Sunday, May 6, 2012
Movie Review: Telefon (1977)
A cold war thriller, Telefon has many of the necessary elements to deliver a taut experience, but falls somewhat short on overall talent and budget. The result is a clever but vaguely disjointed action movie that lurches forward in fits and starts.
Unfortunately for Dalchimsky, the targets were selected in the1950s and are now largely irrelevant, resulting in much embarrassment in Moscow and bemusement at the CIA. Major Grigori Bortsov (Charles Bronson) is selected by the Soviet leadership to travel to the US and put a stop to the mounting carnage. Borstov teams up with American double agent Barbara (Lee Remick) and they attempt to track down and eliminate Dalchimsky, with Barbara also tasked with ensuring that there are no loose ends left at the end of the mission.
Despite the shortcomings, there is plenty of entertainment on offer. Director Don Siegel moves the action along briskly, Telefon never sagging in intensity. When Bronson is not asked to spar with Remick, he does what Bronson does best: smoothly slicing through the mayhem to get to his target, thinking on his feet and executing with efficiency. Tyne Daly, Alan Badel, Patrick Magee, and Sheree North maintain interest in the minor roles. And the scenes of sleeper agents completing their suicide assignments have become more unsettling with the passage of time and the preponderance of suicide bombers as routine weapons in actual global conflicts.
Although it may lack some of the glitz and polish of other thrillers, the action is honest and the execution professional. Telefon may not be the quickest to pick up, but it answers the call.
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