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I don't typically write movie reviews, so mine is a more heartfelt than content related view.
I saw Three Days Of The Condor in a movie theater in the mid '70s and it strangely stuck with me as few movies ever have.
I consider it one of me "guilty pleasure" films. One of a handful of movies I can watch again and again...yet STILL find interest in the plot and characters.
On viewing the recent DVD release, it felt dated, but terribly familiar. The quality of production and camera work certainly holds up...but the film score/musical style dates it. It rather close to the feeling I get watching Steve McQueen in "Bullet" these days, but not nearly so much.
The blockbuster beginning story at Redford's workplace is certainly tame by today's standards of violence, yet it's the calm method and business-as-usual attitude that still gives me goose bumps. Wonderful stuff.
Robert Redford looks great...as does Faye Dunaway. That's how we KNOW it's an old movie. This was the LAST movie that featured a beautiful Faye Dunaway. It was all downhill from here. Robert Redford is just beginning to lose his boyish looks and get a hint of wizened character in his smile. It served the movie.
The story is everything in this film. It isn't too intricate, yet it cast a sense of fear that stuck with me all these years. It's not a horror movie, but the feeling of hopelessness against an unseen government entity working efficiently behind the curtain to eliminate this little guy (Redford) still creeps me out wonderfully.
You can compare it to Will Smith and Gene Hackman in "Enemy Of The State" with less of the running view of what the bad guys are planning next. It's basically one lone character against a faceless government-sponsored evil.
Lastly, I'll say that my most lasting character in this film was played by Max Von Sydow. I can't remember a film "bad guy" quite like him in all the years since. To this character, there is no right....there is no wrong....only belief in himself and his professional "talents". Simple and sinister, nothing personal. Von Sidow should have gotten an Academy Award for this film.
As a bit of trivia, I don't think this movie did much at the box office.....yet it sort of became a quiet cult classic. It must have stayed with some of the writers of the comedy "Seinfeld" when they later adapted Max Von Sidow's creepy warning to Redford in this film into a line for Newman in a timeless episode in which Newman warns Kramer not to go up against the powerful U.S. Postal Service.
Buy this DVD....you'll enjoy it (and your wife will always wonder why. It's a "guy thing"). :)
Joe Turner (Robert Redford) works for the CIA, and his code name is CONDOR. He isn't an agent or a spy, he's a geek; he reads books, magazine articles, or any other printed material looking for plots that just may parallel actual CIA or other secret military operations. Even the New York building he works in clandestinely named. One day he reads a story that is published in various languages including Arabic. It suggests a plan to grab certain middle-eastern countries in the case of an oil crisis. It is fiction, but he submits the plot for consideration and waits for an answer.
On the day that Turner expects to receive an answer, a group of armed men arrive and systematically murder everyone in the building. Turner had just happened to be "out to lunch" when the assassins arrived. Upon returning and finding everyone dead, he took the receptionist's gun and left. Totally in a panic, he gets away to a pay telephone and calls in the event. The contact, "The MAJOR" instructs him to call back in one hour and that he would be brought "in". He gets instructions to meet some agents that will help him, but it is a trap. He is supposed to be met by his best friend, Sam, but when he arrives, the agent shoots Sam, and tries to kill him. Firing back, he luckily hits the shooter. Not knowing who to trust, he just runs. He has to go someplace to think. Sure that he is being followed, he ducks into a sporting goods store and overhears a conversation between a customer, Kathy Hale (Faye Dunaway) and the sales clerk. As she leaves, he forces her to take him with her at gun point. She doesn't believe his story, but does think that he truly is in trouble. A news story on TV accuses him of murdering his friend Sam. Turner ties up Kathy and takes her car to go home. Arriving home, people are waiting for him, and Sam's wife has been told that he will be working late. There are enemies everywhere! When he leaves his building, a suspicious foreign looking individual in the elevator really spooks him. He cleverly escapes the area and gets away, although the man got his license number. He returns to Kathy Hale's apartment. She is very upset that he has tied her up. They talk and she now believes him, but doesn't know what to do. From a paper received from Washington dispelling any plot on his inquiry, he finds a name of the person who read his report, Wix. Suddenly a mail man rings with a package. She opens the door and this guy has a machine gun. After a fight Turner shoots him. Now Kathy knows that he is telling the truth. Together they travel to DC and find Wix, the name on the paper. Now he suspects that there is another CIA inside the CIA, one carrying out super-secret projects. Wix identifies the foreigner as a man named JOUBERT, who is supposed to be dead. Turner is really smart and all of this reading has taught him a lot. He sets a trap for Joubert by counting on him to think he is naive. Through Joubert's mistake, Turner tracks down the head of the secret group, Leonard Atwood. Atwood explains that there are contingencies that could be followed just in case. . . Like possible war games. Joubert has followed Turner to Atwood's home. Surprisingly, he kills Atwood who had become a liability, and the event is covered up. Joubert no longer has any "business" with Turner.
