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
All of the KGB characters shown in uniform at the beginning of the film are "out of uniform." Although Borzov, Bronson's character, and the others are clearly meant to be in the KGB, the uniforms they wear are trimmed in red, the color of the regular Soviet Army, not the KGB. During the era of the film KGB uniforms were trimmed in Royal Blue. Also, the uniforms in the film lack the distinctive "Sword and Shield" patch worn by KGB officers on their jacket and coat sleeves. See more »
A fine action thriller, despite its incredible storyline
One effect of watching this one is that you will always read Frost's "Stopping By Woods" from a very different point of view.
No question, there's a whole lot of good acting in Don Siegel's "Telefon" (from Tyne Daly, for instance), but the story, from Walter Wager's novel, is, at least partly, ridiculous. Criticism of international secret policy comes off o.k., claiming that what intelligence agencies have always lacked most is intelligence. But it's more about suspense and action; especially the blowing up of a whole valley is staged with Siegel's dynamic perfection routine.
The film has got Charles Bronson in its center and he does his usual fine job as an ultra-cool Soviet major smuggled into the U.S. in order to exterminate a fellow KGB agent (Donald Pleasence) who has gone crazy there and is now endangering the whole Cold War balance system.
Please note the important rôle telephones play throughout the whole film, not just for Pleasence's ambitions. And watch out for Roy Jenson as his last victim, a man who has played lots of minor parts in major movies. - And don't forget listen to the film, as Lalo Schifrin's score is very fascinating once again.
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