Sunday, October 5, 2008

NYC, 70's style

Word is out that cult fave The Anderson Tapes (1971, Sony, $19.94, 99 minutes) is about to be remade, though somewhat inexplicably moved from its New York City setting to Miami (It’s sister film, 1974’s The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3 is currently in production, with the remake wisely still set in NYC). The movie stands out for a few reasons. It marked the first time director Sidney Lumet used New York as a background, before he went on to mini classics like Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, or Prince of the City. It’s also a paranoid thriller masquerading as a heist film, stacking Big Brotherness right next to deadpan violence right next to tounge-in-cheek urban humor. Best of all, once you look past the fact that it was one of Sean Connery’s leaps away from his James Bond persona, it’s packed with a batch of kick ass character turns from the likes of Dyan Cannon (Manhattan gal pal), Alan King (Mafia kingpin), Martin Balsam (swishy antiques dealer), and a weirdly youthful Christopher Walken playing a gang member know as The Kid, never mind the whole passel of 70’s prototypes filled out by Val Avery, Paul Benjamin, Dick Anthony Williams, and Richard B. Schull, with the icing on the cake the strangest of cop pairings--Ralph Meeker and Garret Morris.

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