Turner has no other choice but to give the entire story to the news papers. This was the only to expose these people and protect himself. This was a real "Catch-22" thriller.
An engrossing tale of espionage and murder and with one of the funniest gratuitous sex scenes ever filmed. No really, watch her face and try NOT to laugh!
Released in '75, just a year after the twin towers were completed, they figure prominently in the photography. One of the reasons I have rediscovered this fav from my youth.
The film is dated by the lack of today's "everyday items"; no cordless phones, no cell phones, no PC's or laptops. This is glaring in the office scenes. The computers shown of the day make one wonder if we really did/could land a man on the moon. Computer/telephone technology figures prominently in the story line but what is visible is analog/mechanical... the displays are in DOS! Her television has KNOBS on it! He has to actually touch the television to change the channel! Not even a single Starbuck's is visible anywhere! However during the open scenes and credits take note of a UPS delivery vehicle behind Robert Redford/Joe Turner/Condor as he rides his very politically correct moped through the streets. Package car designs haven't changed hardly at all! Speaking of political correctness...Do take note of people smoking inside the buildings!
My God, how did we survive the 70's?!
All that aside though the story is timeless! The plot is exciting and stressful. The plot-turns are interesting and intriguing. The closing scene still gives one pause for thought when one considers world tensions today. Even though the timeline mentioned has passed by nearly a generation it is still very relevant.
And very true... "...they won't want us to ask them. They'll just want us to get it for them".
I think this story would be an outstanding candidate for a updated re-make. Perhaps in the same vein as a sequel franchise much like the Bond, Die Hard, and Bourne films. Done well, it'd be a money maker!
Three Days of the Condor is a 1975 American action thriller film directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson, and Max von Sydow. The screenplay by Lorenzo Semple Jr. and David Rayfiel was adapted from the novel Six Days of the Condor by James Grady. Set mainly in New York City and Washington DC, the film is about a bookish CIA researcher who discovers all his co-workers dead, and must outwit those responsible until he figures out who he can really trust. The film addresses the perceived moral ambiguity of the actions of elements within the United States government during the early 1970s. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Film Editing. Semple and Rayfiel received an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Motion Picture Screenplay.
Joe Turner (Robert Redford) is a CIA employee (Condor is his code name) who works in a clandestine office in New York City. He reads books, newspapers, and magazines from around the world, looking for hidden meanings and new ideas. As part of his duties, Turner files a report to CIA headquarters on a low-quality thriller novel his office has been reading, pointing out strange plot elements therein, and the unusual assortment of languages into which the book has been translated.
On the day in which Turner expects a response to his report, a group of armed men, led by an Alsatian assassin later identified as Joubert (Max von Sydow), executes the six people in the office. Turner escapes death because at the moment of the incursion, he was out of the office getting lunch. Realizing he is in danger when he returns to the office and discovers his coworkers' bodies, Turner calls the CIA New York headquarters, and is given instructions to meet some agents who will take care of him. The meeting, however, is a trap, and Turner escapes an attempt to kill him.
