Monday, January 18, 2010
From the Roku: The Anderson Tapes (1971)
I wonder how much Sean Connery wanted to get away from James Bond by this point? I mean I guess he actually did, but there are few people in movies, for better or for worse, who are so linked to their most famous creations. I can see why he would do something as insane as Zardoz to get even further away from it. I am not quite sure if it worked, in the end, since he would come back to James Bond a couple times but both in subpar efforts, Diamonds Are Forever and, if you want to count it, the non-canon Never Say Never Again. I mean, I have no real idea, but I wonder if he was just like "I can't escape this so I might as well embrace it." I mean there are much worse things, I suppose then being known as the suavest cat on the planet. But back to The Anderson Tapes, he runs into a similar issue if not the exact same one, his Duke Anderson is much more of a hardened criminal, at least in the few jail scenes, a little more of a loose cannon, more prone to bursts of anger...and now that I think about it only Dyan Cannon's character really is head over heels for him, thats for sure. Its interesting, though, coming from a novel by Lawrence Sanders, it would seem to capture an idea that Coppola would perfect in The Conversation, and would ramp up in the paranoid thrillers that came out after the shakeup of Watergate: that we are all being watched either legally or illegally (most of it, as it turns out is illegal...) Its an interesting mix of heist movie where Anderson has to assemble a crew (which is odd because he just seems to do it because he loves to rob so much-right out of prison) - a crew which includes Christopher Walken in one of his earliest screen roles, and Martin Balsam in what might be one of his odder roles. But as he assembles his team, all of whom are being watched by other people for other crimes....So it has this paranoid side, wiretaps and videotape, people being followed, partly a heist movie, and not one that ends well-which perfectly fits into the seventies mileu, where things don't always work out so well. All in all, its really interesting, if not an absolute triumph. Probably minor Sidney Lumet in the end, but it is an interesting mix. I also have to mention the Quincy Jones score, because he adds these little bits of electronica that is supposed to heighten this idea of technology being allowed to invade people's lives, sometimes, in bits it works, in longer takes, like when Connery is casing the apartment building he wants to rob, it becomes a little, shall we say, overbearing. Hey, he tried something different and it didn't quite work.