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Review by Brian Koller
3 stars out of 4
Robert Redford was one of the biggest
movie stars at the time that this cerebral,
plotty thriller was released. Although
commercially successful, "Three Days
of the Condor" never quite achieved the
critical attention of other Redford films
of the era, such as "All the President's
Men" and "The Sting". But "Condor" was
a very good film as well, and its themes
of governmental conspiracy and paranoia
reflected cynical post-Watergate attitudes
towards political institutions.
Redford's character is Joe Turner, initially
a cheerful, well-read employee of the American
Literacy Historical Society, a CIA front
whose staff peruses spy novels to generate
ideas for the agency's activities. Turner
discovers and naively investigates evidence
revealing a shadow organization within the CIA,
which responds by hiring mercenaries to kill
everyone at the ALHS.
Out to lunch, Turner is spared, but the hitmen
led by Joubert (Max von Sydow) are still on his
trail. Worse, his bosses at the CIA, especially
Higgins (Cliff Robertson) and Wabash (John Houseman)
also seem to prefer Turner dead. Desperate and
paranoid, Turner kidnaps a beautiful and surprisingly
sympathetic stranger (Faye Dunaway) for the use
of her house and car. This creates a dubious
if entertaining love interest subplot.
Predictably, the CIA executives are portrayed
as duplicious and indifferent to human life.
Turner makes an unlikely character transition
from bookworm to action hero. Still, Redford's
skills as an actor transcends his character,
and the script is intelligent and well written.
Joubert, both noble and sly, is a memorable
Based on David Rayfiel's novel "Six Days of the Condor"
(Hollywood is always abridging the classics), the
film received a single Oscar nomination, for best
editing. It was one of seven films starring Robert
Redford that were directed by Sydney Pollack.
Copyright © 1995 Brian Koller