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3 Days of the Condor

Posted by admin | Posted in Movies | Posted on 31-10-2010

5

Product Description

Genre: Drama
Rating: R
Release Date: 19-MAY-2009
Media Type: DVD… More >>

3 Days of the Condor

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Comments (5)

Film has very problematic picture and sound quality on Blu-Ray. It’s a great 70s era “conspiracy” film, and very slow and talky in the Sydney Pollack way, that appears rather quaint and naive considering what we have learned about the way the world works since then.

The source transfer for “3 Days of the Condor” has obviously not been re-done for Blu-Ray, and appears to be the same source transfer used for the much older DVD edition of this film. Although the superior medium and capabilities of a 1080p Blu-Ray disc make this an upgraded way to view this material, the limitations of an aging source transfer abound and call attention to themselves. Detail is good in well lit scenes, much less so on indirectly lit surfaces and shadows. Blacks are unstable, noisy and milky. Skin tone and texture show the waxy effect of DNR (digital noise reduction). Much of the “grain” appears to be tele-cine noise, much more than the actual grain in the original material. The sound is mediocre. All in all a better view than the DVD version. But only worth renting, or if it can be purchased used or on mark down at $10 or less. A fine film. But this Blu-Ray edition is certainly not worth $20.
Rating: 3 / 5

In Nov. 1975, “Three Days of the Condor”, a suspenseful conspiracy thriller based on the novel by James Grady (titled “Six Days of the Condor) was adapted to film and directed by Sydney Pollack (“Sabrina” (1995), “The Firm”, “The Way We Were”) and a screenplay by Lorenzo Semple Jr. (“King Kong”, “Flash Gordon”, “Sheena”, etc.) and David Rayfiel was released in theaters.

The film which received positive reviews by critics was nominated for a 1976 Academy Award for “Film Editing” and also a winner of multiple awards.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“3 DAYS OF THE CONDOR” is a 1975 film that is featured for the first time in 1080p High Definition on Blu-ray. Because the film was created in 1975, the film quality does show a bit of age but the transfer is actually better in picture quality that some 1990’s and early-2000 films that I have seen on High Definition.

The film does showcase a few dust but there are a number of dark scenes and a few compression artifacts were detect but again, for a film over 34-years old, the colors were strong, blacks were good and overall, a very good transfer of the film to Blu-ray.

As for audio, the film is featured in English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD (and also French Mono). Truth be told, this is a front channel, dialogue driven film. If there was use of any bass, it’s that old 70’s bass picking style that was popular at the time that utilizes the bass. As for the action sequences, the gunshots and everything else seems quite bland but I was not expecting thrilling audio directionals to come from all speaker channels with this film, so I found the audio satisfactory for a film this old.

Subtitles are featured in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“3 DAYS OF THE CONDOR” has only one special feature and that is the original theatrical trailer with scratches and dust galore. The trailer is in HD but it would have been nice to have someone do a commentary or revisit this film especially how relevant it is in today’s modern world.

JUDGMENT CALL:

“3 DAYS OF THE CONDOR” is a very good conspiracy thriller. What is quite shocking about this film which was released in 1975 is how it actually predicts the government’s involvement in future affairs. I don’t want to go into too much into the film without spoiling it but I will say that what Turner is able to find out, it’s what’s happening in today’s modern world, especially with the United States.

What is also a bit numbing to see is the few shots of the Twin Towers and the film featuring the two buildings not long after they were built.

Robert Redford’s performance was fine but there were some lines that almost echoed a John Wayne style of acting which was acceptable around that time but for today’s modern viewers, it may not hold up.

Stars that did shine in this film were Faye Dunaway, who did a great job playing the role of Kathy Hale. As a captive hostage turned woman who is willing to aid her abductor, this was a film that seems to utilize “Stockholm Syndrome” and not surprising considering that the Patty Hearst-SLA bank robberies in real life happened in 1974 or perhaps its a woman who agrees to help Joe Turner because both share a side of sadness and loneliness in their life.

Max von Sydow as the assassin Joubert is also quite effective in his role, especially during the big reveal near the end of the film.

In reviewing this Blu-ray release, although a few artifacts and dust are seen on the video quality, this is probably the best transfer we will get of the film. The audio quality is uninspiring but considering this is not a modern film which we come to expect full utilization of audio channels, “3 DAYS OF THE CONDOR” is quite clear in dialogue and for a 1975 film, taking all things into consideration, this is a pretty good transfer on Blu-ray ala HD.

My main peeve with this Blu-ray release is that a film with so much relevance for today’s modern world, it would have been wonderful to have interviews with the stars or having some sort of special feature included other than the trailer.

The film is a well-written, well-edited and captivating thriller with a storyline that I don’t know if Sydney Pollack or even novel writer James Grady knew how relevant it would be over 30 years later.

Overall, “3 DAYS OF THE CONDOR” is definitely an action-thriller classic definitely worth recommending!
Rating: 5 / 5

I compared the new blu-ray version to the anamorphic DVD previously released, and to summarize, it is considerably better. For example: sharpness of the credits, the cleanliness of the frames (the previous DVD had considerable smudges on many frames), the color-accuracy of the violet light Dr. Lapp has in his office for his plants, details in the printed letters on the pages shown on copiers, all significantly better. This is on a large screen, however (100 inch, 1080i front projector). Could be small screens won’t see much difference. Highly recommended update to the previous DVD!
Rating: 5 / 5

Wont bore you by reviewing the movie. Just want to tell everyone I found the transfer to blu-ray to be excellent! Picture is much sharper than DVD and sound is terrific. This is what The Godfather should look like. Price may seem steep for a 35 year old movie, but what’s a few bucks for a true classic like this? Treat yourself. You wont regret it.
Rating: 5 / 5

In his 1979 novel “Shibumi” (part political thriller, part cynical attack on Western civilization and part satire of the thriller genre), written at the end of that genre’s possibly greatest decade, Trevanian explains the six parts of the Japanese board game symbolizing the concept of effortless perfection and inspiring that novel’s title: Fuseki (the opening stage or strategic premise), Sabaki (an effort to quickly, efficiently terminate a problematic situation), Seki (a neutral standoff where neither side gains an advantage), Uttegae (a potentially sacrificial strategic maneuver), Shicho (a running offensive) and Tsuru no Sugomori (literally, “the confinement of the cranes to their nest:” the elegant capture of the opponent’s stones).

