Sydney Pollack Blogathon-Day 1
The Sydney Pollack Blogathon starts off with 2 posts one by yours truly on 3 Days of the Condor, another by Citizen Screenings, Aurora on The Firm.
3 Days of the Condor is one of my favorite thriller movies, and here I look at the atmosphere of fear and paranoia it generates, as well as the tension.
3 Days of the Condor was Sydney Pollack’s 8th feature, he had already made his impact earlier, with a series of movies, ranging from the Depression era classic They Shoot Horses Don’t They? to the Western Jeremiah Johnson to a more conventional love story The Way We Were. It was also his 3rd collaboration with Robert Redford, whom he directed earlier in Jeremiah Johnson and The Way We Were. The movie was in line with a series of “conspiracy thrillers” that hit the screens in the 70′s and 80′s, but with a difference. Unlike the earlier conspiracy thrillers, that revolved around the evil Soviet empire, the enemy in these thrillers was within. Big Govt, big business trying to suppress the truth, forming a shadowy cartel sometimes in cahoots with the CIA and FBI, was the main backdrop. It was not CIA vs KGB, it was CIA vs the people within it. If Jack Nicholson in Chinatown was up against a real estate cabal in LA, Warren Beatty tries to unravel a sinister organization in The Parallax View and Gene Hackmann, a surveillance expert in The Conversation , finds he ironically could be the target of it.
Aurora at Citizen Screenings, takes a look at Contemporary Cinema, in her blog. And here she chooses to explore, Sydney Pollack’s 1993 movie adaptation of John Grisham’s legal thriller, The Firm, and how well he did adapt it to the screen. In her words.
Admittedly, Sidney Pollack had a lot of trouble trying to visualize John Grisham’s hugely popular novel, “The Firm,” as a feature film. He felt that if he followed the book exactly, he couldn’t make the film work. So, he made changes to the script that many disagreed with. One of those changes is the ending of the story in the film, which is quite different from the one depicted in Grisham’s novel. I have no problem with the changes Pollack made to the film, except that it is too clean, if that makes any sense. While the overall story told in Pollack’s version of the story is clear and enjoyable, there are several convoluted moments in the film where one wonders what’s going on. It’s a bit messy and I feel the ending should be a bit messy too. Having said that, with a running time that exceeds two hours, The Firm manages to keep me interested for its duration.