Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Countries & Regions: United States
Studio: Studio Canal
Length: 109 mins
Region: Region B
Released: 31 October 2011
Cat No: OPTBD2059
Languages(s): English, German
Subtitles: English, German
Screen ratio 1:1.85
DTS Digital Surround Sound, Dolby Digital 2.0
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Cast: Allen Garfield , Robert Duvall , Harrison Ford , Michael Higgins , Frederic Forrest , Teri Garr , Cindy Williams , Gene Hackman , John Cazale , Elizabeth MacRae , Mark Wheeler , Robert Shields , Phoebe Alexander
Surveillance expert Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) values his personal privacy and anonymity above all else. When he and partner Stan (John... Read More
Intimate and well crafted film about a professional surveillance expert who tracks down a young couple to record their conversations under the orders of a powerful businessman known as the Director. One of Coppola's greatest films, this dark and unsettling conspiracy thriller about surveillance and paranoia was released prior to the Watergate scandal breaking but must have seemed chillingly prescient. Hackman's astonishing performance as the obsessive, haunted Harry Caul ('the best bugger on the West Coast') is one of his very best, and the brilliant, Hitchcockian twist at the end provides a shocking and unforgettable denouement.
Conceived well before and appearing in the wake of Watergate, at the time America’s gravest political crisis, The Conversation caught the paranoid mood of the mid-70s and sold it as an imaginative arthouse intrigue long before blue-eyed Robert Redford’s All the President’s Men. Remade as Enemy of the State in 1998, the far superior original hits cinemas in a brand new print while the rediscovery of Gene Hackman, star of wacky comedy The Royal Tenenbaums and a major National Film Theatre season, is already underway.
Set and shot in LA’s cultural Californian alter ego, San Francisco, the film employed a deglamourised and seedy Hackman, a jazzy score and exacting use of sound for an ominous exploration of a man’s inner life. Sneaked in between the Godfather blockbusters, Coppola’s pet project remains his favourite film and has garnered a faithful critical and niche following. Epitomising that apparent oxymoron – American art movie – the film anticipates the most experimental of American independents.
An intensely private man, top surveillance technician Harry Caul gives nothing away and lives in a sparse apartment with nothing of value except his keys. Working on a routine assignment in which a young couple is tailed in a public place, Harry re-runs their rambling talk, searching for optimum resolution. What he hears forces him to cross the line between professional voyeur and guilty party:
“He’d kill us if he could…He’d kill us if he could…”