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Monday, February 20, 2012

A Lovely Day in Zurich and a Disappointing Movie

     It’s been a month since my last posting. I plead post-vacation email catch-up as an excuse. Like so many people these days, I tried to keep up on my work-email while on vacation but all I managed to do was stem the tide. I’ve decided that for every week you take off, it takes an additional week of working extra hard to catch up. In my case, I took a month off. So it goes…
     My wife was traveling on business on Valentine’s Day so we didn’t celebrate it until the following Saturday. We then went to our favorite Zurich restaurant Tres Kilos (Rulon’s second favorite after The Desperado),– a wonderful, yes, Mexican restaurant only a few blocks away from the American consulate in Zurich. Those of you who read Einstein’s Trunk will remember that Tres Kilos is where Rulon took Yohaba after the killing in the Honggerberg forest.
     Before dinner we did a walking/window shopping tour of Zurich, stopped at the Storchen hotel for the best hot chocolate in the world (and at $9.50 for a somewhat small by American standards cup, maybe one of the most expensive) and then had some glazed, chocolate covered orange slices from a nearby Springli chocolate store.
     After dinner, as an extra treat, we saw a movie we’d been chomping at the bit to see ever since we heard about it: The remake of Tinker, Tailor… starring Gary Oldham as George Smiley, the aged, bespeckled, overweight spy, based on the novel by John LeCarre.
            Alas, the movie was a disappointment. I’m sure the producers, actors, and directors did what they thought was best, but the 1979 BBC Alec Guinness mini-series, I’m afraid, has set a very, very high bar. It was so unbelievably good. There were so many scenes in the six-hour BBC version that were so well constructed, that maybe this new two-hour movie never stood a chance. In any case, there wasn’t a single scene in the new movie that was as powerful as the comparable scene in the original. Also, while it must have been a real challenge for the movie to condense the book to only two hours, I felt they had superfluous scenes, that if they had not been there, they could have had more time for LeCarre’s priceless dialogue. The book was not about men staring silently while they tracked down the mole in British Intelligence. The book was about Smiley’s relentless interrogations of his co-workers to finally arrive at the truth. Again, we see that making good movies is extremely difficult. There are so many mistakes that can be made. When a team gets it right, they should be applauded.    

     Next week: for my birthday, my wife bought me an Apple Macbook Air. I will talk about my experience and wax lyrical on changes in the IT industry.  

Best regards,

Jim
Zurich

4 comments:

swissmarg said...

How was Benedict Cumberbatch? He is the same actor who plays Sherlock that I was telling you about. He looks quite different in TTSS and Sherlock, though.

Anonymous said...

Now didn't I warn you about the movie. But guess having read the book as many times as you did you couldn't resist not watching the movie I guess.
Cheers,
"Your partner in crime"

Jim Haberkorn said...

I would say that the scenes in the movie were such that only a few actors had a chance to develop their characters. Unfortunately, I don't think Cumberbatch really had a chance. With that said, they changed from the book and had his character be gay. How odd. What a pointless change. Added nothing to the movie and was unnecessary. Considering they were trying to condense a very complex book into 2 hours, I wonder why they put that in. I consider it a mistake.

Carole said...

Great blog. Zurich is one of my favorite cities. http://caroleschatter.blogspot.co.nz/2011/12/zurich.html