Conspiracy: Political Thrillers
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Few genres take the psychological pulse of a country as well as the political
thriller. Watergate-era unease (THE PARALLAX VIEW, ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN), questions
about the truth behind the Kennedy assassination (EXECUTIVE ACTION), and paranoia about
corporate-controlled America (WINTER KILLS) are just a few of the topics explored in this
series, which also includes classics like THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and THREE DAYS OF THE
CONDOR. The visual scope and thematic ambition of these masterpieces demands that they be
seen on the big screen!
Wednesday, February 6 7:30 PM
New 35 mm print! THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR, 1973, Paramount, 117
min. Dir. Sydney Pollack. Robert Redford is a mild-mannered CIA clerk
forced into action when he returns from a lunch break to find all of his co-workers dead.
As he tries to discover the truth behind the murders, he finds himself on the run from
assassins and engaged in an unlikely romance with Faye Dunaway in Pollacks
intricate, fast-paced political thriller.
Thursday, February 7 7:30 PM
THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, 1962, MGM Repertory,
126 min. Dir. John Frankenheimer. Ex-prisoner-of-war Frank Sinatra tries to
connect the dots when decorated comrade Laurence Harvey starts acting strange only
to have a nightmarish labyrinth unravel in his lap. Korean War brainwashing, Harveys
rich control freak mother (Angela Lansbury), her right-wing candidate hubby (James
Gregory in a savage parody of Sen. Joseph McCarthy) and an assassination plot mesh in
this suspenseful adaptation of Richard Condons satirical thriller. With Janet
Saturday, February 9 7:30 PM
Assassination Conspiracy Double Feature:
WINTER KILLS, 1979, Avco-Embassy (Canal+), 97 min.
Director William Richert fashions a fierce lampoon of events surrounding the JFK
assassination from Richard Condons (MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE; PRIZZIS HONOR)
already bitingly satirical novel. Jeff Bridges, idealistic brother of a slain
president, has his life turned topsy-turvy when hes handed newly-uncovered evidence
of a conspiracy. With John Huston as the amoral robber-baron patriarch and a
totally tweaked Anthony Perkins as the certifiably loony Head of National Security.
EXECUTIVE ACTION, 1973, Warner Bros., 91 min.
Years before Oliver Stones JFK, director David Miller (LONELY ARE THE BRAVE)
pulled off one of the most shocking casting coups of the early 1970s: Burt Lancaster
and Robert Ryan as two rich Texas men on a commission of right-wing corporate
honchos who are revealed to be the real force behind the JFK assassination. Alarmed at
civil rights progress, Kennedys commitment to the nuclear test-ban treaty and his
wavering on Viet Nam, they plot the Presidents demise with a coldly detached
precision. The screenplay was penned by previously blacklisted Dalton Trumbo. With Will
Geer, John Anderson. "
The filmmakers do not insist that
they have solved John Kennedy's murder; instead, they simply evoke what might have
happened, according to various researchers, including Mark Lane
The film's sternest
and strongest point is that only a crazed person acting on his own would have been
acceptable to the American public - which, at that time, certainly did not want to believe
in a conspiracy." -- Nora Sayre, The New York Times (Because of rarity,
this original print is slightly faded.) Discussion in between
films with WINTER KILLS director William Richert, art director Norman Newberry, production
designer Bob Boyle and other guests to be announced.
Sunday, February 10 7:30 PM
Alan Pakula Double Feature!
ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN, 1976,
Warner Bros., 138 min. Dir. Alan Pakula. Robert Redford and Dustin
Hoffman shine as Washington Post investigative reporters Woodward and
Bernstein, the pair responsible for uncovering the shocking truth behind the Watergate
break-in. A tense real-life detective saga demonstrating what a courageous free press can
accomplish. With a sterling supporting cast that includes Jason Robards, Martin Balsam,
Jack Warden, Jane Alexander, Hal Holbrook and F. Murray Abraham.
THE PARALLAX VIEW, 1974, Paramount, 102 min. Dir. Alan
J. Pakula. Impetuous reporter Warren Beattys hunt for a political
assassin turns more and more terrifying as each successive layer of corruption and
right-wing insanity is unpeeled. When he enlists in a program to recruit social misfits as
political killers-for-hire, the narrative assumes cosmically paranoid dimensions. A
daringly downbeat, uncompromising speculation on how far the advocates of repression will
go. With Paula Prentiss, William Daniels, Hume Cronyn. "Its visual
organization is stunning
Excellent performances; fascinating film." -- Time