The Looking Glass War

The Looking Glass War (1969)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Jones, Ralph Richardson, Pia Degermark

A spy thriller based on John Le Carré’s best-selling book, ’The Looking Glass War’ is a great cold-war spy movie that truly makes you think. Consistently the movie asks the question whether a ’mission’ should be worth the life of a human being, whether achieving the goal at all costs is truly an honorable thing to do, and ultimately what is the purpose of wars, their ethics and procedures. The film is a bit slow – typical for 60s movies – but nonetheless extremely entertaining and thrilling nonetheless.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment presents the movie in its original 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio in a transfer that is enhanced for 16×9 TV sets. The print shows some age in the form of light speckles and mars, as well as some grain. It is never really distracting, though, and overall the presentation is rich, detailed and colorful. Blacks are solid, giving the image visual depth and rendering nicely delineated shadows. No compression artifacts are evident.

The audio on the release comes as a Dolby Stereo track that is free of hiss or background noise. The frequency response is somewhat limited, dating the movie, but nonetheless, the sound field remains natural for the most part. Dialogues and effects are free of sibilance and distortion.

Sadly, the DVD does not contain any notable extras.

’The Looking Glass War’ is a great 60s spy-thriller. It may not have the plot-twists of some of the greatest films of the genre, but the drawing of the characters and the critical comment of the movie make it a thoroughly enjoyable film.