Over the years, I've somehow managed to miss The Anderson Tapes, a 1971 film directed by the gifted Sidney Lumet, and based on a novel by Lawrence Sanders. It's a heist movie starring Sean Connery at the peak of his powers, and I've long been familiar with the excellent theme tune by Quincy Jones. Finally, I managed to catch up with it, thanks to the admirable Talking Pictures TV.
It's apparent that Lumet was trying to do something more than direct a straightforward film about a robbery. This is a story, in part, about covert surveillance, and it pre-dates The Conversation, which is my favourite movie about surveillance, a genuine masterpiece. At the start of the film, Connery is released from prison. He is an angry man, who immediately reunites with his girlfriend, Dyan Cannon, who is being maintained by another lover in a posh apartment block. Connery decides to rob her fellow residents.
The trouble is that this is a two-hour film with barely ninety minutes of material. Lumet's approach may have been cutting-edge in its day, but it seems to me to have dated, and this film is much less effective, in my opinion, than some of his other work. I am a Connery fan, but I never warmed to his character, and the heist seemed to me to be hopelessly protracted, and so obviously doomed to failure that tension faded.
Even Quincy Jones' soundtrack seems, to a modern ear, to be intrusive and occasionally a bit irksome, despite the quality of that theme. The ending is meant to be ironic, but I'm afraid that by that stage, I didn't really care too much. You'll have gathered that I was disappointed by this one. Maybe it's a case of having had expectations that were too high. But in my opinion, it's nothing like as good as The Conversation.