Review: ‘The Anderson Tapes’

Sean Connery plays an ex-con who schemes to burglarize an entire apartment house on Manhattan's plush upper East Side. With backing from a new breed of organized mobster, led by Alan King, Connery recruits a band of diverse helpmates ranging from a homosexual antique dealer (Martin Balsam) to a fellow ex-con just released after 40 years in prison (Stan Gottlieb).

Sean Connery plays an ex-con who schemes to burglarize an entire apartment house on Manhattan’s plush upper East Side. With backing from a new breed of organized mobster, led by Alan King, Connery recruits a band of diverse helpmates ranging from a homosexual antique dealer (Martin Balsam) to a fellow ex-con just released after 40 years in prison (Stan Gottlieb).

Overriding the machinations of the plot are the Anderson tapes themselves. Lawrence Sanders’ novel was composed of snippets of surreptitious recordings compiled by local police, FBI agents, private investigators, treasury spies, etc., all snooping on the activities for various reasons, and all unable to piece together what they re overhearing.

Scripter Frank Pierson with director Sidney Lumet has injected broadly comic aspects and the laughs work without reducing suspense.

Essentially miscast but trying mightily to keep his accent under control, Connery’s presence is strong. As a high priced mistress, frigid until Connery melts her, Dyan Cannon has little to do but look appetizing.

With the flashiest role, Martin Balsam swishes off with the honors, although gay activists will take umbrage at the abundance of conventional fag jokes.

The Anderson Tapes

Production

Columbia. Director Sidney Lumet; Producer Robert M. Weitman; Writer Frank R. Pierson; Camera Arthur J. Ornitz Editor Joanne Burke; Music Quincy Jones Art Benjamin J. Kasazkow

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1971. Running time: 98 MIN.

With

Sean Connery Dyan Cannon Martin Balsam Alan King Ralph Meeker Christopher Walken
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