Blunt: The Fourth Man

 (33)1 h 25 min198513+
In this suspenseful spy story, the truth comes out regarding the Philby/Burgess/MacLean spy scandal that rocked Britain in 1951, and the evidence points to the "fourth man".
John Glenister
Ian RichardsonAnthony HopkinsMichael Williams
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Rosie KerslakeGeoffrey ChaterAlbert WellingMichael McStay
Janson Media
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4.0 out of 5 stars

33 global ratings

  1. 46% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 31% of reviews have 4 stars
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  4. 9% of reviews have 2 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

JustaGuyReviewed in the United States on March 15, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Inaccuracies be damned, there is enough of the truth here.
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Fascinating and intense. Not for you if you are looking for a titillation and some mindless thrilling scenes. Also, some of the facts are blunted, but enough there to be clear. Imagine, if you will, Kenneth Roberts writing the unexpurgated story of the Cambridge 5 if that s possible. Sorry for those who lack imagination - probably they don't much care for 17th century art either. Pity, that. Historical fiction has taught more people the truth than all the so called non-fiction books ever written. Your first clue is that "non-fiction" isn't even a stand-alone term. And, in terms of THIS subject matter, there is very little ""NON'-fiction.
18 people found this helpful
margotReviewed in the United States on October 31, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
A curio, a very peculiar historical curio
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Time and place: May 1951, mainly London, the last weeks before Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean fled to the Continent and thence to Moscow. But technically and thematically the film really reflects the era when it was made, thirty-odd years later. All the main characters in this story were dead and ready for reimagining, beyond the reach of libel actions. The 'Cambridge Spies' were a hot property in the 1980s and figured in a number of dramatizations, at least two of them by Alan Bennett.

Scriptwriter Robin Chapman frames the story in the conceit of a homosexual tearjerker. Blunt and Guy Burgess are depicted as longtime lovers. Lord knows they weren't. This theme is hammered in further with suggestions that Burgess had also had relationships with Donald Maclean and Goronwy Rees. I suppose he didn't find enough dramatic interest in the source material.

For additional soap-operatic filler, we get lots and lots of anxious, tearful domestic scenes between Mr and Mrs Rees. This comes as a surprise, since Rees was a decidedly minor character in the actual events. He's in the script for exposition purposes, to explain to his wife how one could become a communist at Cambridge, and then a Soviet spy as well. In real life, a drunken Donald Maclean had once denounced Rees at their club—"you used to be one of us, but you ratted." We don't see this encounter, but the Rees couple keep talking about it. The writer is trying to sketch in the motives of the unattractive, seldom-seen Maclean character. Here and elsewhere in the script, major plot points happen offscreen or by allusion.

The principal members of the cast all look about 15 years older than the characters they're playing. Burgess is written as a promiscuous gay blade, bubbling over with tales of adventure and conquests, but in Anthony Hopkins's depiction he's a dissolute old perv. He keeps being told how healthy and fit he looks, but here his looks are not deceiving. It all comes across as whimsy, like a D'Oyly Carte production where portly performers of fifty-five summers sing about being sprightly young youths and maidens. Ian Richardson as Blunt is more acceptable, because even if he's far older than the 45-ish Blunt of 1951, he does resemble the older Blunt whom most people knew from the papers and television in 1979. The fact that Ian Richardson had also played a commie spy in the original 1979 BBC2 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' gives him a comforting familiarity and authority.

The real Kim Philby was still sloshing about in Moscow in 1985, but he scarcely figures here except as a minor offscreen Mrs. Grundy. Guy Burgess's chorus-boy flatmate Jack Hewit was still around and in England in the 80s, and would be trotted out for interviews in the Spectator or whatever; but Jackie doesn't make it into this script. (In his place is a swishy clerkly type named Jimmy.)

To keep the script self-contained and the production low-budget (apart from the cast), the film is shot mainly in cramped interiors, occasionally relieved by picnicky scenes in the countryside. It all has the look and feel of a BBC series of the 1970s or 80s. Interior scenes are shot with some kind of low-light film, giving visuals of saturated color (blues and greens especially) though they are a bit soft and fuzzy to the modern HD-trained eye. Exteriors are sharper but washed-out by comparison. All scenes seem to be done with 16mm film, so you don't get the jarring contrast so common with certain BBC products of the era, where you pass back and forth between film and video. (The rare outside scenes in 'Upstairs, Downstairs' always seemed to take place in a different universe.)

