The 1979 six-part series that was John Irvin‘s Tinker, Tailor, Solder, Spy ran 290 minutes, or roughly 48 minutes per episode. Tomas Alfredson (Let The Right One In) has directed a much shorter feature film version. An undated draft of Peter Morgan‘s script, which was rewritten by Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan, runs 111 pages. That’s a lot of cutting.

Alfredson’s feature, which finished shooting last December, will be distributed by Universal Pictures sometime in the fourth quarter. I’ll bet the execs who pushed along Fast Five and The Immortals are looking at this film with their heads cocked sideways and going “what the…?”

Everyone knows that Gary Oldman plays George Smiley in Alfredson’s film, and that he won’t be as good as Alec Guiness no matter what he does. Colin Firth is playing Bill Haydon. I’m not spilling anything, but Haydon meets an entirely different fate in the film that he did in the series and in John LeCarre‘s original 1974 book.

After a delay of several eons, Acorn Media finally released a DVD box set of Irvin’s six-part series in June 2004.