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Plot:

The KGB is looking for one of their people, a man named Dalchimsky because he has stolen something important but, unfortunately, he manages to get through the border. Later in the U.S. some seemingly ordinary people after receiving a phone call go out and destroy key American military installations. Back in the U.S.S.R. General Strelsky and Colonel Malchenko send for Grigori Borzov, a KGB agent who has been to the U.S. on missions before. They inform him that after the U-2 incident in fear of the possibility that a war with the U.S. will occur; they were part of an operation called TELEFON that involved recruiting young agents and then brainwashing them into believing that they are Americans. They would assume the identity of an American who died a long time ago and who would be their age now. They would be situated in a city that is near or where a key U.S. military installation is located. They were also programmed to destroy upon receiving the command phrase. They have been fortunate that they have never had to send them on their missions. But they believe that Dalchimsky stole the book that lists all the TELEFON agents and is now sending them out on their suicide missions. It also seems that the current KGB Chairman is unaware of TELEFON so Strelsky and Malchenko want Borzov to go to America and find Dalchimsky before he starts World War 3. Borzov, who is endowed with a photographic memory, memorizes the second TELEFON book and goes to America and is aided by Barbara.

Also Known As: O Telefone, Telefone, Ο κόκκινος πράκτωρ, Operación Telefon, Телефон Soviet, Telefon West, Teléfono, Телефон, Telefon, Un espion de trop, Telefonen, Puhelin

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  • avt-andil-valievi
    avt andil valievi

    this line from the poem by Frost was used by H. Schmidt, the German chancellor in his book with Stern from 2009. Maybe he wants to wake up sleepers in Europe. During interviews, he liked to read them, so people who watched the video or Television would be activated after being MK Ultra processed. This was being observed by some writers on the internet already.Then again, some supposed that Schmidt simply liked the movie back then (remember, the title’s language) and so came to read the poet Frost. But some stubborn conspiracy theorists still hang on the the MK Ultra / sleeper cell theory.

  • bryan-lopes
    bryan lopes

    For the most part, “Telefon” works like a well-oiled machine. It brings to mind the old saying “they don’t make them like they used to anymore”, as it takes its time to set up the (ingenious) story and build the relationship between the two central characters: Charles Bronson and Lee Remick have a genuine rapport, and Charlie in particular gives one of his best performances, both repeating his usual tough-and-taciturn persona and subtly having fun with it. On the side of the flaws, Tyne Daly is cute as a computer expert but her scenes don’t amount to much, and there is an inexplicable scene near the end where Bronson deliberately “triggers” a sleeper Russian agent (instead of protecting him, or sending him away, or hell, even just knocking him out for a while) and then, of course, he has to kill him. I have never understood what he was hoping to accomplish there. Anyway, despite its flaws, “Telefon” is an above-average Bronson vehicle. **1/2 out of 4.

  • frau-margitta-junck-b-a
    frau margitta junck b a

    No-nonsense Russian agent Major Grigori Borvoz (a credible performance by Charles Bronson) gets assigned to stop deranged renegade Stalinist defector Nicolai Dalchimsky (the always reliable Donald Pleasence in fine sinister form) from carrying out his nefarious plan to trigger brainwashed sleeper undercover agents hidden throughout America from committing extreme acts of terrorism.Director Don Siegel keeps the far-fetched, but still engrossing and exciting story moving at a steady pace, makes neat use of numerous exotic locations, and stages the action scenes with his trademark skill and aplomb. Lee Remick adds plenty of charm and vitality as cheery and helpful American agent Barbara. Tyne Daly likewise delights as spunky computer whiz Dorothy Putterman. Moreover, there are sound supporting contributions from Sheree North as harried housewife Marie Wills, Patrick Magee as the stern General Strelsky, Frank Marth as shady CIA head honcho Harley Sandburg, John Mitchum as amiable mechanic Harry Bascom, Roy Jenson as the hearty Doug Stark, and Jacqueline Scott as the shrewish Mrs. Hassler. The depiction of the sleeper agents as plain everyday folks gives this picture an extra chilling edge. Lalo Schifrin’s robust score does the rousing trick. Michael C. Butler’s slick cinematography provides a pleasing polished look. A fun film.

