A theoretical economic system characterized
by the collective ownership of property and by the organization of labor for
the common advantage of all members.
A system of government in which the state
plans and controls the economy and a single, often authoritarian party
holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in
which all goods are equally shared by the people.
The Marxist-Leninist version of Communist
doctrine that advocates the overthrow of capitalism by the revolution of
Thatís dictionary.comís definition of the
term communism, and the reason I quote it here is because the four main
characters in Cambridge Spies are vehement communists, to the point where they
dream of, and ultimately become, spies for Russia.
Cambridge Spies is a rather cracking BBC
mini-series, treated to a very nice transition to DVD. The series focuses on
the lives and careers of four Cambridge alumni who betray their nation in the
name of Marxist communism. The four believe, as do so many people, that
communism is the only way to ensure the fair treatment of every member of
society, and their treason is not portrayed as being malicious in any way.
They truly are just men who want the best thing for their country and the
We meet Guy Burgess, Anthony Blunt, Kim
Philby and Donald Maclean in 1934, during their last year of university at
Cambridge. Blunt and Burgess already seem to have soviet contacts, and Philby
and Maclean want to be involved too. The four are recruited as Soviet spies
and commence performing operations for the Russians. Every aspect of their
public lives becomes a lie, as they work harder and harder to maintain the
secrecy of their true professions whilst embedding themselves in privileged
positions within British society.
Despite the fact that the four men are spies
and traitors to their nation, they are portrayed as very earnest and likeable
young men. The audience empathises with their plight because it is abundantly
clear that these boys donít want to hurt anyone, they really do believe that
what they are doing is beneficial in the long run and that what they are doing
is a good thing. Itís not until much later in their careers that some of them
begin to question what they are doing, and why they are doing it, and whether
there are other things in life that can take precedence over their fervent
Everything about this DVD is of a very high
caliber. The video quality is excellent, the audio fantastic, and the extras,
whilst fairly minimal, make for interesting viewing. The two-episode audio
commentary by the Writer, Director and Producer is fairly insightful, although
the only other bonus is a photo gallery. Some more treats would have been nice
but what we get is definitely worthwhile.
Cambridge Spies should appeal to a great many
people. It is a fascinating look at the lives of four men who some would
definitely consider misguided, but who cannot be faulted for their absolute
faith in their political beliefs. Well shot, brilliantly acted, and on a very
nice DVD, this is well worth investigating.