When it comes to intelligence agencies, few generate more imaginative speculation than the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Last year, there were a number of films, such as “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” with story lines that involve the CIA. For an older film that involves this clandestine organization, there is “Three Days of the Condor,” which was released in 1975. The movie is based on the book “Six Days of the Condor” by James Grady.
Set in New York City, “Three Days of the Condor” does not have as its hero a highly urbane, well-trained and well-armed spy of the sort who can drive fast cars, fly planes and diffuse bombs without ever getting his hair mussed. Although he may have the good-looking part down, Joe Turner (played by Robert Redford) is a bookish researcher who works with a team, and his sole job is to read purportedly benign books and magazines, looking for codes and threads. He has no training as a field agent. One day, he goes out to get lunch for the team and returns to the office to find that his colleagues have all been shot and killed. Joe gets in touch with section chief Higgens (played by Cliff Robertson) for information about what to do next. Eventually, Joe finds Kathy (played by Faye Dunaway), an attractive young woman. Using a gun he found at the scene, he forces her to take him to her home so that he can avoid any places where the assassins might expect to find him. Joe does not want to hurt her and in an interesting twist, Kathy ends up helping him.
“Three Days of the Condor” has a good story that basically takes place in a few days. With each passing hour, Joe’s safety is more and more threatened, but his survival instincts are spot on.
Robert Redford is well cast. He plays against type, being a bit nerdish and uneasy, but at the same time capable of taking care of himself. As Kathy, Faye Dunaway convinces the audience that she knows what she is doing when she becomes his ally and lover.
“Three Days of the Condor” is a good choice for fans of thrillers.