  • kiss-erzsebet
    kiss erzsebet

    Riveting political thriller. Bronson plays a Russian intelligence major assigned to stop programmed Stalinist agents from carrying out a possible doomsday plan. Bronson’s a member of a reformist wing of the Soviet Communist Party that has replaced hardline Stalinists. However, the earlier doomsday plan remains in effect, and now it’s being executed in the US by a renegade Soviet agent (Pleasance). Fortunately for Bronson, the winsome Remick is assigned by Soviets to assist him. Problem is if Pleasance is not stopped he could well set off a nuclear catastrophe.The movie has two elements from earlier Cold War films: The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Dr. Strangelove (1964). Like Laurence Harvey in the former, agents here are programmed by trigger words to carry out their mission in robotic fashion. At the same time, there’s the overhang of a possible doomsday as in Strangelove. Here those elements are skillfully blended to build suspense.What really distinguishes the film, however, is an overall absence of Cold War good guys and bad guys. There’s really only one villain, the unreformed Stalinist. Unlike 50’s Cold War films, this one treats operatives of both sides strictly as professionals doing their duty without noticeable favorites. One possible exception is Remick. Despite her coy girlish manner, she’s also been assigned to eliminate partner Bronson once he succeeds in killing Pleasance. That way, no one will be left to spill the beans about the aborted plan and embarrass the new Soviet regime. So Bronson is to be rewarded by his superiors with death. Maybe that’s a good enough reason, but not unarguably so. Meanwhile, Bronson’s his usual steely self, while Remick plays up the girlish appearance, leaving us to guess how much of a façade it is. But stealing the show is Tyne Daly as the plain-looking brain behind the American side. Her superiors appear rather addled much of the time, while she deftly maneuvers clues behind her bank of computers. Good touch. Most of the action comes from explosions that blow up real good. I don’t know how they did them in 1977, but they’re impressive as heck.Anyway, the movie suggests a possible waning of Cold War passions on our side, perhaps because of growing recognition of what a nuclear exchange would entail. Be that as it may, the movie remains a taut and under-rated political thriller, helmed by the masterful Don Siegel.

  • christopher-anderson
    christopher anderson

    The other side is the good side in this ingenious thriller which also benefits from an extensive use of real locations. The screenplay, however, is somewhat thin on characterization. The narrative is fleshed out with two plots which only come together via the odd telephone call. Nonetheless, the pace is brisk and there is plenty of boom-boom action.Constant changes of locale also keep our attention focused. All in all, the film is reasonably enjoyable for those of us who don’t pay too much attention on the dopey plot and are just along for the ride.The ever-reliable Pat Magree presents us with a brief but enjoyably hammy performance. Badel, however, is reduced to stooging. Donald Pleasense is not presented with many opportunities for fine acting either, even though his role is comparatively large.!

  • georgel-ardelean
    georgel ardelean

    Slow moving with a laconic Bronson taking his sweet time doing much of anything. There is zero chemistry between the leads and the ending is lame.

