Three Days of the Condor


1h 57m 1975
Three Days of the Condor

Brief Synopsis

A CIA researcher uncovers top secret information and finds himself marked for death.

Film Details

Also Known As
Six Days of the Condor
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Documentary
Mystery
Thriller
Political
Spy
Release Date
Sep 1975
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 24 Sep 1975; Los Angeles opening: 28 Sep 1975
Production Company
Dino De Laurentiis Corp.; Wildwood Enterprises, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Brooklyn Heights, New York, United States; Brooklyn Heights, New York, United States; Mahnattan--Guggenheim Museum, New York, United States; Mahnattan--Guggenheim Museum, New York, United States; Manhattan--Central Park, New York, United States; Manhattan--Chelsea, New York, United States; Manhattan--Guggenheim Museum, New York, United States; Manhattan--Upper East Side, New York, United States; Manhattan--Upper West Side, New York, United States; Manhattan--World Trade Center, New York, United States; Old Westbury--New York Institute of Technology, New York, United States; Ward's Island, New York, United States; Washington D. C.,United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Six Days of the Condor by James Grady (New York, 1974).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 57m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1
Film Length
10,526ft

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, 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.

Photo Collections

Three Days of the Condor - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Three Days of the Condor (1975), starring Robert Redford. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Film Details

Also Known As
Six Days of the Condor
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Documentary
Mystery
Thriller
Political
Spy
Release Date
Sep 1975
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 24 Sep 1975; Los Angeles opening: 28 Sep 1975
Production Company
Dino De Laurentiis Corp.; Wildwood Enterprises, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Brooklyn Heights, New York, United States; Brooklyn Heights, New York, United States; Mahnattan--Guggenheim Museum, New York, United States; Mahnattan--Guggenheim Museum, New York, United States; Manhattan--Central Park, New York, United States; Manhattan--Chelsea, New York, United States; Manhattan--Guggenheim Museum, New York, United States; Manhattan--Upper East Side, New York, United States; Manhattan--Upper West Side, New York, United States; Manhattan--World Trade Center, New York, United States; Old Westbury--New York Institute of Technology, New York, United States; Ward's Island, New York, United States; Washington D. C.,United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Six Days of the Condor by James Grady (New York, 1974).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 57m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1
Film Length
10,526ft

Award Nominations

Best Editing

1975
Don Guidice

Articles

Three Days of the Condor


Joe Turner (Robert Redford), a lowly researcher for the CIA, returns from a lunch break to discover all his coworkers assassinated for no apparent reason. Seeking help from the CIA, he finds himself utterly alone, unable to trust anyone. Even when he turns to trusted friends, he merely puts them in danger. Kidnapping a stranger, Kathy Hale (Faye Dunaway), at gunpoint, he holes up in her apartment while trying to craft a survival strategy and buy himself time to uncover the truth behind what happened. Turner, a loner by circumstance, and Hale, a loner by nature, are gradually drawn to each other. Turner is forced to muster all of his knowledge and experience, including his previous work as a telephone lineman, in order to outthink his would-be assassins. Finally, it becomes a game of wits between him and other CIA agents such as Higgins and Joubert, the tireless and patient freelance gunman who is pursuing him. The reason behind the assassinations, he soon learns, has global implications.

Three Days of the Condor (1975) was one in a series of political conspiracy thrillers to appear in the wake of the Watergate scandals. Other well-known examples include The Parallax View (1974) and All the President's Men (1976), both directed by Alan J. Pakula. At the time Three Days of the Condor grossed more than $20 million, testifying to the film's success as a tightly crafted thriller. However, like many of the political thrillers of the day, it also offers serious commentary on the corrupting influence of power. In light of recent events such as the Iran-Contra scandal and the Persian Gulf War, today the film's resolution seems more disturbingly plausible than ever.

