Three Days of the Condor (1975)

Robert Redford as the Condor.

Robert Redford has magnificent hair.

That’s always my first thought when I watch one of his movies, which I must admit, is few and far between. Seriously, dude is seventy-nine and still sporting some pretty locks. Okay so they’re not as fine as they were in his Sundance Kid days but they’re still his own. I mean, sure, the carpet likely doesn’t match the curtains but it’s a whole lot less embarrassing than other celebrity hair—John Travolta I’m looking at you.

In the film adaptation of the thriller Six Days of the Condor by novelist James Grady, Redford plays a CIA agent whose work consists of reading all the books in the world and determining if there are any secret meanings from outside agencies and/or new ideas that the CIA could implement in their own secret dealings. HAHAHAH!

I want that job. But I want it back in the ’70s before the internet. When times were simpler and a plot could consist of the idea that a small office of six people could actually read ALL the books, magazines, and newspapers that exist in the world. A-mazing.

Redford’s character Joe Turner (code name “Condor”) goes out the back way for lunch one day and escapes the mass killing of his colleagues. He calls in to his ‘handler’, sets up a meet to ‘come in’, and is then ambushed in an alley. Turner goes on the run and forces a woman he encounters in a ski shop, the ever alluring Faye Dunaway, to harbour him in her basement apartment. This part of the movie is super creepy and unnerving since he has basically kidnapped her and holds her hostage but then, of course, they become lovers. WHAT?! The sex scene is crazy—the lighting gets soft and hazy like they’re making love in a verdant meadow and there are flashes of some of Dunaway’s character’s photography. This scene vaguely reminded me of the love scene in Clint Eastwood’s Play Misty for Me (1971) as it actually took place in a verdant meadow. 1970s films have a lot to answer for. Dunaway doesn’t get any good lines and I don’t love her character, but it is Faye Dunaway. I would watch a real-estate infomercial on re-run if she featured in it.

I’ve never particularly sought out Robert Redford movies. Beyond his hair, I don’t really think he’s a superb actor. I did appreciate him in All Is Lost. He didn’t talk much in that one. I do, however, really appreciate a good spy film and this one was pretty good (despite the Stockholm syndrome bedroom scene). In the end there are a few fun sequences and Max von Sydow as a freelance assassin, add in Redford’s glorious hair and it’s a fait accompli for an enjoyable two hours of entertainment. (It also has a pretty snazzy film poster that made me guffaw when I saw it.)

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