  • joao-vitor-araujo
    joao vitor araujo

    **SPOILERS** Whatever made high ranking KBG office clerk Nicolai Dalchimsky, Donald Pleasence,go off the deep end is never really explained in the movie “Telefon. Judging from the pad-or apartment- the Soviet Government provided Dalchimsky and his mother, Anas Ikonen, the two are living in luxury in that it’s as big as a suite in the Park Plaza or Waldorf Astoria hotel that could cost as much as $3,000.00 for a nights stay! Dalchimsky also travels first class all throughout the movie all over the USA making you wonder if the evil and anti-Capitalistic Soviet System, who paid his salary, isn’t quite as bad as its made out to be!Dalchimsky somehow got a hold of the names of some 50 Soviet Agents in the US who were planted there at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis back in 1962. What’s even worse Dalchisky has the code name for each agent that if he or she is told what it is will set them of to, like a bunch of mindless suicide bombers, blow themselves up together with the US military installations they were programed to destroy!Both the KGB and CIA work together in “Telefon” to stop Dalchimsky’s madness by getting their two top agents Major Gigori Borzov, Charles Bronson, and Agent Barbara, Lee Remic, to both work together in stopping him. What’s even worse then Dalchmsky’s mad rush to ignite WWIII is that the present premier of the USSR is totally unaware of the secret suicide-bomber agents planted in the US! Which may well lead to a firing squad or a life long stay at a Soviet gulag for those, Borzov’s superiors, responsible for them if he ever found out! Both Brozov and Barbara are driven around in circles by the clever but dangerously insane Dalchimsky who uses those underground Soviet agents, who are now hard working and law abiding American citizens, to cause havoc all over the US. Dalchimsky even went as far as having some two dozen top Soviet military and KGB personnel knocked offed which originally alerted the CIA with the help of their top computer whiz Dorothy Pullerman, Tyne Daly, of just what he’s up to!***SPOILERS From This Point On**** The movie has Brozov and Brabara, posing as man and wife, chasing the slippery Dalchimsky from one major US city to another until they finally track the crazed psycho down in this little out of the way town in Texas. It’s there that Dalchimsky’s luck finally runs out but only after he, with the help of the Soviet underground agents, destroyed a good portion of the US economy.Charles Bronson being himself of Eastern European-Lithuanian Polish- descent is very convincing as Soviet KGB Agent Grigori Borzov. Bronson is given more lines in the movie then he usually has which makes his acting far more creditable with him not having to work over or gun down some dozen bad guys to keep him focused. The beautiful Lee Remic as US CIA Agent Barbara more then holds her own as Bronson’s, or Borzov, partner. Barbara is under orders from her boss at the CIA Harley Sandburg, Frank March, to knock Borzov off once he completes his mission in terminating the out of control Nicolia Dalchimsky. It’s in the final moments of the film that both Borzov and Barbara pull off the Big Switch! In them not following their bosses,in the CIA & KGB, orders in having them “come in” and-unknown to them-be terminated for the good job that they did. To also insure that the both CIA and KGB doesn’t get any bright ideas, in offing them, Borzov & Barbara also destroy the list of the remaining Soviet Agents! Making it both impossible to find and terminate as well has having them being activated by a future malcontent and nut case like Nicolia Dalchimsky.

  • mathilde-henriette-colin
    mathilde henriette colin

    We have heard about the Governments experimenting on Mind Control and super soldiers. Some similarities exit hear only it is from Russia!. The story will grip you as to how some entirely unsuspecting people are used in this manner. Conspriacy Theory is ever so true as today. The movie moves at nice pace and if you are not a spy movie fan, you will find that at times it is slow as real life is sometimes. I’ve liked this movie from the first time I saw it those many years ago. It has been very hard to find on video/DVD. I recommend that you give this a watch. If you liked “Three Days of Condor” you will enjoy this movie also. Check out you mind and see what you might find!!!

  • petar-zagar
    petar zagar

    After unsuccessfully attempting to take over the Soviet government, a group of hard-core Stalinists are killed in a purge within a two week period. Fearing for his life, one particular member of this group, “Nicolai Dalchimsky” (Donald Pleasance) manages to escape to the United States. In his possession is a top secret plan developed 15 years earlier involving deep-cover sleeper agents who have been put under drug induced hypnosis and can be activated by a two-part code. His intention is to trigger these agents to set off a chain reaction of explosions throughout the United States in order to start World War 3. Wanting to stop him at all costs, the KGB sends one of their top agents, “Major Grigori Borzov” (Charles Bronson) to the United States with orders to kill Dalchimsky before he can accomplish this scheme. Assisting Major Borzov is a beautiful double agent by the name of “Barbara” (Lee Remick) who has orders to kill Major Borzov as soon as he accomplishes his top-secret mission. Anyway, for those who enjoy a clever action-packed spy drama this one should please most viewers. Charles Bronson gives one of his better performances and Lee Remick adds some fairly nice scenery as well. Definitely worth a watch. Above average.

