Harry Caul is a devout Catholic and a lover of jazz music who plays his saxophone while listening to his jazz records. He is a San Francisco-based electronic surveillance expert who owns and operates his own small surveillance business. He is renowned within the profession as being the best, one who designs and constructs his own surveillance equipment. He is an intensely private and solitary man in both his personal and professional life, which especially irks Stan, his business associate who often feels shut out of what is happening with their work. This privacy, which includes not letting anyone into his apartment and always telephoning his clients from pay phones is, in part, intended to control what happens around him. His and Stan's latest job (a difficult one) is to record the private discussion of a young couple meeting in crowded and noisy Union Square. The arrangement with his client, known only to him as "the director", is to provide the audio recording of the discussion ...Written by
Francis Ford Coppola has cited Blow-Up (1966) as a key influence on his conceptualization of the film's themes, such as surveillance versus participation, and perception versus reality. See more »
Partygoers ride Stan's scooter around Caul's loft, but Stan had taken the scooter when he quit the day before. Stan came to the party in the car with everyone else so the scooter would not have been there. See more »
Well, I want to go over to my place and start, you know, getting it on...
Oh, that's terrible.
Yeah. Do you ever, uh... ballet?
Be thankful. Do you have a quarter for them?
Yes, I do.
[gives it to street band]
What about me?
A lot of fun you are. You're supposed to tease me, give hints, make me guess, you know.
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Ingenious and mesmerizing little art film from producer-writer-director Francis Ford Coppola, just off "The Godfather Part II" and doing astounding, fluid work. Gene Hackman gives a superbly controlled performance as a wire-tapper who gets too involved in one of his cases, leaving him in the center of a macabre swirl of events. One of those quiet movies that fans of today's blockbusters probably won't appreciate; it tells us quite a lot about the main character without actually saying much at all, so assured are the visuals. It ends on a chilling note that leaves the protagonist alienated from his life, but Coppola is careful never to alienate his audience. Coppola received Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Screenplay; Hackman deserved a nod as Best Actor but was shamefully overlooked. Their film is a winner. ***1/2 from ****
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