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Anderson Tapes [VHS]
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Product Description

An early example of the techno-thriller, The Anderson Tapes--sharply directed by Sidney Lumet from the novel by Lawrence Sanders--follows just-out-of-jail Duke Anderson (a balding Sean Connery) as he plots the heist of an entire New York apartment building, enlisting a crew that includes Martin Balsam as a vintage 1971 gay stereotype and a very young Christoper Walken in perhaps the first of his jittery crook roles. The gimmick is that Anderson has been out of circulation so long that he doesn't realizse his mafia backers are only supporting him because they feel nostalgic for the days before they were boring businessmen and that the whole set-up is monitored by a criss-crossing selection of government and private agencies who don't care enough to thwart the robbery, which instead becomes unglued thanks to a spunky handicapped kid-cum-radio ham. With a cool Quincy Jones score, very tight editing, a lot of spot-on cameo performances from the likes of Ralph Meeker as a patient cop, The Anderson Tapes hasn't dated a bit: it's wry without being jokey and suspenseful without feeling contrived. --Kim Newman

Customer Reviews:

  • A refreshingly multi-faceted caper flick.
    "The Anderson Tapes" is loaded with the sort of richness that you can count on when its director, Sidney Lumet is at the helm. Sean Connery heads up the sort of first-rate cast of character actors that routinely gravitate toward any Lumet film. There is the sprinkling of humor and the rising suspense that you might expect from a movie about a plot to commit a robbery. The director's masterful touch with pacing keeps the picture moving in a thoroughly engrossing fashion. Most of all, his gift for drawing intense and powerful performances from his casts is in full flower here. Screen the recent Lumet film, "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" and you will see an even more intense and infinitely darker "caper-flick" that is, likewise, very worthwhile....more info
  • Tape Worm
    Sean Connery turns in an excellent and memorable performance in this excellent thriller competently acted, well scripted and neatly directed about a heist where everything is not what it appears to be. This film is full of great characters and suspense. Quincy Jones composed a great score. Look for Christopher Walken's distinctive face in his film debut. It will keep you on the edge of your seat....more info
  • Great film that sometimes may get overlooked.
    Beautifully made caper film by one of the best in his prime, Sydney Lumet. The pacing and balance may be the true art of the film. Premise is a bit far fetched: recently released con (Sean Connery) plans extravagant heist of entire Manhattan apartment building using mob financing. The hitch is that most everywhere he goes during his planning, electronic surveillance follows from varied and sundry sources.

    A young Chris Walken heads a superb support group including Dyan Cannon. Martin Balsam is absolutely spectacular as the femme antique dealer.

    Slightly dated, but never tired, the story progresses like a time bomb countdown.

    Often imitated, rarely duplicated....more info

  • a rare lumet miss
    I'm a big fan of director Lumet, particularly of his work from the '60s and '70s ('12 Angry Men,' 'Long Day's Journey,' 'The Hill,' 'The Pawnbroker,' 'Serpico,' 'Orient Express,' 'Dog Day Afternoon,' and his masterpiece, 'Network,' among others), but I find 'Anderson Tapes' clunky, dated and generally missing the point. As a caper film, it's poorly constructed and rather maladroitly edited. There is no real effort made to set up the logistics of the robbery or establish the characters of the quirky group involved, and that lack of groundwork renders the heist itself, which is badly executed and ultimately botched, barely interesting to watch and almost entirely devoid of suspense. Now, that could be forgiven in the context of what should have been the larger satirical message of the movie: the inability of the various 'big brother' entities-- which paradoxically rely upon their impressive techno-toys in lieu of good detective or communications work-- eavesdropping on the planning of the proceedings to connect the dots and foil the nefarious plot (sound familiar?). However, this clever thematic thread is dropped halfway through and gets picked up again only as an ending joke, leaving the audience with rather an unsatisfied feeling. Connery, looking prematurely shopworn, is OK but not utilized to any great effect; Walken is very good but underdeveloped; and Dyan Cannon seems to have been thrown in for no particular reason save a minor plot device (and some skin). I even found Quincy Jones's score intrusive and out of place. As another reviewer points out, the highlight of the film are the excellent glimpses of 1970s NYC. I'm being generous in giving it three stars....more info