  • tiffany-boyd
    tiffany boyd

    Telefon was an interesting film. Bronson’s character and the unique position which he is put in I thought was original. Telefon is a good movie, but sometimes you feel as if it just can’t keep a decent pace. It felt to me as if the movie were just dragging sometimes.Also, Bronson never once speaks with a Russian accent, not even when he was in Russia! I mean c’mon, that was kind of lame. The film has a lot of good things going for it, like a great plot. Overall I found it to be a good, non-typical Bronson flick.

  • anita-do-lima
    anita do lima

    Charles Bronson plays a KGB agent with a mission to stop deranged (whatelse?) Donald Pleasence from setting off a group of terrorists attacks by activating brain-washed agents via the telephone. It is certainly not the worst way to spend a couple of hours. The plot is a little shaky and ultimately the ending leaves a little bit to be desired, but Bronson is believable enough. Lee Remick plays his secret agent partner. Remick was always a very underrated actress in my opinion, so it was nice to see one of her movies. Pleasence is exactly what you would expect out of him in his later years. The CIA agents are throwaways, even with super-smart computer whiz Tyne Daly on their side. All in all it is not the most memorable of the cold war spy thrillers, but a long cry from the worst.

  • nikoloz-valievi
    nikoloz valievi

    Charles Bronson, (Maj. Grigori Borzov),”Twinky”,’69 played a Russian KGB agent who was assigned to stop a possible World Ward III with the United States. Many years back there was a secret plan called “Telefon” which had a mysterious ability to capture a person’s brain and set them off in all kinds of destructive evil deeds. Lee Remick,(Barbara),”No Way to Treat A Lady”,’68, played the role of an agent for the United States and was assigned to work with Maj. Grigori. Barbara tries to turn Grigori on by all kinds of advances towards his manhood, but he is like a cold fish and strictly doing his assignment given him by the KGB. Donald Pleasance,(Nicolae Dolchinsky),”The House of Usher”,’88, plays his usual role of the evil character who starts all kinds of trouble by just simply making telephone calls. Bronson and Remick were a great team together, however, the ending turned out completely different than what I had thought it would have ended.

