In depth look at low level CIA staff and their "expendability" at the hands of the chess players who answer to no one...
Three Days of the Condorhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Days_of_the_Condor
Directed by Sydney Pollack
Produced by Stanley Schneider
Written by James Grady
Lorenzo Semple Jr.
Starring Robert Redford
Max Von Sydow
Music by Dave Grusin
Cinematography Owen Roizman
Editing by Don Guidice
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) 14 November 1975
Running time 118 mins
Country United States
Three Days of the Condor is a 1975 American thriller film produced by Stanley Schneider and directed by Sydney Pollack. The screenplay, by Lorenzo Semple Jr. and David Rayfiel, was adapted from the novel Six Days of the Condor by James Grady.
The movie is a suspense drama set in contemporary New York City, and is considered an exposition of the moral ambiguity of the actions of the United States government following the Vietnam War and Watergate. It stars Robert Redford as an employee of the Central Intelligence Agency who inadvertently becomes involved in a deadly power struggle within the agency.
The film was nominated for the 1976 Academy Award for Film Editing. Semple and Rayfiel received an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Motion Picture Screenplay.Contents
Joe Turner (Robert Redford) is a CIA employee who works in a clandestine office in New York City. He is not a field agent, and indeed bristles at Agency discipline; among other things, he wonders why he can't tell people what he does for a living and notes "I trust some people . . . that's a problem." His job is in the OSINT field: he has to read 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 in which the book has been translated (Turkish but not French, Arabic but not Russian or German, Dutch, and Spanish).
The movie begins on the day in which Turner expects a response to his report. While he is out getting lunch, 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 returns, realizes he is in grave danger and runs out to a phone booth to call an emergency telephone number. He later goes to the home of a co-worker, Ralph Heidegger, who stayed home sick from work, and finds him dead as well.
On giving his code name, "Condor," he is put in contact with Higgins (Cliff Robertson), Deputy Director, CIA New York City. Higgins directs Turner to keep quiet and arranges a meeting. Turner's section chief, Wicks (Michael Kane), states he will go to the meeting to bring Turner in.
Higgins instructs Turner to meet Wicks in an alley on West 74th street. Higgins says he will be carrying a Wall Street Journal in his left hand. Turner replies "f**k the Wall Street Journal", expressing his distaste for that publication. Wicks brings an old friend of Turner's, Sam Barber (Walter McGinn), along to help put him at ease. But Wicks is part of the conspiracy and tries to kill Turner. Turner shoots Wicks who, just before collapsing, shoots Barber; Turner escapes with his life.
Needing a place to hide, Turner forces a woman he sees randomly in a ski shop, Kathy Hale (Faye Dunaway), to take him to her apartment in Brooklyn Heights. He holds her prisoner while he attempts to figure out what's going on. He ties her up in her bathroom and takes her truck to go to Sam Barber's apartment. When he gets there and makes contact with Sam's wife, Mae (Carlin Glynn), she is cooking and readying for a dinner party; she tells Turner that she got a call earlier in the day - from someone unknown - that Sam would be working late. Apparently, she doesn't know what happened to her husband, but tells Turner that someone's been calling and hanging up. It's at this time Turner has her immediately discontinue cooking dinner and go to her friends Bill and Eileen's apartment upstairs. Joubert, arriving by elevator to the floor where Sam's apartment is, sees Turner getting Sam's wife onto the elevator.
Joubert, a tall and imposing figure, enters the next elevator with Turner and has dialogue with him. When Joubert exits the elevator on the first floor, Turner knows that Joubert is probably waiting for him outside. Turner solicits the help of some young people who are hanging around the first-floor lobby to use a coat-hanger to open up his car in which he says he locked the keys. Naturally, it's a ploy to surround himself with innocent people to allow him to escape. Joubert, nearby, has a sniper rifle with a scope and sees that he cannot get a shot at Turner because of all the people with him. He sees Turner get into Hale's truck and uses the scope of his rifle to see the license plate number.
Robert Redford, left, with Addison Powell.
Eventually, Hale is convinced to trust Turner; the gun is put away, and they make love (the scene was controversial for its sexually explicit content at the time). That night, Joubert sneaks into Wick's hospital room and unplugs his life support equipment. The next morning, Hale is taking a shower and Turner is in the kitchen, trying to solve the mystery of the killings and piece everything that's happened on his own.