James Grady, author of the 1974 novel Six Days of the Condor on which the film is based, was born in Montana and earned a degree in Journalism from the University of Montana. He then moved to Washington D.C., where he served as an aide to U.S. Senator Lee Metcalf and worked as an investigative reporter to noted newspaper columnist Jack Anderson. After the success of Six Days of the Condor, which has been translated into a number of languages, he published a sequel, Shadow of the Condor (1975). Recent novels by Grady include Thunder (1994) and White Flame (1996).

Director Sydney Pollack and star Robert Redford have had a long and fruitful collaboration, starting with the Tennessee Williams adaptation This Property is Condemned (1966) and continuing through Havana (1990) for a total of seven films. The Way We Were (1973), in particular, was one of the most popular films of its decade.

Three Days of the Condor was shot on location in New York in the fall of 1974. Because the film was supposed to be set in the middle of winter, leaves had to be removed from the trees on the streets where the film was shot. Faye Dunaway, who was to be held hostage by Robert Redford according to the screenplay, was required to display fear that she might be raped. However, Dunaway, who had long dreamed of playing opposite Redford, had difficulty not breaking into laughter during the shoot. "Now I'm sorry," she says in her memoir Looking for Gatsby, "but the idea of being kidnapped and ravaged by Robert Redford was anything but frightening." When Redford left the set temporarily, the director Pollack took over: "The cameras were rolling, I was in position, and suddenly Sydney lunged at me, growling 'I AM GOING TO GET YOU!' I'm tied up at this point, unable to get away or move much at all, but Sydney kept moving toward me, his eyes glaring at me as he went on detailing all the horrible things he was going to do to me, and let me tell you, Sydney has an inventive mind. He is also a great actor, and he scared the hell out of me. Sydney kept the camera rolling and he was relentless."

Director: Sydney Pollack
Producer: Stanley Schneider
Screenplay: Lorenzo Semple, Jr. and David Rayfiel, adapted from the novel Six Days of the Condor by James Grady
Cinematography: Owen Roizman
Editing: Fredric Steinkamp and Donald Guidice
Music: Dave Grusin
Art Direction: Gene Rudolf
Principal Cast: Robert Redford (Joe Turner), Faye Dunaway (Kathy Hale), Cliff Robertson (Higgins), Max von Sydow (Joubert), John Houseman (Mr. Wabash), Addison Powell (Atwood), Walter McGinn (Sam Barber), Tina Chen (Janice), Michael Kane (Wicks).
C-118m. Letterboxed.

