Telefon (1977)

If you want a well-shot movie then either go forward or backward in time.  As for a great spy movie, it’s pretty decent.  I really like the first mention I’ve seen of sleeper agents in the movies I’ve been re-watching.  I know the Manchurian candidate is 15 years earlier but I haven’t re-watched that one yet.  Don’t question the plot either, Grigori tried and they just shushed him.  And brace yourself for a completely underutilized and inexplicable contribution to the storyline by Tyne Daly.

Charles Bronson is total fucker.  He’s like someone’s dickhole dad that is rude and mean and totally treats mom (Lee Remick) like shit the whole time and she’s just supposed to take it and like it.  At least the 50’s had kind of jerks that weren’t completely shitty, Bronson was like that rattlesnake and I just kept hoping she’d shoot him.  The least likely part of the movie is the very end.  I’m surprised the YWCA didn’t write a stern letter.

The sleeper agent, and better yet the drug-induced mind control sleeper, is a really interesting take on the “common man as spy” concept which later comes to fruition in the Bourne movies.  It’s the spy equivalent of finding out you were a Disney princess the whole time.  Except you become a badass, kill people and blow the shit out of things.

Telefon is a definite you should watch kind of movie in the spy line-up and an interesting time capsule of shitty late 70’s social relationships.  Aside from no plan, sending one man who aimlessly wanders in the wake of the bombings and a fumbled climactic ending (a teenager could come up with a more logical way to bait and snare Dalchimsky at the end) – it was a decent movie.

And my God, the movies from the 40’s had better camera and film work!  I totally saw the cliche scratchy line frames and distortions and loss of dialogue to acting at points.

Go watch it anyways…