The doorbell rings and it's a postal letter carrier who says he has an insured package for Hale. Turner says she's not there and the postman says he could sign for it. Turner opens the door and when the postman (Hank Garrett) is getting Turner to sign the receipt, the pen doesn't work. The postman says it's the only one he has, so Turner turns to get a pen but first notices the postman's footwear - dirty boots, not standard issue shoes. Turner grabs a hot pot of coffee from the stove, turns and throws it in the postman's face, just as the postman pulls a silenced automatic gun. The rounds miss Turner and a fight ensues. Kathy emerges from the shower, terrified to find the two men fighting, and hits the assassin once before being knocked to the ground. Turner disarms the postman and after physical exchanges, reaches his .45 pistol and shoots the postman. Turner doesn't find any identification on the body but does find a key stamped with "819" and a piece of paper with a phone number on it: "Five Continents Imports." He calls the number and eventually finds it gets him to the CIA HQ - Wicks' office.
Realizing that he cannot trust anyone within the CIA, Turner begins to play a cat-and-mouse game with Higgins. Turner solicits Hale's help to go to the CIA office at the World Trade Center and pose as a job applicant, where she pretends to take a wrong turn into a restricted area and identifies Higgins by 'mistakenly' walking into his office. She then waits by the lobby elevators until Higgins emerges; she trails him to a lunch café, and sets him up to be abducted by Turner. Turner questions Higgins at gunpoint in the back of Kathy's truck, but Higgins has little valuable information for him. Turner tells him about the postman with the automatic gun and about the tall man following him, whom Higgins identifies as Joubert.
After going to a locksmith to help him identify where and who the key belongs to (lock manufacturers' code engraved on the edge of the key), he locates the Holiday Inn and room where Joubert is located. Using a telephone system repair kit he stole off of a Bell Telephone truck, Turner makes a crank call to Joubert's hotel room, saying, "I'm doing a survey. Do you believe the Condor is really an endangered species?" and hanging up. This prompts Joubert to call his employer, Middle East Operations Director Leonard Atwood (Addison Powell). Turner traces the call to Atwood.
Higgins discovers that the postman who attacked Turner in Hale's apartment was a former US Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant and CIA operative. After cross-referencing the name with the files on Wicks, finds that he collaborated with both Wicks and Joubert on a previous operation called "Lucifer 2." Turner calls Higgins to find out who Atwood is. The stunned Higgins can't reply, since the same Atwood that Turner is implicating in this conspiracy is sitting in the very same room as Higgins and his superior, Mr. Wabash (John Houseman). Knowing that Wicks was silenced for a reason, Higgins puts the pieces of the conspiracy together and informs Wabash, who implies that the matter should be closed using outside help, if necessary.
Turner and Hale say their goodbyes at the train station and Turner takes the train to Maryland. He tracks down the renegade CIA director to his home and questions him at gunpoint and learns that Wicks told Atwood about Condor's report, which was why his "section" was hit. It was Atwood's network he discovered. Turner pieces it together on his own, the renegade plan to take over middle east oilfields.
Joubert surprises them and unexpectedly kills Atwood. The contract has now changed; even though Atwood had hired Joubert to terminate Turner before, Atwood's superiors hired Joubert to now terminate Atwood. Turner is dumbfounded, realizing that Joubert and he are on the same side (for the moment), working once again for the CIA. Since the CIA has made no arrangement with Joubert concerning Turner there's no reason to kill Turner. Joubert cautions Turner that he is no longer safe in New York, and advises him to relocate—possibly to Europe. Turner declines, saying he would always feel homesick for the United States. When Turner asks Joubert why he kills for a living, Joubert says he never, "asks Why, only thinking of Where, When, and always How Much", contradicting Turner's assumption that such a life would be unbearable by implying that it's peaceful and that there are no sides to follow but rather "...the belief is in your own precision." Before they part, Joubert warns Turner that he is still a target and tells him how he will likely be set up for his own assassination. He then returns Turner his gun to use when that day comes.
Turner goes back to New York and meets Higgins on a busy street. When Higgins offers him a ride, Turner recognizes Joubert's warning and turns him down. When Turner quizzes Higgins about Atwood's plans, Higgins defends the oil-fields plan, claiming that there will be a day in which oil shortages will cause a major economic crisis for the country. And when that day comes, Americans will want the government to use any means necessary to obtain the oil. Turner says he has told the press "a story" (they are standing outside The New York Times office), but Higgins questions Turner's assurances that the story will be printed. After a brief dialogue, an anxious Turner glances at Higgins and the New York Times office, then hastily walks away. The final shot is a freeze frame of Turner passing behind a Salvation Army band singing Christmas carols while looking over his shoulder back at Higgins.