Review: The Anderson Tapes
Blu-ray: The Anderson Tapes (1971)
Duke Anderson (Sean Connery) is released after serving a 10 year jail sentence and immediately re-kindles his relationship with ex- girlfriend Ingrid (Dyan Cannon), much to the chagrin of her current boyfriend who is keeping her in a life of luxury in a swish New York apartment block. Jaded with society and with a need to earn money fast, he assembles his jail buddies to complete a heist that will see them loot all of the apartments in the block. Backed by Mafia money and with relationships, both personal and professional, on a constant knife edge, Duke is committed to seeing the heist through to the bitter end, wholly unaware that both his and his team members every move is under surveillance from a multitude of people.
The Anderson Tapes is a classic Sidney Lumet movie, shot in his beloved New York and with an almost documentary style that heightens the sense of being constantly watched via a camera lens. Sean Connery was finally (for now) saying goodbye to James Bond, and The Anderson Tapes is one of the movies that he frequently referred to as one of his favourites. Connery does a good job of dispelling all Bond memories early on (being sans toupee helps too!) and despite playing a character whose morals are ambiguous, you begin to root for him more as the story progresses and as more ornery characters are introduced.
Martin Balsam steals the movie for me as art dealer Tommy Haskins; a man so camp that he would make Mr Humphries blush. I loved his character arc from flamboyant art house owner, through to compliant and resourceful thief, culminating in…well, you’ll have watch and find out. He had me in hysterics with just one look on his face when a certain apartment door opens.
Christopher Walken is featured, albeit all too briefly, in a very early role and already displays the screen presence that has only magnified during subsequent years. While I’m on the subject of screen presence it is only fitting that I mention Ralph Meeker who plays the superbly named ‘Iron Balls’ Delaney; a police chief who dishes out his dialogue in a manner that not only chews up the scenery but I’m sure put the cast and crew in danger of being consumed too! A truly unforgettable performance.
The Anderson Tapes is neither Lumet’s or Connery’s best cinematic output (coincidentally my favourite is The Hill from their collaboration 6 years previous) but when talking about 2 people whose careers are so enduring, that is certainly not to say that it is by any means a bad movie. It has a compelling storyline which is enhanced by not only seeing the events unfold from the heist members point of view, you also get to see the authorities follow their every move through some slick intercutting which heightens the thrilling climax in the apartment building as you know that there is an inevitable confrontation incoming at any moment.
The Quincy Jones electronic score gives an almost futuristic feel at times, though I have to admit that I found it a little over powering on more than one occasion.
The special features are good and include an interesting and informative commentary track by Glenn Kenny. One of my favourite aspects of these releases from Powerhouse Films are their limited edition 24 page booklets and once again this is included…so get your orders in fast before they sell out!
A solid heist movie that will have you hooked until the very end.
The Anderson Tapes will be available to buy from 27th February, 2017.
INDICATOR LIMITED EDITION SPECIAL FEATURES:
• High Definition remaster
• Original mono audio
• New audio commentary by Glenn Kenny
• Super 8 version (1975, 17 mins): original truncated home cinema presentation
• Original theatrical trailer
• Image gallery
• New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive 24-page booklet with a new essay by Thirza Wakefield, an archive review, Sidney Lumet on The Anderson Tapes, and a new look at the source novel
• UK Blu-ray premiere
• Limited Dual Format Edition of 3,000 copies
Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Powerhouse Films.