  • berksay-yildirim
    berksay yildirim

    Nicolai Dalchimski, a now rogue secret agent for KGB has stolen an important notebook which has the names and phone numbers of sleeping undercover KGB agents living in America. Under hypnosis they were given instructions, that when they hear a certain poem resided it triggers them to unknowingly act upon their mission which is a suicidal act on mainly military targets. Dalchimski heads to America to begin the process, so the Soviets send Colonel Borzov over there to put a stop to it before it causes a world war three.A curiously low-key, but plodding espionage cold war thriller (taken off Walter Wager’s novel) by stalwart director Don Siegel. I’m really caught here, as the plot remains stimulating due to the novelty of its new slant (involving a KGB assignment of brainwashed sleepers living in the USA, who could be used to destroy an important target when a certain quote is mentioned to them), but I found it durably grinding than excitingly gripping. There was so much opportunity arising from the situations to the let the tension gradually build-up (as the concept is an alarming one), but despite some tight drilling set-pieces it never manages to tie them together to create a rampant urgency throughout. It’s quite a spotty cross-country trip (spending a lot of time with Charles Bronson and Lee Remick), which gathers a head of steam before letting go the in the final third when the two parties finally come to blows (some underground car parking) and then delivering a well-staged, but underwhelming climax.The plot-work (by Peter Hyams and Stirling Silliphant) is quite constructive (if outrageous) with its sober script consisting of humorous quirks, but Siegel’s efficiently grounded direction tries to cleverly milk out the dramatic suspense, but is forced to sourcing the material in an mechanical fashion. Although Pleasance’s phone calls of stating Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods” to trigger of the sleepers are eerily achieved. Those familiar with his work though would come to appreciate the use of the well positioned camera (photographed by Michael Butler), from the leering frames to the long, expansive shots of the surrounding backdrops. Siegel truly had an eye for those details. The music was composed by no other Lalo Schifrin (who’s done quite a few scores for Siegel — “Dirty Harry” (1971) comes to mind), as he chips in with an engrossingly simmering and characteristic score that works with its dangerous tone.The performances are acceptably spot-on with a sturdy as ever Charles Bronson and Lee Remick shines with her affable presence. The two worked together very fittingly, but sometimes their moody interludes did take away from the bigger picture. Donald Pleasance gleefully turns it up as the rogue Russian agent, but in the end I wished there was a little more to his character. Patrick Magee, Sheree North, Jacqueline Scott also show up good support roles and Tyne Daly appears in something of a disposable character, well for laughs anyway. The way she was brought in, I thought there might have been more made of it. Also if you look at the cast there are some regulars, if only used in small parts that feature in other Bronson and Clint Eastwood films… with the likes of character actors Ed Bakey, John Mitchum and Roy Jenson.Hypnotically established gear work that’s leisurely paced, but bestows little to no fireworks.

  • lisa-aguirre
    lisa aguirre

    “Telefon” isn’t exactly the most plausible espionage thriller ever made, but it was particularly the far-fetched and flamboyant plot line, along with the acting performances and harsh violence, that kept me glued to the screen. “Telefon” is the codename for an old Soviet war incentive against the US. Years ago, during the peak years of the Cold War, 51 Russian secret agents were strategically placed all over America. They were instructed to build up regular lives, however, reciting a specific piece from Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” triggers some kind of hypnotic effect that turns them into unstoppable kamikaze soldiers with sabotaging assignments. The “Telefon” project got pretty much forgotten during the détente era, but now the dangerously berserk Stalinist Nicolai Dalchimsky single-handedly decide to awake the “sleeper” agents and leave a trail of destruction throughout America. Moscow headquarters’ only chance to prevent World War III from happening is to send Major Grigori Borzov, who’s loyal as a dog and has a photographic memory, to the US and eliminate Dalchimsky. You got to admit the idea behind “Telefon”, which is based on a best-selling novel, is crazy enough to provide 100 minutes of grotesque and exhilarating action. In fact, the action and the extended imaginative sabotaging operations are what matter most here, as the rest of the script is full of ineptness and holes. The film hastily jumps from one wrecking sequence to the next without bothering to explain the background of the “Telefon” project or the motives of the culprit. Donald Pleasance, who portrays the evil Dalchimsky, is terribly underused because the screenplay never once bothers to elaborate on his malignant plans. This could have been a great role for Pleasance, but now it’s just another villainous character like he has depicted dozens and dozens already. Charles Bronson is at his best, since he doesn’t have to speak any more than absolutely necessary, but nevertheless acts forceful and confident. Don Siegel’s direction is surprisingly pedestrian and distant, which isn’t normal for him. Still, “Telefon” is good solid Charlie Bronson entertainment with a totally bonkers plot line!