Needing a place to hide, Turner forces a woman, Kathy Hale (Faye Dunaway), whom he sees randomly in a ski shop, to take him to her apartment in Brooklyn Heights. He holds her prisoner while he attempts to figure out what's going on. However, his hiding place is discovered. A hitman, disguised as a postman with a parcel that must be signed for, shows up at the apartment. Turner opens the door and a fight ensues. Turner kills the hitman.
Realizing that he cannot trust anyone within the CIA, Turner begins to play a cat-and-mouse game with Higgins (Cliff Robertson), the CIA deputy director of the New York division. With the help of Hale, Turner abducts Higgins, who reveals through questioning that the killer was a Frenchman named Joubert.
Higgins discovers that the postman who attacked Turner in Hale's apartment was a former U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant and CIA operative who had collaborated with Joubert on a previous operation. The mastermind of that operation, however, is revealed to be Leonard Atwood (Addison Powell), the CIA Deputy Director of Operations and Higgins' superior.
Meanwhile, using material he found on the fake postman's body, Turner finds where Joubert is staying, then uses his skills as a former telephone lineman to trace a call Joubert makes from his hotel room. He then finds the name and address of the person Joubert called: Atwood. Turner confronts Atwood at his home late at night and questions him at gunpoint. Turner learns that the report he had filed had uncovered a secret plan to take over Middle East oilfields, setting in motion the killing of all.
"Condor" is light on suspense, reminiscent to that era of movies. Classic case of "who done it" thriller from the 1970's. Plot twists that you don't see coming, which is refreshing. Viewed on a 26" TV, would recommend a larger screen to read details shown during the movie that reveals the plot twist between the characters. Well paced and nicely adapted movie from the book. You are left wanting to read the book for what was left out in details or description. My over all movie rating is 4 out of 5 stars. The actors gave good performances. Robert Redford is a favorite actor for my husband and bought this movie as a gift to him.
Robert Redford stars as Joe Turner, a man on the run after his entire office is assasinated by unknown forces. Joe works for the CIA. His job? He reads. He reads books, manuals and just about anything ever published looking for hidden code. Did he stumble upon a plan to over throw the goverment? Is it the Russian, our own goverment, or maybe someone else that wants Joe dead? Faye Dunaway stars as his sometimes willing hostage as he tries to avoid assasination and find out who's behind the killings. Fans of spy movies and cold war stories will love this. It will have you looking over your own shoulder.
I bought this as a rememberance of what espionage operations were like, in the 1970's anyway. I had originally seen it in the company of a retired US Agent and the Washington, and Arlington VA scenes were just wonderful. In those days every man ever hired by CIA passed through the doors of a 1870's townhouse in Washington DC, across the street from Trader Vic's, a restaurant, and you approached the little old lady at the desk and introduced yourself by first name only. She was expecting you. The guard standing there was all in black, no name tag, no markings, just all black clothing and duty hat wearing a huge revolver. Then away you would go to do some photos and paperwork. The office town house in this film is reminicent of that building , though a bit fancier on the front elevation, and will take many thousands of people back to the moment they entered, The Company. A great story, of great danger,coming to those who least suspect it, with a surprise twist in it that will leave you in stunned silence. Filmed during the best days of all the players,( Max Von Sydow is PERFECT here!), at the height of their abilities. Go visit that time for 117 minutes - you won't regret it.
Redford and Dunnaway look a little dated (70's), but the story is a real espionage thriller. I can watch this movie over and over.
Mystery and philosophy are my favorite plot lines. This movie will leave you thinking about what you think you know.
One of my all time favorite movies. Exciting throughout. Pay attention - you don't want to miss anything! I bought this dvd to add to my permanent collection. This is a movie you can watch again and again and still catch something you didn't the first few times!
To me this is a classic adventure story that holds you tight. Great performances by the main characters, and the suspense gets tighter by the minute. Showing its age by now, as there is not a cell phone to be seen anywhere, but the basic premise of the intellectual nerd having to face death and destruction eyeball to eyeball, is gripping stuff. Great story, well acted, scenery does not impose, neither does the music. Like many others, becoming a classic. Tomp3801.