Three Days of the Condor

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Kino Lorber;
Thriller;
$24.95 Blu-ray, $39.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R.’
Stars Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow, Cliff Robertson, John Houseman, Addison Powell, Walter McGinn, Tina Chen, Jess Osuna, Hank Garrett.

Pretty much everything about Three Days of the Condor screams ’70s spy thriller.

From its retro futuristic credits font to its music to the technology on display, the film is very much a product of its time. Even director Sydney Pollack makes this point in an old commentary included on the Blu-ray that he must have recorded it over 20 years ago, a few years prior to his death in 2008.

Based on the novel Six Days of the Condor, the 1975 film version jettisons most aspects of the book aside from a few basic plot elements and most of the title (several people in the bonus materials joke that the film didn’t have the budget to drag out the story more than three days).  Robert Redford plays Joe Turner, code name Condor, an analyst for a small CIA branch office in New York who reads a variety of foreign novels looking for patterns that could indicate clandestine real-world activities. After he files a report suggesting a group of rogue operators exists within the CIA, his office is targeted for termination.

Turner returns from lunch to find all his co-workers have been shot, and he immediately goes into hiding. Unsure of who to trust, he kidnaps Kathy (Faye Dunaway), a random woman he encounters on the street, using her apartment as a hideout while he tries to figure out who murdered his friends and why.

Between its old-fashioned computers and Turner’s infiltration of the phone network to gather information on his enemies, it wouldn’t be a shock if anyone born in the 21st century had no idea what was happening. However, the film being dated doesn’t diminish its impact or entertainment value, as at its core it’s still a very effective cat-and-mouse thriller populated with memorable characters and layered in detail.

It turns out the scheme Turner stumbled upon involved the U.S. destabilizing regimes in the Middle East in order to control the world’s oil supply — which turned out to be quite a prescient notion, both in terms of the exposure of the CIA’s of underhanded foreign policy tactics that was happening concurrently with the film’s production, and the looming energy crisis that was a few years away.

Modern audiences will most likely recognize the story element of an agency within an agency from Marvel’s 2014 film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which was so influenced by Condor that its makers even cast Redford in a key role (a reprisal of which in a cameo in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame marks his final on-screen appearance to date).

Three Days of the Condor also bears remarkable star power for its day, filled with some of its era’s most iconic faces. Dunaway, cast to bring the film some notable female starpower, was a year away from capturing an Oscar for her role as a duplicitous TV programmer in Network. Cliff Robertson plays a CIA deputy director who becomes central to Turner’s investigation. John Houseman, Orson Welles’ old producer buddy, makes a welcome appearance as one of the leaders of the conspiracy. He was coming off an Oscar win for 1973’s The Paper Chase, and a few months prior to Condor’s release he played a similar character in Rollerball. And Max von Sydow is great as the mercenary in charge of the hit squad in pursuit of Turner.

For its new Blu-ray and 4K editions of Three Days of the Condor, Kino Lorber offers a remastered version of the film scanned from the original 35mm negative, with great results. It’s not flashy or in your face, but this is what classic, gritty films are supposed to feel like.

Kino has also assembled a decent package of legacy extras, with two featurettes made for earlier Studio Canal European releases of the film on disc. The 25-minute “More About the Condor” is a 2003 reflection on the making of the film from Redford and Pollack, while the hour-long “Something About Sydney Pollack” is a 2004 retrospective of the director’s career.

In addition to the thorough decades-old commentary from Pollack, there’s also a newly recorded commentary about the film’s context, impact and legacy from film historians Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson.

Rounding out the extras is the film’s trailer.

Sci-Fi Films ‘Land of Doom,’ ‘Robot Holocaust,’ ‘Rollerball’ and ‘Voyage Into Space’ Due on Blu-ray From Ronin Flix and MVD Sept. 13

The science-fiction fantasy films Land of Doom, Robot Holocaust, Rollerball and Voyage Into Space will be released on Blu-ray Disc Sept. 13 from Ronin Flix and MVD Entertainment Group.

In director Norman Jewison’s Rollerball (1975), the year is 2018. There are no wars. There is no crime. There is only — the Game. In a world where ruthless corporations reign supreme, this vicious and barbaric “sport” is the only outlet for the pent-up anger and frustrations of the masses. Tuned to their televisions, the people watch Rollerball — a brutal mutation of football, motocross and hockey. Jonathan E. (James Caan) is the champion player, a man too talented for his own good. The Corporation has taken away the woman Jonathan loves, but they can’t take away his soul, even if the diabolical corporate head (John Houseman) tells him he better retire — or suffer the old-fashioned way. The film also stars John Beck, Maud Adams, Moses Gunn and Shane Rimmer. Special features on the cult classic, taken from a 4K scan, include audio commentary with Jewison; audio commentary with writer William Harrison; the “From Rome to Rollerball” featurette; “Blood Sports: An interview with James Caan”; an interview with stuntman Bob Minor; and the theatrical trailer and TV spots. The film, which won the Saturn Award for Best Science-Fiction Film for 1974-75, was the first major Hollywood production to give screen credit to its stunt performers and inspired the short-lived TNN sports show “RollerJam” (1999).

In Robot Holocaust (1987), in the not-so-distant future, mankind is facing uncertainty in the rubble of the destruction of New York. Powerful robots have taken over the world, poisoning the air and making humans their slaves. One man, Neo, and his robot Klyton take on giant worms, flesh eating mutants, killer robots and the evil power of The Dark One in a desperate battle to reclaim earth for the human race. Special features include an on-camera Interview with actress Jennifer Delora. Robot Holocaust was featured on “Mystery Science Theater 3000” in its first season.

Deborah Rennard (“Dallas,” Lionheart) stars in the postnuke classic Land of Doom (1986). In the film, much of the planet’s population and environment has been destroyed in a nuclear holocaust. Those who are still alive live in caves, and many roam the wasteland in marauding gangs. But some survivors, including Harmony (Rennard) and Anderson (Garrick Dowhen), want a better life and go in search of rumored paradise, a city called Blue Lake, where no rape, murder and pillaging are said to exist. However, the maniacal metal-faced Slater (Daniel Radell), Anderson’s rival, wants them dead. Special features include an on-camera interview with Rennard and the original trailer.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Voyage Into Space (1970) is a compilation of certain episodes from the TV series “Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot,” which aired from 1968 to 1969. The film features the far-out exploits of a young secret agent with the Unicorn Peacekeeping Organization as he battles the vile minions and colossal monsters of Emperor Guillotine, extraterrestrial dictator of the nefarious Gargoyle Gang. Joining the fight is an atomic-powered giant robot, armed with a fantastic array of super weapons, which only Johnny can command via a unique remote-control wristwatch. This original compilation movie, assembled by American International Television from episodes of the Toei Company tele-series, was a beloved favorite for scores of kaiju-crazy kids across the United States in the 1970s. From the makers of “Gigantor” and “Kamen Rider,” Voyage Into Space is part James Bond, part “Jonny Quest” and part “Ultraman”  with over-the-top plots, oddball villains, outrageous creatures, outré special effects and outlandish action, topped with an offbeat jazz score. Special features include audio commentary with film historian August Ragone.