If You Like Peter Ustinov Read This Note: One of the more interesting offerings of the recent Edinburgh Festival was Peter Ustinov's opera/theater production of Modeste Mussorgsky's unfinished fragment of an opera, "The Marriage." Ustinov has placed the 40-minute-long work between 60 minutes of himself playing the role of a Stage Manager. The production was originally performed at La Scala in Milan and will be seen in February in London . . .
If You Like Alec Guinness Don't Read This Note: "Tinker, Tailor" fans will be interested to know that "Smiley's People" debuted on British television this week (it will be on view here later this fall) with Sir Alec Guinness recreating the role of George Smiley. The series' reception by the critics was lukewarm. There seems to be a bit of a critical backlash against John Le Carre' these days and Guinness is caught in the middle. Hence this commentary by Russell Davies in the Sunday Times: "Smiley, as done, or left undone, by Guinness is a deliberately excavated hole in the air. Guinness himself has spoken of 'the art of doing nothing,' and it's an art he has been refining for some time . . . By developing this fault, Sir Alec has turned it to his advantage. Dullness is now his specialty" . . .
Just Like Everybody Else Note: Film people are always heading for North Africa to soak up a bit of the sun and native culture. So why should Henry Thomas, who came to prominence with his good friend E.T. this summer, be any different? Thomas heads for Tunisia next month, but not for the beach . . . He'll be starring in "Misunderstood" with Gene Hackman, Rip Torn and Susan Anspach . . .