Note #1: Throughout this retrospective I’ve referenced this interview with Pollack. I couldn’t find a place to reference it in this piece, so I figured I would put it up at the beginning.
Note #2: Many, many thanks to Odie, whose fresh look at this piece helped trim a lot of the fat. This was one of the first pieces I actually started working on when I decided to do a retrospective on Pollack, and I was dreading the due date because I knew I was nowhere close to finishing it since I found myself adding more and more every week. If I were rich, I would hire an editor for this blog because god knows I often need one. Thanks, Odie!
In 1975, Sydney Pollack released two movies that were polar opposites in tone and style. His first release that year was the Paul Schrader-penned The Yakuza – a violent tale of a begrudging partnership that was new territory for Pollack – and the second release was yet another vehicle with his favorite star (to that point) Robert Redford that tackled a popular theme of the mid-‘70s (paranoia), Three Days of the Condor. The former is something of a cult classic now and thought fondly by those that like the divergence in style and tone Pollack took in directing that film; however, the latter is the more popular (and one of the most popular of Pollack’s oeuvre) and the film that stays with me much more so than the former. Three Days of the Condor is not Pollack’s best film, but it’s one of my favorites in the way it sets up themes and tropes he would later tackle in films like The Firm (and in the films he acted in like Michael Clayton and Changing Lanes) and for what is probably my favorite performance that Redford gave Pollack.