  • carla-roach
    carla roach

    I was never a big Charles Bronson fan. His movies usually followed the same predictable patterns of revenge and violence with Bronson usually coming off dry and stiff. His performances were usually always one note.Of the few films of his I have enjoyed (see also “The Mechanic” and “Hard Times”) from that era, “Telefon is a surprisingly gripping thriller even though the story is downright silly at times. Bronson plays (and doesn’t even begin to resemble) a KGB agent out to track a killer who have been brainwashed. One call from this guy and the reciting of some lines from a Frost poem and that person is hypnotized into going out and committing an act of violence that resembles terrorism in many cases. Donald Pleasance convincingly plays the bad guy and that, I think, is what makes the movie work. Pleasance is credible in the role, thus we fear him and route for Bronson to catch him. Also on hand is Lee Remick as an American agent assigned to help Bronson but who also has a hidden agenda of her own.Director Don Seigel handles the silly material in a straightforward manner never taking things too seriously. Bronson is less stiff then usual and the action scenes are well done. The ending is a bit abrupt but that is minor nit picking. It’s a silly thriller I enjoyed and, if you are a Bronson fan, I am sure you will enjoy it too.

  • horvath-ferencne-bogdan-noemi
    horvath ferencne bogdan noemi

    The radical Russian Nicolai Dalchimsky (Donald Pleasence) steals some names and codes and flees to the United States of America with the intention of beginning the Third World War. The list is formed by ordinary American citizens that are actually brainwashed Russian agents that have been programmed fifteen years ago to destroy military bases and facilities and are triggered through a phone call with a message. The responsible for the secret program, General Strelsky (Oatrick Magee) and Colonel Malchenko (Alan Badel) summon Major Grigori “Gregg” Borzov (Charles Bronson) to travel to the United States to eliminate Dalchimsky. Gregg teams up with the Russian agent Barbara (Lee Remick) that was instructed to obey his orders but does not know what is happening. But Barbara has a secret agenda from her superiors to accomplish by the end of their assignment. “Telefon” is presently a dated rip-off of the central idea of “The Manchurian Candidate”, with Russian agents with sleepy instructions and programmed to destroy but it is still engaging. Don Siegel was a master of action and “Telefon” never disappoints. My vote is seven.Title (Brazil): “O Telefone” (“The Telephone”)

  • dott-enzo-de-rosa
    dott enzo de rosa

    I’ve always liked this movie. But watching it now it is difficult not to laugh out loud at the ridiculous scenes featuring Tyne Daley and her “supercomputer.” This stuff was out of date when the film came out, relying on “Lost in Space” style simplicity.But that’s forgivable. What really kept the flick from really being a classic, however, is that it is totally missing the third act! The film ends abruptly with the villain, Dalchimsky, done away with in a fairly simple manner in the small town bar. In the novel, Dalchimsky is also killed in the bar, but not before passing along the coded message that set off the last “sleeper” who then proceeds to make his way to blow up Hoover Dam (or some big dam—can’t remember off the top of my head). Then Bronson and Remick’s characters had to race to stop the impending disaster. It was a big, exciting ending and I can’t understand why they left it out. Maybe they just didn’t have the budget. I think spending the dough it would have taken to include the book’s ending would have helped mitigate the low budget “TV Movie” feeling “Telefon” often suffers from. But producers knew that Bronson’s name would consistently pull a certain audience no matter what, so they rarely tried to do anything big in his films and he never insisted on it—a fact that eventually led to the decline of his career.

