Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Telefon (1977)

Director: Don Siegel

Starring: Charles Bronson, Lee Remick, Donald Pleasence

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: They'll do anything to stop Telefon. The operation that can trigger 51 human time bombs.

Plot: Nicolai Dalchimski (Pleasence), a mad KGB agent, steals a notebook full of names of "sleeping" undercover KGB agents sent to the U.S. in the 1960's. These agents got their assignments under hypnosis, so they can't remember their missions until they're told a line of a Robert Frost poem. Dalchimski flees to the U.S. and starts phoning these agents who perform sabotage acts against military targets. Since the Soviets can't disclose the crisis to the U.S. government, they send Colonel Borzov (Badass Bronson), a military intelligence officer, to find and eliminate Dalchimsky before his actions trigger a war. Badassness ensues.

My Rating: 7/10
Would I watch it again? Yup.

Bronson = Badass! He doesn't say much...he doesn't have to.

There are few actors whose films I will gladly watch everything they did. James Cagney is at the top, then Edward G. Robinson and then there's Bronson. I've enjoyed every film I've seen of theirs so far, and I've seen a lot. All of these men have a commanding presence unlike the other. When Bronson shows up it's ass-kicking time. He doesn't say much...he doesn't have to.

The great news about Telefon is Bronson's in it. The bad news is he doesn't show up until 20 minutes after the start of the film. There's some stupid crap involving the Ruskies, typical stuff, some funny bits with Tyne Daly, lots of faces you'll recognize, Donald Pleasence (WITH A TOUPE (but only as a disguise) - see below), and then we FINALLY get to Col. Badass and he's teaching a kid's hockey team?!?! That's just to show that he's got a gentler more tender side to him. He could easily take that whole frozen lake of kids if he wanted to. Maybe he does but he's just waiting for the right moment to strike. We'll never know because his stoic face won't show it. I'd like to think that after his mission is done he came back to settle unfinished business. But that's my movie and not this one.

Anyway, Badass Bronson hops a plane to the States to find/kill Pleasence and to help him he's teamed with Lee Remick (as Barbara). She's a talker and not the kind of person you want in the same state with BB. He literally says one word to her 20. She fun and bouncy but a bit too bouncy for me. Cute though. We soon find out she's not all she seems to be and has an agenda of her own. BB doesn't take shit from this broad and lays it down reeaaaal thick (see pic below). In this scene she's yapping away asking questions and when he just can't take it anymore he lunges forward and grabs her head and tells her how it's going to be. From that point on...no more problems. He's got a job to do and she's only there to help him in anyway he needs. What a badass.

Stuff happens, some intrigue and suspense, then there's the big confrontation that has to happen when BB finds Pleasence at a roadside restaurant. BB does the inevitable (in a pretty cool fashion, too) and then it ends and rather abruptly. Feeling something was amiss I went to imdb.com did some reading to find out the book takes the action one more scene further in a nail-biting climax that this movie could have used. I still dig it but having that one last action set piece would have elevated this to an 8 or a 9. VERY good Bronson flick.

Sadly, it's not on DVD but I snagged a widescreen copy from TCM when it aired some time ago. Keep an eye out for it. It's worth it.

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