Posts Tagged ‘spy films’

Did the CIA rewrite Charlie Wilson’s War?

Published November 13th 2016

Charlie Wilson’s War reduces nearly 10 years of the Soviet-Afghan War into an hour and forty minutes of Sorkin-scribed witty dialogue focusing almost entirely on how one alcoholic, womanising congressman helped to raise the billions of dollars that were given to the mujahideen to fight the godless Commie invaders. While we know that CIA entertainment liaison Chase Brandon worked on the film, along with former CIA officer Milt Bearden, there is no documentation on exactly what influence they had. A close analysis of the draft scripts for Charlie Wilson’s War, compared to the finished film, suggest that it was heavily rewritten to suit the Agency’s agenda.

The CIA’s James Bond File

Published October 20th 2016

The CIA has had an interest in James Bond almost since its inception as a series of novels in the 1950s. The books were probably the first spy fiction to refer to the CIA by name and to depict them through the character of Felix Leiter. This led to a friendship between Ian Fleming and CIA bigwig Allen Dulles, who not only discussed with Fleming how the CIA were portrayed in the Bond novels but also sourced ideas from the books. The CIA has released relatively few internal documents about the Bond books and films but they do have a considerable number of open source records that shed light on their interest in the franchise.

CIA Documents on Scorpio – The First Movie to Film at Langley

Published October 11th 2016

Scorpio holds the dubious distinction of being the first film to be allowed to shoot at the CIA headquarters in Langley. Since then the likes of Patriot Games and Argo are among a very small number to have been granted that privilege. It has otherwise been overlooked in favour of more significant thrillers of that decade but it was important enough for the CIA to have some files about it, both internal documents and open source records.

FBI investigated Richard Condon over The Manchurian Candidate

Published October 6th 2016

Author and publicist Richard Condon is best remembered for writing The Manchurian Candidate – a biting futuristic satire in which a Medal of Honor winning soldier is brainwashed by the Soviets to try to assassinate the US president. The FBI files on Condon and his most famous book draw numerous connections between the JFK assassination and The Manchurian Candidate (particularly the film adaptation). The Bureau even conducted a background search on Condon before the book was even published, solely due to it depicting the FBI.

ClandesTime 086 – The Cinema of the Soviet-Afghan War

Published October 2nd 2016

The Soviet-Afghan War helped bring down the Soviet Union and encouraged the rise of Al Qaeda and Islamism. The films about this war have been sponsored by both Western governments – Britain, the USA and Israel – and by Russia. This week I look at these films, their state sponsorship and how they portray both the Red Army and the Mujahideen, with some surprising results.

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