The Conversation


Cult. “Plots and Spies” Cycle on OCS Giants, the opportunity to rediscover four 70s’ thrillers including The Conversation by Francis Ford Coppola.

By Jacques Braunstein

This is Francis Ford Coppola’s forgotten film… The Conversation which received the Palme d’Or of the Cannes Film Festival in 1974. But he is stuck between the two Godfathers (Oscars for best film in 1973 and 1975) and Apocalypse Now (Palme d’Or 1979). Compared to these epic frescoes it’s a modest film. Harry Caul, a wiretap detective (Gene Hakman) spies on an adulterous couple and makes every effort to preserve his own privacy.

“Palme d’Or of the Cannes Film Festival in 1974.”

The story seems common if not placed in the paranoic context of the time, marked by the burglary of the Watergate and Oval Office records.

When we think of the 70s’ great spy movies, we are more likely to think of All the President’s Men, Three Days of the Condor or Marathon Man. This last film, dating from 1976 too, is also part of the “Plots and Spies” Cycle that OCS Giants offers. Featuring Dustin Hoffman in the main role and Laurence Olivier as a Nazi dentist, he is signed by John Schlessinger. As The Falcon and the Snowman (1984), which goes back to another case from the Nixon years, about two American spies in the service of the USSR, played by Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn.

To complete this cycle : Capricorn One (1978), a Peter Hyams’ oddity with Elliott Gould and James Brolin as astronauts forced to simulate a Martian mission in the studio. A film that rings a bell with the joke : “Neil Armstrong’s moon landing is a fake by Stanley Kubrick. But as Kubrick was very perfectionist, he asked it to be shot on the moon.”