  • petrica-suciu
    petrica suciu

    This time around, Bronson is a Russian major sent to the USA to eliminate a renegade Stalinist who is activating human time bombs. It’s a kind of Manchurian Candidate times twelve. Bronson’s double-agent assistant is Lee Remick.The plot, though not hard to follow, is a bit intricate and involves the solution of several puzzles and a good deal of travel around the country, from Denver to Akron to Los Angeles to Cambridge (NM), to some dumpy bar in rural Texas with a rattlesnake in a cage. The series is designed to spell out the name of the villain, Dalchimsky, across a map of the USA. It’s not worth going into enough detail to explain exactly what that means. But I must add that I thought it was pretty rotten of the director to actually blow that rattlesnake’s head off for real, Crotalus atrox, a beautiful specimen. Where is PETA when you need them? And what do they have against snakes? Oh, sure, nobody would argue that rattlesnakes are as cuddly as French poodles or sea otters — but, still. Bronson is his usual self with his built-in swagger and mustache. He’s a Russian major and his hair looks styled by Mister Kenneth or something. And he’s completely incapable of projecting anxiety, let alone fear. Lee Remick was no longer a teenage baton twirler but she has the strangest, most appealing pair of pale blue eyes, surrounded by black circles, like Meg Ryan’s. And she too has a curious rolling gait, like a sailor’s. Neither Bronson nor Remich was ever a major star by Hollywood standards but they’re both engaging and it’s sad to think that they are now both history. I could never get with Donald Pleasance as an actor. He’s probably a fine man and loves his dog, but his shining dome and pop eyes become banal in a hurry. Sheree North in her small part gives a good impression of being an exuberantly sexy no-nonsense woman.The plot has its implausibilities. We kind of expect Bronson and Remick to wind up together somehow, and they do, but it comes out of nowhere. Bronson has heretofore done no more than smile at Remick, and that only once, when suddenly they get in the car and take off for a motel ten miles away. A couple of fireballs for the young at mind, but no car chases, no slow motion deaths (except for that disenfranchised rattler), and only one shooting. This is one of about two Bronson vehicles I look forward to seeing again. I’m not sure why. Schifrin’s music is no more than adequate. The photography is interesting, all of its colors drawn from the red end of the spectrum, all beige, gray, orange, and scarlet. Anyone in blue looks like a tramp at a Kandinsky exhibit. Maybe I like the irony of a Russian major trying to save the USA from being blown up.

  • made-lagzdins
    made lagzdins

    Telefon casts Charles Bronson as a KGB agent on assignment in America trying to stop Donald Pleasance from igniting World War III. Bronson is aided and abetted uneasily by CIA agent Lee Remick and the two of them get involved with each other as well as the mission at hand.It’s quite a mission they have, Pleasance is an old line Stalinist and he’s noticed the new regime is slowly doing away with his kind. So he knows about this operation involving 51 Manchurian candidates who are Russian sleeper agents the way Laurence Harvey was in the Manchurian Candidate. With the proper phrase these people who are under hypnosis and just living regular humdrum lives get a signal to complete a mission involving sabotage of some military installation in their area. Pleasance has come to America to set these agents off.It might have been a whole lot easier to just dial long distance once he was out of the Soviet Union, but apparently Pleasance is also getting a few jollies and really wants to see his handiwork. Bronson gets the list and follows Pleasance’s trail hoping to head him off.A nice cast of talented players pulls off and makes entertaining when you think about it, a really silly Cold War era story. Pleasance as usual pulls all the stops out as the villain and Bronson is his usual menacing self. His loyal legion of fans might like Telefon, I’m kind of partial to it myself, but I recognize it’s illogicality.

  • jan-simek
    jan simek

    This isn’t the most well-known movie in the world, so I really wonder if anyone realized that the Zucker/Zucker/Abrams team that made the original “Naked Gun” copied the whole idea of everyday people activated as assassins with bizarre catchphrases directly from this movie (remember the scene in which Ricardo Monalban “activates” his sweet elderly secretary, played coincidentally by the Zuckers’ own mother, to go on a shooting rampage). I have no doubt about it: I went to the U.S. premier of “Naked Gun 33 1/3” in Milwaukee (the hometown of myself and the filmmakers) at which David Zucker said that for each of their movies, they would copy plot lines directly from serious, sometimes obscure genre films like this. I thought of this movie immediately when I saw “Naked Gun” for the first time. When you think about it, the central idea of everyday people becoming murderous robots just by hearing a stanza from Robert Frost is pretty funny by itself, and the Zuckers milked all the absurdity they could from it.I have rather fond memories of watching this film when it was broadcast at odd hours on a local independent television station. The ideas this movie adapted from Walter Wager’s original novel were quite creative, but I recall the acting of everyone here to be pretty bad (especially leads Bronson and Remick). The old-fashioned ’70s computers, rotary phones, and Cold War ultra-seriousness further diminish its effectiveness. This isn’t the kind of movie MGM is probably anxious to reissue on a deluxe DVD – probably because its two stars and director are all deceased, but it is a reasonably entertaining film to catch on television.

