Three Days of the Condor (1975)

R | 117 mins | Drama | September 1975

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Six Days of the Condor . The onscreen opening and closing cast credits differ slightly in order, and actor Hansford Rowe is listed as Hanford H. Rowe, Jr. in the opening credits. A Dec 1973 article in Publishers Weekly noted that Dino De Laurentiis and producer Stanley Schneider bought the rights to James Grady's novel prior to its publication. According to a 1 Mar 1974 advertisement in HR , Peter Yates was originally to direct the film. In the ad, Lorenzo Semple Jr. was credited as the sole screenwriter. According to a modern source, David Rayfiel, who previously had worked as an uncredited screenwriter with Sydney Pollack and Robert Redford on the films This Property Is Condemned (1966), Jeremiah Johnson (1972) and The Way We Were (1973, see entries above and below), was hired to rewrite Semple’s script and redefine the character of “Kathy Hale.” In Grady’s novel, Kathy was a lonely secretary, whom Pollack thought would be more interesting as a stylish photographer who takes strange, moody photos. The story’s location was also changed from Washington, D.C. to New York City.
       Onscreen credits note that special sequences were filmed at New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, New York. According to material contained in the film’s pressbook at the AMPAS Library, location shooting was also done in New York on the Upper East and West Side, Central Park, the World Trade Center, the Guggenheim Museum, Ward’s Island, Chelsea and Brooklyn Heights and in Washington, D.C. A studio publicity article adds that Pollack ... More Less

The working title of this film was Six Days of the Condor . The onscreen opening and closing cast credits differ slightly in order, and actor Hansford Rowe is listed as Hanford H. Rowe, Jr. in the opening credits. A Dec 1973 article in Publishers Weekly noted that Dino De Laurentiis and producer Stanley Schneider bought the rights to James Grady's novel prior to its publication. According to a 1 Mar 1974 advertisement in HR , Peter Yates was originally to direct the film. In the ad, Lorenzo Semple Jr. was credited as the sole screenwriter. According to a modern source, David Rayfiel, who previously had worked as an uncredited screenwriter with Sydney Pollack and Robert Redford on the films This Property Is Condemned (1966), Jeremiah Johnson (1972) and The Way We Were (1973, see entries above and below), was hired to rewrite Semple’s script and redefine the character of “Kathy Hale.” In Grady’s novel, Kathy was a lonely secretary, whom Pollack thought would be more interesting as a stylish photographer who takes strange, moody photos. The story’s location was also changed from Washington, D.C. to New York City.
       Onscreen credits note that special sequences were filmed at New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, New York. According to material contained in the film’s pressbook at the AMPAS Library, location shooting was also done in New York on the Upper East and West Side, Central Park, the World Trade Center, the Guggenheim Museum, Ward’s Island, Chelsea and Brooklyn Heights and in Washington, D.C. A studio publicity article adds that Pollack appeared as an extra in a sidewalk scene filmed in Brooklyn Heights. Pollack took over production duties after Schneider died of a heart attack on 22 Jan 1975.
       In a Dec 1975 LAT article, Pollack discussed the fact that while he was shooting Three Days of the Condor , a series of disclosures about covert CIA operations--including illegal surveillance and plans for political assassination, began to appear in the news. According to Pollack, he was “shocked at how similar the truth was to what we had filmed. When we started the film we were reacting to Watergate (for more information of the Watergate incident, please see above entry for the 1976 release All the President’s Men ), asking questions like who or what you can trust, with the CIA as a symbol of post-Watergate paranoia. We had no intention of making a definitive sociological statement about intelligence gathering.” An Oct 1975 NYT news item adds that in the film’s original ending, when “Turner” states that he has given his story to the NYT , “Higgins” responds with no one will believe him. The ending was changed, according to the article, after Redford had a conversation with Seymour Hersh, the reporter who had just broken the CIA revelations in the NYT . After lunching with Hersh, Redford decided to make the ending more sinister and ambiguous.
       Modern sources add the following actors to the cast: Beverly Goodman, Russell Johnson and Bruce Moreno. Three Days of the Condor was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Film Editing. In Jun 1991, Pollack, represented by The Association of Danish Film Directors, filed a suit against Danmark’s Radio TV, the country’s public broadcaster, on the grounds that the broadcaster reformatted the film’s CinemaScope image for television. In Apr 1997, the court ruled in Pollack’s favor, but later that month, the claim was thrown out. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
1 Mar 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Sep 1975
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jun 1991.
---
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 1997.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Apr 1997.
---
Los Angeles Times
10 Sep 1975.
---
Los Angeles Times
28 Sep 1975
Calendar, p. 1.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
24 Sep 1975
p. 30.
New York Times
28 Sep 1975
Section II, p. 1.
New York Times
31 Oct 1975.
---
New Yorker
6 Oct 1975
p. 98.
Newsweek
29 Sep 1975
pp. 84-85.
Publishers Weekly
3 Dec 1973.
---
Saturday Review
6 Sep 1975
pp. 44-45.
Time
29 Sep 1975
pp. 77-78.
Variety
17 Sep 1975
p. 18.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Stanley Schneider Production; A Sydney Pollack Film
A Stanley Schneider Production; A Sydney Pollack Film; A Wildwood Enterprises, Inc. Co-production
Dino De Laurentiis Presents; A Stanley Schneider Production; A Sydney Pollack Film
Dino De Laurentis Presents
Dino De Laurentis Presents; A Stanley Schneider Production; A Sydney Pollack Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Supv film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Master scenic
COSTUMES
Miss Dunaway's clothes
Cost des
MUSIC
SOUND
Production sd
Mus ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Miss Dunaway's makeup
Miss Dunaway's hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod services by
Prod mgr
Gaffer
Casting
Key grip
Loc coordinator
Scr supv
Office coordinator
Production accountant
Title des
Spec equip
Tech adv for computer seq
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Six Days of the Condor by James Grady (New York, 1974).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Six Days of the Condor
Release Date:
September 1975
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 24 September 1975
Los Angeles opening: 28 September 1975
Production Date:
4 November 1974--21 February 1975
Copyright Claimant:
Dino De Laurentiis Corporation
Copyright Date:
22 August 1975
Copyright Number:
LP47875
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
117
Length(in feet):
10,526
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

