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Catching The Cold War: The Culture of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Posted November 28, 2011 to photo album "Catching The Cold War: The Culture of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"

The Cold War paranoia that permeates TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY was a focus of a series of fascinating books and films created in post-war Europe and America.

Taking the Temperature of Cold War Culture
The Moral Quagmire: THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD
Potential Fallout: FAIL SAFE
Paranoia Pulp: KISS ME DEADLY
Sex and the Soviet: From Russia with Love
Peace in a Pod: INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS
Cold War Campaign: THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE
At Long Last: POINT OF ORDER
Cold War On The Rocks: TOPAZ
Cold War Meltdown: THE FOURTH PROTOCOL
The Cold War Capsized: THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER
Cold War Meltdown: THE FOURTH PROTOCOL

Cold War Meltdown: THE FOURTH PROTOCOL

With the “détente” U.S.-Soviet policies of the 1970s and the 1979 SALT II nuclear treaty negotiated by President Jimmy Carter, the Cold War appeared to be limping to a close. Then came the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the election of President Ronald Reagan, and an escalated military build-up and arms race. It would be another decade before historians would formally call it a wrap on the Cold War, but it was already clear that there would be politicians, spooks, and the military-industrial complex who would miss the profitable conflicts of superpower rivalry. All these issues are explored in THE FOURTH PROTOCOL, John McKenzie’s adaptation of the Frederic Forsyth novel. The titular “protocol” is said by Forsyth to be part of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and it bans non-conventional delivery of nuclear devices. In THE FOURTH PROTOCOL, Michael Caine plays a weary British intelligence agent banished to the unglamorous detail of monitoring ports. He begins to suspect that nuclear materials are being smuggled into the country, uncovering a conspiracy by the KGB to stage a nuclear event in Britain and reignite the diminishing embers of the Cold War. And while the story’s larger themes revolve around U.S.-Soviet conflict, the idea of smuggling nuclear materials through ports is still alarmingly relevant. Wrote Rita Kempley of the Washington Post at the time, “Forsyth's story is based on the latest in terrorist technology. You can build a small bomb in your basement if you want to nuke the dog who digs up the garden. The screenwriter also reduces world politics to a series of career moves, a sort of international yuppism, complete with double agents, death threats and atomic skulduggery.”