It's not quite cinema verité, or even pop history, but it does accurately convey the sentiments and perspectives common a generation later. Until 1979, the story of Burgess, Maclean was mainly oft-repeated, tabloid stuff, with most important information still concealed from public view. After that, with blasé acceptance of homosexuality and the winding-down of the Cold War, the story of the Cambridge Spies became a never-flagging public obsession, with secrets yet to be uncovered.
7 people found this helpful
sofarReviewed in the United States on August 8, 2018
2.0 out of 5 stars
Dull and Dated
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This is a poorly done, highly inaccurate movie about Anthony Blunt, one of the infamous Cambridge 5 spies for the Soviet Union. This movie chooses to emphasize Blunt's personal relationship with Guy Burgess, another spy, at the expense of telling the fascinating story of how members of the British elite intelligence services acted as Soviet Spies for over a decade without being detected.The Spy Who Went Into the Cold, a documentary about Kim Philby, gives a thorough exploration of these men and I would recommend it for those interested in the subject.
13 people found this helpful
T HoffmannReviewed in the United States on July 31, 2018
2.0 out of 5 stars
A spy movie that is not a spy movie
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If ever there was a spy movie that is not a spy movie, this is it. We have been dropped into the very end of the "careers" of three spies, plus a fourth wheel, who are working to escape to Russia for safety and retirement. This movie was very boring with no action, the dialogue was too often hard to understand in places, and British idioms were peppered throughout that left me asking myself "what does that mean"?
8 people found this helpful
Michael MeierReviewed in the United States on April 4, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Dated but hard to turn away
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I found Hopkins performance a bit overcome by his own demons of addictions during that phase of his life but he delivers a lynch pin performance for a cast that without him would have come across stale and "movie of the weekish." Reasonably accurate portrayal of the events considering the time it was made. I tried to stop watching it, but continually found its pace drawing me in and with less than 30 minutes left I decided to finish it and am glad I did.
2 people found this helpful
FR2011Reviewed in the United States on September 19, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
A great view of a small slice of time
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The acting is thrilling. Hopkins Richardson Williams Kerslake all very strong. It's an intense story. Love the tie made between Poussin's neo-classicism and theoretical Marxism.
Of course it's not the full story, it's not intended to be. Just a period of a few days.
Watched it on prime video.
4 people found this helpful
Gary BrownReviewed in the United States on October 4, 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
no no no
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I love a good historical movie but this was a drag. Quit after 15 minutes
One person found this helpful
Annie Van AukenReviewed in the United States on March 28, 2010
4.0 out of 5 stars
Anthony Hopkins '80s TV movie double-feature
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BLUNT is a season 3 episode of the long-running BBC TV program, "Screen Two," an anthology series of 90-minute films. GUILTY CONSCIENCE is another made-for-TVer, but an American one.

In the first, Ian Richardson portrays Anthony Blunt. He was arrested in 1951 and charged with being the British contact for a Soviet mole stationed at Her Majesty's Washington D.C. embassy. Anthony Hopkins is Guy Burgess, a fellow counter intelligence operative who helps their spy in America to safely reach the U.S.S.R.

Hopkins stars in GUILTY CONSCIENCE as a criminal attorney contemplating divorce who'd rather kill his wife than pay alimony. He carefully works out in his mind different murder scenarios and using an imaginary lawyer counterpart calculates how each courtroom trial would play to the residing judge (his father's portrait) and how they'd conclude. Throughout all these mental gymnastics, the would-be assassin doesn't know that his wife is considering how to bump HIM off! A delicious screenplay is by the creators of the Peter Falk crime drama series, [[ASIN:B0002COTDA COLUMBO]].

Parenthetical numbers preceding titles are 1 to 10 imdb viewer poll ratings.

(6.7) Guilty Conscience (TV-1985) - Anthony Hopkins/Blythe Danner/Swoosie Kurtz/Donegan Smith

(6.4) "Screen Two": Blunt (TV-UK-1987) - Ian Richardson/Anthony Hopkins/Rosie Kerslake/Michael Williams
14 people found this helpful
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