Three Days of the Condor (1975) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Drama / Thriller
Paramount || R - 117 minutes - $29.99 || May 19, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-05-13


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Sydney Pollack
Writer(s): James Grady (novel, "Six Days of the Condor"); Lorenzo Semple Jr. and David Rayfiel (screenplay)
Cast: Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson, Max Von Sydow


Theatrical Release Date: September 24, 1975


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Bookmark


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), French (Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Plot Synopsis: Robert Redford stars as CIA Agent/analyst Joe Turner, Code Name Condor. When his entire office is massacred, Turner goes on the run from his enemies... and his so-called allies. After reporting the murders to his superiors, the organization wants to bring Condor in Ė but somebody is trying to take him out. In his frantic hunt for answers, and in a desperate run for his life, Turner abducts photographer Kathy Hale (Faye Dunaway), eventually seducing her into helping him.

Sydney Pollackís spy-mystery movie is filled with edge-of-your-seat thrills and some fantastic espionage mystery, though one of the major plot points, Turnerís kidnapping of Hale, didnít quite strike me as realistic as the conspiracy world that has been laid out.

The cast, led by Robert Redford, is perfect. Starting with Redford, itís rare to see an actor who can consistently play an everyman pushed into extraordinary situations but Redford does it time and again be it with 3 Days or Sneakers, heís just that damn good and can take what might be an average movie and turn it into a good, and even memorable, flick. Iíd say the only actor of this generation who comes close, and its real close, is Matt Damon with his turn in the Bourne movies. And thatís one matchup Iíd love to see: Redford and Damon playing father and son.

I love Faye Dunaway. The sex-bomb of the 60s and 70s plays off Redford perfectly, I could buy the fact that her character could fall for her abductor to the extent of sleeping with him (after leaving her tied up and alone). But after only a couple of days (remember, this is 3 Days of the Condor, after all Ė changed from the bookís title, ďSix Days of the CondorĒ), Iím not sure that no matter how messed up you are with your relationships, to help a guy who says he works for the CIA and theyíre after him, I couldnít fully buy that.

However, I could easily overlook that minor story flaw because of the charisma and chemistry between Redford and Dunaway plus some fantastic and understated performances by Cliff Robertson and Max Von Sydow.

The movie was directed by Sydney Pollack (Out of Africa), based on the novel by James Grady and adapted by Lorenzo Semple Jr. (King Kong í76) and David Rayfiel (The Firm). The cinematography was masterfully done by Owen Roizman who also worked on The French Connection, The Exorcist and Network.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The only feature is the theatrical trailer, in high-definition! There is also the bookmark feature. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

I realize the movie is nearly 35 years old at this point, but I have seen better transfers before and it looks as if, and canít say I blame them, this came from the original DVD master. From the opening credits, the video is littered with numerous amounts of dust and scratches not to mention the abundance of noise especially during the darker scenes. The good news is the picture is in 1080p high-definition which does make it a decent upgrade over the DVD version (which I also own). Black levels arenít the greatest but taking a quick glance at the DVD, itís certainly better. However, compared to other Blu-rays around the same age, itís only average.

The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track isnít great, more suitable than anything. Dialogue sounds fine, if not a bit muffled at times and because most of the gunplay that happens uses silencers, you donít get that much oomph from the sound effects. I also noticed my bass got little to no use and the score by David Gruson has that awful synthesizer.



.::OVERALL::.

3 Days of the Condor is good mystery spy/thriller with great performances by Redford, Dunaway, Sydow and Robertson but the story is marred a little by an unbelievable plot point concerning the Redford/Dunaway relationship. However, that aside, I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, maybe more so than I had before a few years back.

Is it worth buying on Blu-ray? At the current price (~$20), itís not. I look at some of these catalogue titles and feel theyíre probably worth a premium over the DVD version, but when those can be had brand new for $5, that $20 price tag should be for 2 catalogue BDs (which Paramount will probably do as some point). The problem with this Blu-ray release is, even though it looks better than the DVD, there are still quite a bit of noticeable imperfections and sadly, but not surprisingly, no new features (Iím sure Redford wouldíve been willing to record a commentary...).