Blunt – The Fourth Man

Blunt - The Fourth Man

Drama, Thriller | 85 Mins | Released: 1987
Director: John Glenister
Starring: Ian Richardson, Anthony Hopkins, Michael Williams, Rosie Kerslake, Emma Cottrell, Casey Doy, Geoffrey Chater
Our Rating: 7

Anthony Blunt (Ian Richardson) is an eminent Cambridge-educated art historian who is also working as a spy for the Soviet Union. In love with double agent Guy Burgess (Anthony Hopkins), he helps Burgess get yet another treasonous British agent to safety in Moscow. When Burgess unexpectedly defects as well, the government becomes suspicious of Blunt, but investigators have trouble believing such a refined and aristocratic gentleman would ever betray his nation and his class.

Movie Notes:

Excellently made film of a very difficult subject.
22 December 2006 by kovilhelm
Made in 1985, and set in 1951 with roots 20 years further back. For me the cars and their exhaust note, the floors, sounds of the door latches, and the river, all exude the essences of the times. Anthony Hopkins attention to the detail of language, phrases and words, place his character spot-on in the period. A tremendous success. The capture of social context within the story works as well. Admittedly the plot is torturous and I had to keep backtracking to understand, but to the director’s and writer’s credit they did not stoop to making things boring by overly long explanations; they kept it fast paced, just like real people would talk, and it is up to me to get up to speed. The second screening was much more enjoyable! A film that is rich in sets and costumes, as well as dialog, period language and plot! A drawing room drama, not an action film; a study of sociological entanglements.

The Blunt Truth
sol from Brooklyn NY USA – 28 December 2005
Back in the late 1940’s the FBI detected that there was a Soviet spy in the British Embassy in Washington D.C but could only narrow him down to a half dozen high ranking members of the British Foreign Service or MI5. It wasn’t until 1949 that the spy code name “Homer” was identified as being Donald MacLean, Michael McStay. The FBI, together with the British Government, set a trap to not just arrest MacLean but those who he was in contact and working with in the British Isles. It’s there where the movie “Blunt” begins, in late May 1951
Knowing that one of his fellow classmate’s in Cambridge is about to be picked by the police and may very well implicate him as well as his friends as Soviet spys Art Historian and former MI5 agent Anthony Blunt, Ian Richardson, plans to have Maclean shipped out of the country into the Soviet Union and has fellow spy Guy Burgess, Anthony Hopkins, assigned to do the job. It turns out that Burgess, a drunken and irresponsible party goer, not only got MacLean out of the UK and into the USSR but he joined him as well against the orders of his boss Blunt. This puts suspicion on Blunt with two of his closest friends jumping ship to the USSR as spies and him not, or faking,knowing anything about their past espionage activities.
Were left with Blunt now at the mercy of his friend and fellow spy who’s, or claims, been out of the spying business since August 1939, after the signing of the Nazi/Soviet non-Aggression Pact. Incidentally Goronwy Rees played by actor Michael Williams looks strikingly like a young Edward G. Robinson. Rees who’s married and has two children doesn’t want anything to do with Blunt & Co. but his friendship with Blunt puts him in harm’s way. Trying to keep the secret of Blunt from his wife Margie, Rosie Kenslake, backfires when, not being able to lie to her, Rees spills the beans on his fellow Cambridge spy putting Blunt as well as himself in danger of ending up at the end of the British hangman’s rope.
It’s right at the beginning of the movie that we learn that Blunt got away Scott free and lived to die of old age ,in 1983, even though the British MI5 exposed him as a Soviet spy as early as 1964. The shocking truth about Blunt came out fifteen years later, in 1979, almost causing the fall of British PM Margaret Thatcher, who went public with the story, administration.
Burgess & Maclean died in exile in the USSR and what seemed like the innocent Goronway Rees, who was never arrested for the crimes of his fellow Cambridge alumni, died in 1979 after giving a death-bed confession. Rees confessed that he indeed was a spy for the Russians all the twelve years, 1939-1951, that he claimed that he was out of the loop and not involved with the spying of the infamous Cambridge Five: Blunt Burgess Liddell MacLean and the most slippery and dangerous of them all Kim Philby.