Benedict Cumberbatch - Many Faces of Poetry (1/10) - reposted with commentary
Peter Guillam - “Casabianca” by Felicia Dorothea Hemans (1793-1835)
Commentary: This was a rather obvious choice, as Casabianca is the poem Peter Guillam recites in the movie when testing the device they use to catch the Mole. In the original book he sings Old Man River instead, but this version of Peter chooses a notorious (and often parodied - remember Cabin Pressure?) poem, which used to be drilled into English schoolboys for decades. I find it rather significant, as the brave boy on the burning deck who blindly follows his father’s order actually reminds me of Peter. Benedict Cumberbatch mentioned how he discussed this character with le Carré and how Peter probably had a lonely childhood at some military boarding school, which is why he might be attracted to father figures - hence his older lover and also his devotion to George Smiley. Peter bravely remains by Smiley’s side despite the fact everybody else has fled, and if we choose to be extremely sentimental, then we can even say his heart has indeed perished during the whole ordeal when he was made to make a huge personal sacrifice.