The KGB is looking for one of their people, a man named Dalchimsky because he has stolen something important but, unfortunately, he manages to get through the border. Later in the U.S. some seemingly ordinary people after receiving a phone call go out and destroy key American military installations. Back in the U.S.S.R. General Strelsky and Colonel Malchenko send for Grigori Borzov, a KGB agent who has been to the U.S. on missions before. They inform him that after the U-2 incident in fear of the possibility that a war with the U.S. will occur; they were part of an operation called TELEFON that involved recruiting young agents and then brainwashing them into believing that they are Americans. They would assume the identity of an American who died a long time ago and who would be their age now. They would be situated in a city that is near or where a key U.S. military installation is located. They were also programmed to destroy upon receiving the command phrase. They have been ...Written by
I was never a big Charles Bronson fan. His movies usually followed the same predictable patterns of revenge and violence with Bronson usually coming off dry and stiff. His performances were usually always one note.
Of the few films of his I have enjoyed (see also "The Mechanic" and "Hard Times") from that era, "Telefon is a surprisingly gripping thriller even though the story is downright silly at times. Bronson plays (and doesn't even begin to resemble) a KGB agent out to track a killer who have been brainwashed. One call from this guy and the reciting of some lines from a Frost poem and that person is hypnotized into going out and committing an act of violence that resembles terrorism in many cases. Donald Pleasance convincingly plays the bad guy and that, I think, is what makes the movie work. Pleasance is credible in the role, thus we fear him and route for Bronson to catch him. Also on hand is Lee Remick as an American agent assigned to help Bronson but who also has a hidden agenda of her own.
Director Don Seigel handles the silly material in a straightforward manner never taking things too seriously. Bronson is less stiff then usual and the action scenes are well done. The ending is a bit abrupt but that is minor nit picking. It's a silly thriller I enjoyed and, if you are a Bronson fan, I am sure you will enjoy it too.
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