Like other books published then and influenced by the shocking Watergate revelations, “Shibumi” asks what happens if government is hijacked by a secret association not bound by anything but its own interests and hunger for power. One of the most important novels on whose legacy Trevanian builds in his book is James Grady’s “Six Days of the Condor,” adapted for the screen by director Sydney Pollack in this hugely successful fourth (of seven) collaboration(s) with Robert Redford; costarring Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow and Cliff Robertson. But while Grady’s novel centered around the Vietnam trauma, the movie’s screenplay, besides shortening the critical time frame from six days to three, changes the focus to the era’s obsession with oil; thus effortlessly proving one of the story’s key points: Assuming a group of insiders truly managed to commandeer key governmental structures, the respective substantive context would be of little import, because *any* such action would constitute a terminal violation of public trust, and the consequences for any individual caught in the resulting web of intrigue and deceit would be equally disastrous.

“Three Days of the Condor” begins with the assassination of virtually the entire staff of a New York CIA office of “reader researchers,” agents responsible for the detection of possible clues to actual or potential Agency operations in literature. The massacre’s sole survivor is Joe Turner, codenamed “Condor” (Redford), who literally happened to be out to lunch when the assassins hit. After his discovery of the bloodbath, his superiors promise to bring him “home,” using his inside friend Sam as a confidence-builder. But at the assigned meeting Sam is shot, too, and Turner himself only escapes by the skin of his teeth – again. Realizing that his own organization is somehow involved in the hit and that he is no longer safe in his own apartment, Turner hides in the home of photographer Kathy Hale (Dunaway), whom he takes hostage, but who is a loner like him and eventually develops a fondness for him, agreeing to help him trying to discover the truth behind the terrifying labyrinth of lies and double standards in which he suddenly finds himself.

While “Condor”‘s tale does have a clear premise (the interests of those responsible for the massacre) and both the mass-assassination and the following events are merely moves in the lethal game into which Turner is thrown against his will (and where his greatest advantage is his unpredictability), against the overbearing opponent he faces, he alone has little chances of emerging victoriously; of, in the terminology of Shibumi, “confining the cranes to their nest:” All he can hope for is a long-lasting state of Seki; a standoff and perhaps temporary ceasefire (a conclusion later also reached in John Grisham’s bestselling “The Firm”). The inference, of course, is that it takes more than a single individual’s discovery of a government-undermining conspiracy to take down the conspirators – and as in Watergate, the press is seen as a crucial vehicle for reaching a mass audience and taking the events out of the perpetrators’ control.

Due to the universality of its theme, the importance of “Condor” far exceeds the story’s 1970s context. Indeed, it is as relevant now as it was then; and so is the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Woodward-Bernstein account on Watergate and its corresponding movie (“All the President’s Men;” also starring Redford, alongside Dustin Hoffman and Jason Robards). But this is also a magnificently filmed movie, sharply edited and using New York City’s wintry urban landscape for full dramatic effect. Robert Redford gives a career-defining, tightly controlled performance as cornered bookworm-turned-spy Joe Turner, matched in every respect by Max von Sydow’s hired assassin Joubert, who has no cause of his own, finds his occupation “quite restful,” never concerns himself with his missions’ “why” but only the “when,” “where” and “how much,” and paints delicate little figurines in his hours of relaxation. Faye Dunaway’s Kathy is not merely another victim of Stockholm syndrome (a hostage’s identification with their captors’ motives); she truly comes to understand Turner because of their likeness: Her photos are expressions of her loneliness as much as Joe’s solitary stance against an entire governmental organization; beautiful but sad November pictures of empty streets, fields and park benches, shot in black and white and an intricate, subtle metaphor even during their love scene. Cliff Robertson’s CIA man Higgins finally is the perfect foil for both Turner and Joubert; not as far along in his career as he should be but, although sympathetic to Turner’s plight, fully buying into the legitimacy of the Agency’s “games” and ready to do whatever it takes to keep an embarrassment from becoming conspicuous.

Turner’s and Higgins’s last meeting is poignantly set against a Salvation Army choir’s performance of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and its chorus “Oh tidings of comfort and joy;” ending in a still shot of Turner’s face starkly reminiscent of Kathy’s photos. Yet, “Condor’s” story is open-ended: What would he do, were he still around today?

“What is it with you people – do you think not getting caught in a lie is the same thing as telling the truth?” Joe Turner, “Three Days of the Condor.”

“All … organizations in this book lack any basis in reality – although some of them do not realize that.” Trevanian, “Shibumi.”

Also recommended:

Six Days of the Condor

Spy Game (Widescreen Edition)

Sneakers (Collector’s Edition)

All the President’s Men (Two-Disc Special Edition)

Shibumi: A Novel

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Smiley’s People

The Day of the Jackal

The Fist of God
Rating: 5 / 5

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