As Joe Turner, a researcher at the Manhattan Literary Historical Society, parks his bike in front of his office, a mysterious man in a car crosses off his name from a list of employees. At the Society, which is actually a front for the CIA, Turner and his co-workers analyze every book published in the world and feed their information into computers, which then checks them against actual CIA operations. Turner is disappointed when his superior, Dr. Lappe, informs him that an inquiry he made about an intriguing irregularity turned out to be of no importance to headquarters. Later, because it is raining, Turner slips out the back door to fetch lunch for his co-workers, just before an assailant disguised as a mailman gains entrance to the security locked building and is joined by Joubert, the sinister man from the car. After riddling Joe’s co-workers with bullets, the men depart. Upon returning, Turner discovers the bloody bodies of his colleagues, including that of his girlfriend Janice, the deadly silence pierced only by the monotonous hum of the computers. Horrified, Turner snatches a gun from the receptionist’s desk drawer and hurries to a pay phone to notify headquarters, using his code name “Condor.” Instructed to find a secure location and call back in one hour, Turner decides check up on Heidigger, the one colleague who did not come to work that day. Upon finding Heidigger’s slain body, Turner panics and phones headquarters, after which Higgins, the Deputy Director, directs him to meet his department head Wicks, whom he has never met, in an alley behind a hotel. Now suspicious of everyone, ... +