by James Steffen

Three Days Of The Condor

Three Days of the Condor

Joe Turner (Robert Redford), a lowly researcher for the CIA, returns from a lunch break to discover all his coworkers assassinated for no apparent reason. Seeking help from the CIA, he finds himself utterly alone, unable to trust anyone. Even when he turns to trusted friends, he merely puts them in danger. Kidnapping a stranger, Kathy Hale (Faye Dunaway), at gunpoint, he holes up in her apartment while trying to craft a survival strategy and buy himself time to uncover the truth behind what happened. Turner, a loner by circumstance, and Hale, a loner by nature, are gradually drawn to each other. Turner is forced to muster all of his knowledge and experience, including his previous work as a telephone lineman, in order to outthink his would-be assassins. Finally, it becomes a game of wits between him and other CIA agents such as Higgins and Joubert, the tireless and patient freelance gunman who is pursuing him. The reason behind the assassinations, he soon learns, has global implications. Three Days of the Condor (1975) was one in a series of political conspiracy thrillers to appear in the wake of the Watergate scandals. Other well-known examples include The Parallax View (1974) and All the President's Men (1976), both directed by Alan J. Pakula. At the time Three Days of the Condor grossed more than $20 million, testifying to the film's success as a tightly crafted thriller. However, like many of the political thrillers of the day, it also offers serious commentary on the corrupting influence of power. In light of recent events such as the Iran-Contra scandal and the Persian Gulf War, today the film's resolution seems more disturbingly plausible than ever. James Grady, author of the 1974 novel Six Days of the Condor on which the film is based, was born in Montana and earned a degree in Journalism from the University of Montana. He then moved to Washington D.C., where he served as an aide to U.S. Senator Lee Metcalf and worked as an investigative reporter to noted newspaper columnist Jack Anderson. After the success of Six Days of the Condor, which has been translated into a number of languages, he published a sequel, Shadow of the Condor (1975). Recent novels by Grady include Thunder (1994) and White Flame (1996). Director Sydney Pollack and star Robert Redford have had a long and fruitful collaboration, starting with the Tennessee Williams adaptation This Property is Condemned (1966) and continuing through Havana (1990) for a total of seven films. The Way We Were (1973), in particular, was one of the most popular films of its decade. Three Days of the Condor was shot on location in New York in the fall of 1974. Because the film was supposed to be set in the middle of winter, leaves had to be removed from the trees on the streets where the film was shot. Faye Dunaway, who was to be held hostage by Robert Redford according to the screenplay, was required to display fear that she might be raped. However, Dunaway, who had long dreamed of playing opposite Redford, had difficulty not breaking into laughter during the shoot. "Now I'm sorry," she says in her memoir Looking for Gatsby, "but the idea of being kidnapped and ravaged by Robert Redford was anything but frightening." When Redford left the set temporarily, the director Pollack took over: "The cameras were rolling, I was in position, and suddenly Sydney lunged at me, growling 'I AM GOING TO GET YOU!' I'm tied up at this point, unable to get away or move much at all, but Sydney kept moving toward me, his eyes glaring at me as he went on detailing all the horrible things he was going to do to me, and let me tell you, Sydney has an inventive mind. He is also a great actor, and he scared the hell out of me. Sydney kept the camera rolling and he was relentless." Director: Sydney Pollack Producer: Stanley Schneider Screenplay: Lorenzo Semple, Jr. and David Rayfiel, adapted from the novel Six Days of the Condor by James Grady Cinematography: Owen Roizman Editing: Fredric Steinkamp and Donald Guidice Music: Dave Grusin Art Direction: Gene Rudolf Principal Cast: Robert Redford (Joe Turner), Faye Dunaway (Kathy Hale), Cliff Robertson (Higgins), Max von Sydow (Joubert), John Houseman (Mr. Wabash), Addison Powell (Atwood), Walter McGinn (Sam Barber), Tina Chen (Janice), Michael Kane (Wicks). C-118m. Letterboxed. by James Steffen

Quotes

You miss that kind of action, sir?
- Higgins
I miss that kind of clarity.
- Mr. Wabash
Why?
- Joe Turner
I don't interest myself in why, I think more in terms of when. Sometimes where. Always how much.
- Joubert
You... you have a lot of fine qualities.
- Kathy Hale
what fine qualities?
- Joe Turner
You have good eyes. Not prying, but they don't lie, and they don't look away much, and they don't miss anything.
- Kathy Hale
You have good eyes. Not kind, but they don't seem to lie or look away much. And they don't miss anything. I could use eyes like that.
- Kathy Hale
But you're overdue in Vermont. Is he a tough guy?
- Turner
He's pretty tough.
- Kathy Hale
What will he do to you?
- Turner
...understand, probably.
- Kathy Hale
Oh... that's tough.
- Turner
I don't remember yesterday. Today it rained.
- Joe Turner

Trivia

Notes

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 December 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 March 1, 1974 advertisement in Hollywood Reporter, 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 January 1975.
       In a December 1975 Los Angeles Times 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 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 October 1975 New York Times news item adds that in the film's original ending, when "Turner" states that he has given his story to the New York Times, "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 New York Times. 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 June 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 April 1997, the court ruled in Pollack's favor, but later that month, the claim was thrown out.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States April 1998

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1975

Shown at Los Angeles Independent Film Festival (Artists Rights Foundation Screening) April 16-20, 1998.

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1975

Released in United States April 1998 (Shown at Los Angeles Independent Film Festival (Artists Rights Foundation Screening) April 16-20, 1998.)