... Self
Michael Jayston ... Self
John le Carré ... Self
Jon Snow Jon Snow ... Self
Peter Straughan ... Self


From his extraordinary Cold War novels - such as The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - to his powerful descriptions of the arms trade in The Night Manager, and the War on Terror in A Most Wanted Man, the writing of John le Carré has come to define the last half century. In this one-off event, the author discusses the full breadth of his career, and reflects on the continuing story of his most famous creation, the tubby, bespectacled spy, George Smiley. Coinciding with the publication date of his new novel, A Legacy of Spies, the event will include readings from the book by the author. The novel sees the return of some of le Carré's most iconic Cold War characters, including George Smiley and his trusted lieutenant, Peter Guillam, as their past comes back to claim them in the present. With a rare question and answer session, this will be an unmissable opportunity to experience one of the foremost chroniclers of our age, direct and in his own words. In ... Written by The Ink Factory

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Broadcast live to cinemas from the Royal Festival Hall 7 September See more »









Release Date:

7 September 2017 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

John le Carré - An Evening with George Smiley See more »


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Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Production Co:

The Ink Factory See more »
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Did You Know?


For A Murder of Quality (1991), Alec Guinness was asked to play John le Carré's famous character of George Smiley for a third time, but he passed. Anthony Hopkins, who had previously starred in John le Carré's The Looking Glass War (1970), was offered the role and read a script, but withdrew from the project when script changes were made that he didn't like. Denholm Elliott was approached with just three days until production was to start. Elliott turned it down initially, as he was living in Spain, and returning to the UK would mean he would be landed with a bigger tax bill. He then agreed to play the role when he was offered twice the fee. See more »


References Battleship Potemkin (1925) See more »

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User Reviews

Classy. Insightful. Wise. And truly remarkable.
28 August 2018 | by Evil_HerbivoreSee all my reviews

Having read one book of his and watched a few movie adaptations of his writing, I knew that John le Carre is both very intelligent and very wise. I expected his speech/lecture to be really interesting, but I still wasn't prepared for what I got in An Evening with George Smiley.

In the first, longest part of the show, le Carre gives a speech about his most famous character, George Smiley. It is built around the character's creation and personality, and contains fragments of le Carre's newest book A Legacy of Spies. What could have been a dry speech is in fact a compelling and fascinating story of a remarkable man and the character he created. We hear deliberations on what makes people choose the career in the secret service. We get a touching feeling of nostalgia or old, much simpler time, when spies were nonviolent people. We see how freedom can be found in creating art, which in le Carre's case means writing novels. We get a feeling that the world's history is a history of constant turmoil, when he talks about the fall of the Berlin wall or the Cuba crisis. In case all of this got too dark, we also get a good measure of hilarious anecdotes about the actors le Carre worked with throughout the years when his books were being made into movies.

In the second part, a number of people involved in various movie and television projects based on le Carre's books talk about the man. Actors, screenwriters, and directors recall their meetings with le Carre, shedding light on this remarkable man and sharing their thoughts - sometimes really insightful ones - and feelings about his writing. We also get a handful of quite interesting behind-the-scenes stories from various sets, something which should interest any cinema fan.

The final part is le Carre talking with Jon Snow and answering questions asked by fans on Twitter and Facebook. Here again he discusses both his political views, his many adventures both as a spy and as a writer travelling around the world in order to gather material for his books, and his writing process. His every answer is deep and truly insightful and all of them give the viewer a feeling that he is fighting for what he believes in: a better, more humane world without the human suffering which moves him so deeply.

I was truly moved by the whole "show" and found le Carre to be a very charismatic man. It is clear that he believes in a better world. He is a fascinating person, a true British gentleman and listening to him is a pure pleasure. And I feel like I learned a thing or two along the way.

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