Shot Analysis


Martin Ritt’s ‘The Spy who came in from the Cold’ was award winning for cinematography. This shot appears at 0:35:30 and lasts 30 seconds as one take. There is no sound to this clip.


Let us consider the expertise that went into this shot by considering the challenges.

  • A long single take
  • Framing of Bloom in the front right window then her passing in front of the Horden Character in the left front window then onto the bus.
  • The bus is moving for most of the shot and in fact Bloom passes in front of the bus while it is coming to halt.
  • The shot extra long and zooms in then zooms out framing the Horden character perfectly in the rear window. Focus must remain on the characters.
  • Camera pans for around 210 degrees. The operator must turn and keep balance while the bus decelerates.
  • A smooth pan throughout while tripod is in the isle between the seats
  • On location with all the crew on the bus.
  • Sound (although not apparent in the clip) is recorded on set.


Possible solutions

How it might have been done

  • Timing of the exact arrival of the bus
  • A very experienced driver who can bring the bus to a perfect halt smoothly and hit his ‘mark”.
  • All actors precisely rehearsed and marks laid.
  • Camera, in a time before hand held equipment, dampened to prevent movement and vibration from the bus. The bus used is an “RT” London Bus which date back to the late 30s. An aside this as Routemaster buses were commonplace (and smoother and have a wider isle).
  • Road closed
  • Cue to Nan given from the bus. In character she runs in front of the bus which is something only Londoners would be comfortable to do at the time (to join the queue)


This is an incredibly complex shot requiring expert coordination in all departments. I would love to include some of the elements in filming in Ilfracombe. Particularly the framing in the windows.


The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, [television programme, online], Prod. credit n.k., Prod. company n.k., Prod. country n.k., 16:25 24/4/2016, Film4, 135mins., (Accessed 26/04/2016).




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