THE YAKUZA
1975, Warner Bros., 112 min, USA, Dir: Sydney Pollack

Sydney Pollack directs this potent, poignant thriller that blends American neo-noir and the then-peaking Japanese yakuza film genre. Robert Mitchum is a world-weary private eye who joins up with a taciturn kendo instructor (yakuza movie icon Ken Takakura), who has a wartime obligation to Mitchum. Likewise, Mitchum owes past wartime comrade Tanner (Brian Keith) a favor as well, and it’s a humdinger: Rescue Tanner’s kidnapped daughter in Japan. A labyrinthine plot is set in motion, and soon Mitchum and Takakura become embroiled in a horrifying series of double crosses and mixed signals that result in a trail of bloody retribution. Adapting the story by Leonard Schrader, Paul Schrader and Robert Towne wrote the moody screenplay. Co-starring Richard Jordan (THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE), Keiko Kishi, Herb Edelman, Eiji Okada. The sleek production design by Stephen B. Grimes not only evokes the spartan Japanese lifestyle but also amply reflects an atmosphere where cold, serpentine violence can strike from the darkness like a coiled viper. “Mitchum is at his laconic leaden-eyed best as the private eye who is forced to team up with a reformed criminal played by Takakura, an icon of the Japanese gangster genre … there are enough double-crosses to satisfy the most jaded fans of the genre.” – Channel 4 Film (U.K.)


THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR
1975, Paramount, 117 min, USA, Dir: Sydney Pollack

Robert Redford is a mild-mannered CIA clerk forced into action when he returns from a lunch break to find all of his co-workers dead. As he tries to discover the truth behind the murders, he finds himself on the run from assassins and engaged in an unlikely romance with Faye Dunaway in Pollack’s intricate, fast-paced political thriller, scripted by Lorenzo Semple Jr.


THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY?
1969, Walt Disney Co., 120 min, USA, Dir: Sydney Pollack

Based on the hard-boiled novel by Horace McCoy, director Sydney Pollack’s character study takes place during a claustrophobic, Depression-era dance marathon. Michael Sarrazin and Jane Fonda are the tragic couple determined to make it into the home stretch to win the much-needed prize money. With an Academy Award-winning performance by Gig Young as the marathon emcee. Co-starring Susannah York, Red Buttons, Bruce Dern, Severn Darden, and Al Lewis.


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