Bluray Review – The Anderson Tapes (1971)

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There’s no messing about with this film or its characters. The Anderson of the title (Sean Connery) finishes up his 10 year sentence for a previous crime, turns up on the front doorstep of an old flame (Dyan Cannon), takes one look at the plush residence she lives in and announces that he’s going to rip the place off. I mean the whole building. At once.

In the 10 years he’s been away technology has become king and cameras, audio and video surveillance, and more are apparent in almost every scene, which (along with Quincy Jones’ weird electronic score) dates this firmly to a seventies’ time capsule, as does Connery’s sexist view of women and the amusing but decidedly un-PC gay antique dealer played with flair by Martin Balsam with more than a passing resemblance to Liberace.

It’s delightfully brusque in its manner. This is a career criminal who has no qualms about burgling and robbing people with the ends and means of doing so all worked out in his head. He doesn’t have any sympathy or remorse for the people he’s doing it to and yet, and this is perhaps the neatest trick that The Anderson Tapes pulls off, he isn’t some completely charmless bastard either. He doesn’t like violence and wod rather not use it, but he’s not averse to getting one of his goons to rough someone up if it’s necessary.

The plot trades neatly on the decade’s paranoia, being just after Watergate, and has a definite feel of sleaze as well as style. Lumet and Connery were obviously close collaborators who sparked off each other and brought out the best; prior to this was ‘The Hill‘ and ‘The Offence‘ was to come. Away from the straightjacket of 007, Connery is more relaxed, more charming, more realistic.

The very stripped back extras package includes a commentary with critic Glenn Kenny, a 16 minute Super 8 version of the film, which I’m not quite sure the point is, and a trailer/stills gallery.

I somewhat prefer commentaries from critics as opposed to filmmakers because they sometimes have a more broad knowledge of other things, other than the actual movie. This one is very interesting, at points he reads out parts of Lumet’s notes from making of the film.

Peter Fletcher

Action, crime, thriller |USA, 1971 | 15 | 27th February 2017 (UK) | Powerhouse Films | Dir.Sidney Lumet | Sean Connery, Dyan Cannon, Martin Balsam, Ralph Meeker | Buy:The Anderson Tapes [Blu Ray]