HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
Bloodthirsty
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Demonic
Night Drive
Luca
Prospect
Toll, The
Last Bus, The
Purple Sea
   
 
Newest Articles
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
   
 
  Telefon Miles To Go Before You Sleep
Year: 1977
Director: Don Siegel
Stars: Charles Bronson, Lee Remick, Donald Pleasence, Tyne Daly, Alan Badel, Patrick Magee, Sheree North, Frank Marth, Helen Page Camp, Roy Jenson, Jacqueline Scott, Ed Bakey, John Mitchum, Iggie Wolfington, Hank Brandt, John Carter, Burton Gilliam
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Moscow, early January, and the Soviet authorities are clamping down on the Stalinists in an attempt to thaw the Cold War - not that this makes the powers that be much more liberal. Yet one of the officials their operation is designed to take out goes missing when they send soldiers over to dispose of him, and nobody seems to know where he has gone. Soon they will know: Nicolai Dalchimsky (Donald Pleasence) has escaped to America, though not to defect. He has the details of some 51 Soviet agents in that country, so secret that even they don't know they are agents - or, for that matter, human time bombs...

It's an indication of how daft Telefon is that it relies heavily on the Hollywood version of hypnosis to keep its plot moving steadily forward, and such is that faith in the practice that here it can induce its victims to not only commit suicide, but murder and cause untold mayhem as well. On the other hand, it's an indication of how skillfully and briskly this is handled by director Don Siegel that you're happy to accept any amount of absurdity when he can keep the tension ticking over, exploiting the concerns between East and West which were still very much valid at the time this was made.

What Dalchimsky is planning is to take those deep cover agents and use them to spark World War Three, but in a pleasing touch he's a couple of decades out of date with his targets. The agents have been in place so long that they have made lives for themselves as everyday Americans, oblivious to the deadly intentions of their bosses who have almost forgotten about them until they begin to, say, crash a truck full of explosives into an army base. A base which no longer holds the target, needless to say. Their missions are set off by a telephone call where Dalchimsky recites them a few lines of a Robert Frost poem, acting as the trigger to send them on their dangerous way.

But wait, I hear you ask, isn't this supposed to be a Charles Bronson movie? Worry not, for he is in this even if he doesn't appear until the film is twenty minutes in, and even then his screen time is surprisingly limited. Siegel was a fan of Bronson, and had the confidence to see that his character need not be present for the entire running time if we knew he was out there somewhere, tracking the menace to society down, although he does not pull his gun until the final half hour. So this is not your usual vehicle for the star, but he does make a pretty good KGB man although a Russian accent doesn't seem to have been of great importance to him.

He's undoubtedly a more convincing agent than his partner when he reaches the U.S.A., one Barbara, played by Lee Remick with such sunny disposition that Bronson's Major Borzov tells her to stop being so cheerful. But then, I suppose the ones you would least suspect of being an agent are the ones doing their jobs the most effectively. Anyway, they make a curious couple as they hunt down Dalchimsky, and some of the best sequences have him contacting the unwitting killers (including housewife Sheree North), followed by their attempts at causing chaos. Somewhat unnecessary are the parts with a seriously understaffed C.I.A., where boffin Tyne Daly taps away at her supercomputer to work out where the danger will strike next - these really come across as padding as they have little bearing on the outcome. So if this is no Manchurian Candidate, it is a neat and novel Cold War suspense item if you can suspend your disbelief, and even if you cannot, it's still enjoyable. Music by Lalo Schifrin.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3180 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Don Siegel  (1912 - 1991)

Respected American director, a former editor, whose action thrillers were second to none. He started out in lower budget movies like The Big Steal, Riot in Cell Bock 11 and The Lineup but come the sixties he started making higher profile work such as the remake of The Killers and Madigan. His fruitful partnership with Clint Eastwood gave us Dirty Harry and Escape from Alcatraz, among others. Another of his finest 1970s films was Charley Varrick.

Siegel had small acting roles in Play Misty for Me and Philip Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers - he had directed the classic original in the 1950s.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Jason Cook
Darren Jones
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: