“The Anderson Tapes” (1971)

The Anderson Tapes (1971)

Directed by:  Sidney Lumet
Written by:  Frank R. Pierson
Cast:  Sean Connery, Dyan Cannon, Christopher Walken, Martin Balsam, Alan King, Val Avery

Though the technology in the film is dated and some of the characters stereotypical, “The Anderson Tapes” (based on a novel by Lawrence Sanders) remains a rewarding and prescient caper movie, a tough, no-nonsense picture that brings to mind the original “Thomas Crown Affair” (Dir.  Norman Jewison; 1968) and, particularly, John Boorman’s “Point Blank” (one of the bleakest films I’ve ever seen).  Anderson, as portrayed by Sean Connery, is angry and unrepentant, seeking his chunk of flesh as payback for the ten years he’s spent rotting in prison, and never mind that he is an habitual criminal and deserved what he got.

But the world Anderson finds outside the penitentiary gates is far different than the one he remembers.  There are cameras everywhere and all the people he knows are older, slower, softer.  He needs financial backing for his scheme and is stunned when a former colleague (Alan King) gives him the run-around.

Lumet’s direction is subtle and effective.  He specializes at interior work, places where men and women (particularly men) come together and interact at close quarters; it’s only a matter of time before someone erupts and Lumet is a master at catching that moment.  “The Anderson Tapes” may not have the verbal and narrative pyrotechnics of a “Serpico” or “Twelve Angry Men”, but it is a credible and uncompromising thriller, deserving of a second look.

ΩΩΩ 1/2 (Out of 5)

About Cliff Burns

I'm a literary writer, specializing in slipstream/ alternative/surreal/science fiction. My influences include Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Samuel Beckett, Jorge Luis Borges, David Cronenberg, Rene Magritte, any artist who defies convention and busts open genres, attacking the status quo.
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2 Responses to “The Anderson Tapes” (1971)

  1. Vince says:


    I used to work in the Wall St computer rm of Irving Trust Co, the bank scene was shot at their Third Ave Branch.
    This link has a behind the scenes photo that was in our employee magazine:

    Brooklyn NY

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