Monday, January 19, 2015

Three Days of the Condor (1975)

Director: Sydney Pollack

Writers: James Grady, Lorenzo Semple Jr., David Rayfiel

Composer: Dave Grusin

Starring: Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson, Max von Sydow, John Houseman, Addison Powell, Walter McGin, Tina Chen, Michael Kane, Don McHenry, Patrick Gorman

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The CIA knows him as Condor. What he knows about them has just made him an Endangered Species.

Plot: A bookish CIA researcher finds all his co-workers dead, and must outwit those responsible until he figures out who he can really trust.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.  Twice is fine.

I remember really liking this when I last saw it 30 years ago.  Now, not so much.  This time when it was over I was left scratching my head.  The film isn't all that hard to follow.  The ending with Joe (Redford) and Joubert (von Sydow) is great and the big picture is revealed.  The trouble is with what happens in the 60 minutes prior.  The setup is great.   Joe on the run and trying to survive is also well done.  Throwing a romance between Joe and his pseudo captive, Kathy (Dunaway), at times feels like a pipe wrench was tossed into the works.  Is this the fault of the film makers or of James Grady who wrote the novel it's based on?  Beats me.  I've never read the book.  The burgeoning romance ruins what is otherwise a good political thriller and to the point that I won't bother watching it again.  It's standard pulp Hollywood bullshit injected to sell more tickets to women.  That is unless that aspect plays that large of a role in the novel which was called Six Days of the Condor.  Maybe the romance was played down and there was a lot more non-love story intrigue in those extra three days.   I suspect it's somewhere in between ending with Hollywood sexing up the picture for gals.  I'm a big fan of the actors, director and so on.  It's not a bad film but it's not as meaty and satisfying as it could have and should have been.  The Paramount DVD hasn't a single extra and the widescreen print is non-anamorphic.  I'm sure they fixed that for the Blu-ray release. 

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