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Three Days of the Condor (1975)

3 Days of the Condor poster.jpg

What a fascinating star Robert Redford has been – enigmatic, beautiful, perfect, leaving us to wonder if there is any there there? This paranoid thriller adapted from the James Grady novel is one of a series of rewarding films he made with regular collaborator actor/director Sydney Pollack. It asks the question, Is there a CIA within the CIA? Redford reads books for the American Literary Historical Society, an agency outlet and when he returns from lunch one day he finds all his colleagues have been shot. One is on life support – eventually stopped, by someone’s hands. Condor takes shelter with photographer Faye Dunaway as he tries to find out why he’s now a target and has to keep his wits about him to stay alive in an elaborate cat and mouse chase that includes Max Von Sydow as a double-edged hitman. Has it got something to do with an obscure thriller translated into an improbable array of languages? It’s wonderfully shot by Owen Roizman and full of telling detail in a screenplay by Lorenzo Semple Jr and David Rayfiel, who regularly worked with Pollack. A scene with a mailman is right out of Hitchcock. This came out mid-Watergate revelations, an episode in American history which Redford would immortalise in All the President’s Men – and we have a preview of coming attractions in the last scene here.  Through it all is this mystery man with the tousled blond flicky hair, blue chambray shirt, denim jeans and donkey jacket, keeping it real. Peak Redford.

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About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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