The Anderson Tapes (1971) DVDRip Dual Esp-Eng (SiRiUs sHaRe).avi
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The Anderson Tapes (1971)
A thief (Duke Anderson) just released from ten years in jail, takes up with his old girlfriend (Ingrid) in her posh apartment. He makes plans to rob the entire building. What he doesn't know is that his every move is recorded on audio and video tape, although he is not the subject of any surveillance. Due to be remade in 2010.
Sean Connery ... John "Duke" Anderson
Dyan Cannon ... Ingrid
Martin Balsam ... Tommy Haskins
Ralph Meeker ... Captain Delaney
Alan King ... Pat Angelo
Christopher Walken ... The Kid
Val Avery ... Socks Parelli
Dick Anthony Williams ... Spencer (as Dick Williams)
Garrett Morris ... Everson
Stan Gottlieb ... Pop
Paul Benjamin ... Jimmy
Anthony Holland ... Psychologist
Richard B. Shull ... Werner Gottlieb
Conrad Bain ... Dr. Rubicoff
Margaret Hamilton ... Miss Kaler
Forget about the tapes and the surveillance business, they are not the main issue here. At best they are used as a smoke screen to hide the real purpose of this movie: To show us what extents human stupidity can reach.
For Sidney Lumet this must have been the dress rehearsal for the more famous Dog Day Afternoon. Most of it is shot in a realistic style. But there is more to it, the absurdity of it all is pushed much further and converts realism into surrealism. This is the story of Anderson, a guy who gets out of prison after having served a long spell behind bars. Before he leaves he makes a short speech in which he declaims his philosophy. The essence of it: Everybody steals and therefore everybody has a right to steal. He steps into freedom, gets directly to his former lover's elegant apartment house off Central Park, looks around a bit and instantly makes the big decision concerning his future life: He will burglarise all apartments in this house in one big sweep and live on what the fence will pay him for the loot for the rest of his life.
Anderson seems to be a direct descendant of the Coen Brother's Ed Crane in The Man Who Wasn't There. And Sean Connery gives a performance as convincing as Billy Bob Thornton. Anderson made a decision - period. He will bear all the consequences, however bloody they will get. And, funny enough, there are people who think the idiotic scheme might be a success. Anderson has authority and leader qualities; he gets financial backing from an oddball son of a big time mobster and can form a team of more oddballs for the burglary (including a very young Christopher Walken). So eventually Anderson drives up to the apartment house with a huge removal truck (remember: this is not filmed in the style of a comedy!).
I do not want to give away the whole story. Only this much: The viewer sees people on both sides of the law engaged in heavy duty physical exertion. You can laugh and at the same time feel sorry for the poor fellows. The whole enterprise ends in utter disaster for the burglars. Towards the end of the story there is much police present on the street around the apartment house. You can observe ambulance personnel relaxedly unfolding bed linen for their stretchers in front of the Guggenheim. Then some of the gangsters try to make a getaway in a car. The engine roars and the car crashes and overturns after a few yards. This is all filmed very undramatically from a distance, in a matter of fact way, without musical soundtrack. It could almost be a documentary.
The low key style of the movie heightens the absurdity of the story, strengthens the message and make The Anderson Tapes a memorable experience. There is a very good electronic musical score by Quincy Jones which to my ears still sounds modern, funky and futuristic.
"The Anderson Tapes", directed by Sidney Lumet, showed up recently on cable. Having read the Lawrence Sanders novel years ago, we basically didn't have a clear recollection of the action. As adapted by Frank Pierson, the film shows Mr. Lumet at what he does best. Totally filmed in New York, it offers a glimpse at the way the city looked during those days.
The only thing that doesn't seem to work with the film is the way the electronic surveillance shows what Duke Anderson and the crew he puts together were about to do, at all times. Why the eavesdropping is going on all the time is only explained at the end of the film, something that doesn't make much sense because the ones doing the spying are completely aware of what Anderson is going to attempt all along the movie.
Sean Connery makes a wonderful Duke Anderson. He works well under Mr. Lumet's direction; he keeps the film going as the man with the plan for a caper that will help him retire from the business of being a thief. Dyan Cannon plays Mr. Connery's affections. She is the one who is the key for the gang to access the posh building. Christopher Walken made his film debut and it's hard to recognize him when he first appears. Martin Balsam, Ralph Meeker ant the rest of the cast made valuable contributions to the film.
I thought this was quite the brilliant movie, with the essential amorality of various police agencies vividly displayed. They all are listening and recording every word, but each care only about their own little bailiwick, non of which includes John Anderson. More so, almost, they care about nothing, and realize the essential meaningless and futility of their lives, as they live their lives secondhand by eavesdropping on bad guys whose crimes and threats are never revealed. In the end, they realize that all their actions are illegal and destroy all their tapes and evidence of this caper.
The genius Sydney Lumet parlayed this clever irony into an obsession with police corruption: Serpico, Prince of the City, Q & A, etc., where he explored the continual lure of the greed and power on cops. He was about the only director to explore this common corruption until the scathing Training Day and The Shield. The Anderson Tapes presage the era of omnipresent taping, where much of any person's external life is videotaped without their knowledge and permission by so-called security cameras. London has over a million cameras on street corners intersections, stores, and US cities are copying that. In this movie, we are brought back to the "quaint" world of yesteryear where government agencies understood that these privacy violations are wrong.
Sean Connery is, as usual in his non-Bond, films, superb. His gritty hood exhibits the macho authenticity and believability he brings to every film (only maybe Denzel does the same), and the supporting cast is excellent too. While not at all a comedy, there is a definite tongue in cheek aspect here in the blindness and moral ambiguity of the many police and spy agencies monitoring the heist- all in vain.