As Joe Turner, a researcher at the Manhattan Literary Historical Society, parks his bike in front of his office, a mysterious man in a car crosses off his name from a list of employees. At the Society, which is actually a front for the CIA, Turner and his co-workers analyze every book published in the world and feed their information into computers, which then checks them against actual CIA operations. Turner is disappointed when his superior, Dr. Lappe, informs him that an inquiry he made about an intriguing irregularity turned out to be of no importance to headquarters. Later, because it is raining, Turner slips out the back door to fetch lunch for his co-workers, just before an assailant disguised as a mailman gains entrance to the security locked building and is joined by Joubert, the sinister man from the car. After riddling Joe’s co-workers with bullets, the men depart. Upon returning, Turner discovers the bloody bodies of his colleagues, including that of his girlfriend Janice, the deadly silence pierced only by the monotonous hum of the computers. Horrified, Turner snatches a gun from the receptionist’s desk drawer and hurries to a pay phone to notify headquarters, using his code name “Condor.” Instructed to find a secure location and call back in one hour, Turner decides check up on Heidigger, the one colleague who did not come to work that day. Upon finding Heidigger’s slain body, Turner panics and phones headquarters, after which Higgins, the Deputy Director, directs him to meet his department head Wicks, whom he has never met, in an alley behind a hotel. Now suspicious of everyone, Turner refuses to meet a stranger in an alley, and Higgins then agrees to allow Sam Barber, Turner’s friend from statistics, to accompany Wicks. Dressed in a bullet proof vest, Barber enters the alley just as Wicks springs around the corner and shoots at Turner. Firing back, Turner hits Wicks in the leg and flees, after which Wicks turns and shoots Barber in the throat. Desperate, Turner abducts Kathy Hale, a young photographer, and forces her to drive him to her apartment in Brooklyn Heights. In Washington, meanwhile, a meeting is convened by Wabash, a high ranking CIA official, to try to unravel what has happened. Before being taken to the hospital, Wicks stated that Condor had shot both him and Barber, prompting Wabash to wonder how a researcher could shoot with such precision. Wabash also ponders whether Turner is an innocent or a turncoat. Afterward, Joubert meets Atwood, one of the agents attending the meeting, who directs him to eliminate Condor. In Brooklyn, Turner explains his predicament to an incredulous and defiant Kathy. Upon hearing a news report of Barber’s murder, Turner ties and gags Kathy and then drives to Barber’s apartment, where he finds Barber’s unsuspecting wife Mae nonchalantly preparing for a dinner party. After insisting that Mae visit some friends who live upstairs, Turner enters the elevator and Joubert slips in behind him. Sensing danger on the ride to the lobby, Turner surrounds himself with some revelers as he leaves the elevator, thus escaping Joubert’s waiting gun. The wily Joubert, however, notes the license plate number of Kathy’s car. Back in Brooklyn, Turner unties Kathy and promises to leave the following morning. Feeling compassion for the tormented Turner, Kathy makes love to him. The next morning, Joe replays the previous events in his mind and recalls that the response to his inquiry about a book being translated only into Dutch, Spanish and Arabic was signed by Wicks. He then realizes that his query must have triggered the killings. Soon after, a mailman appears at Kathy’s door to deliver a package. Once the man enters the apartment, Turner senses his peril and, after throwing a pot of coffee in his face, kicks a gun from his hand. As they struggle, Kathy tries to distract the assailant, allowing Turner to gain possession of the killer’s weapon and shoot him. On the dead man’s body, Turner finds a key and a slip of paper with Wick’s office phone number. Kathy and Turner then drive to the CIA building in Manhattan, where Kathy lures Higgins into her car. Holding Higgins at gunpoint, Turner asserts that there is a rotten agent in “the company,” and then describes Joubert. After Higgins confirms that Joubert is a freelance agent, Turner elaborates his theory about Wick’s involvement in an intelligence network linking Arabic, Spanish and Dutch-speaking countries. Promising to investigate Turner’s premise, Higgins then tells him about Wick’s untimely demise after being mysteriously yanked from his life support system at the hospital. Disgusted, Turner leaves and uses the key he found on the mailman’s body to track Joubert to the hotel in which he is registered. After stealing a case of tools from a phone company truck, Turner taps Joubert’s phone line and traces a call he has made to a Leonard Atwood in Maryland. As Higgins’ investigation turns up a link between Joubert and Wicks, Turner says goodbye to Kathy as she boards a train to meet her boyfriend in Vermont. Turner then takes the train to Maryland. Confronting Atwood in his darkened house, Turner introduces himself as Condor and demands to know what Atwood does for a living. Once Atwood identifies himself as Deputy Director of Operations in the Middle East, Turner realizes that Atwood was heading an unauthorized intelligence system within the CIA to help the United States gain influence in oil-producing countries. When Turner’s inquiry threatened to uncover the operation, the entire unit had to be wiped out. At that moment, Joubert sneaks up behind Turner and orders him to drop his gun. After shooting Atwood point blank in the head, Joubert explains to the stunned Turner that the CIA hired him to eliminate Atwood. Joubert continues that the contract for Turner’s death was simply a business arrangement between him and Atwood, which has now been cancelled. Impressed by Turner’s instincts, Joubert suggests that he become a freelance agent, but Turner refuses and returns to New York. There, in a meeting with Higgins on a public street, Turner warns that Atwood was running a renegade operation to invade the Middle East and secure oil for the United States. Cynically asserting that the end justify the means, Higgins tries to bring Turner back into the fold. When Turner rejects his offer and states that he has told his story to The New York Times , Higgins questions if the paper will ever run the story, implying that Turner’s life hangs in the balance. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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