  • ane-sikiric
    ane sikiric

    This movie is one of my favorites. Lee Remick and Charles Bronson were the perfect pair for this thriller. Donald Pleasance was also well casted. Who cares if a KGB uniform was not exactly correct as some people have commented on! When I see a movie I want to be entertained and this one had me on edge from beginning to end. Bravo! I would love to get a copy of this film as these type of movies are ones that you could watch over and over again. The chemistry of Lee Remick and Charles Bronson happened as soon as they laid eyes on each other and their performances were excellent. I was also intrigued by the surprise ending

  • chad-cox-dds
    chad cox dds

    Bronson and Remick make an unusual, but intriguing pair in this cold war suspense drama. He plays a KGB agent (with a notable American accent, attributed to his many trips to the U.S.!) who is sent to eliminate a renegade Stalinist who is wreaking havoc on various American military/industrial sites. The renegade (Pleasence) has unearthed a 15 year-old plot that the Soviets had put into place and then abandoned in which 51 agents were brainwashed into believing that they were Americans, but who can be reactivated through verbal command to complete their missions. Once they hear the key phrase (usually delivered to them over the telephone, hence the title), they single-mindedly go about blowing up whatever target was originally intended and then offing themselves. Bronson joins forces with CIA operative Remick, giving her limited information about the mission, but using her resources to reach his ends. The film becomes a sort of cross-country chase as the agent couple fight to either catch up to or stay ahead of Pleasence before he sets off another dormant killing machine. Logic and believability often take a backseat here with the premise itself being a little hard to swallow. However, the acting of the leads and the eeriness of the situation go a long way to cover up the problems with the plot. Bronson is his usual rather silent, tough self, but it works, especially against the more animated and sophisticated Remick. Her character is not always particularly credible, but she adds tastefulness to any film and can always be counted on for good reactions (her eyes captured more light than practically anyone before or since, except maybe Meg Foster.) There are some other decent performances in the film (such as Magee as a weary Russian general) but one that grates is Daly as a know-it-all CIA computer technician. Meant to be comic relief, she winds up more of a distraction and a point of irritation during a lot of her scenes. Pleasence has few lines and isn’t in the film a great deal, but manages to ham it up nonetheless with several unintentionally hilarious expressions and loopy disguises. Composer Schifrin provides an effective, Russian-tinged score for the film.

  • ronald-buck
    ronald buck

    This excellent spy thriller directed by action master Don Siegel unfortunately has a drab, aloof title that causes many to skip it for a more exciting-sounding tag. Even Charles Bronson fans, and they are legion, often ignore this little gem for others of the genre. Not only a dilly of a suspense story filled with some of Hollywood’s best actors at the time, “Telefon” also contains humor and many tongue-in-cheek lines. The Robert Frost poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” utilized to trigger the drug-induced hypnotized Soviet agents to finish their mission becomes a pun for KGB agent Maj. Grigori Borzov (Bronson)when ready to give alluring Barbara (Lee Remick) a tumble in the hay. Borzov looks KGB agent Barbara lustfully in the eyes and emphatically affirms, “Miles to go before we sleep.”Though many consider the story fanciful, it is not as far fetched as some of the actual schemes concocted by overly zealous CIA and KGB officials during the Cold War, especially at the time of the eyeball to eyeball confrontation between the Soviets and the Americans during the days of U-2, the Bay of Pigs, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The fifty KGB agents trained at the time of the U-2 Incident to replace recently deceased Americans with similar profiles, to take out key installation sites when receiving the oral code, lines from the Robert Frost poem, are put on what seems to be permanent hold until one KGB trainer goes berserk and reopens the can of worms over a decade later, when many of the installations have been closed, converted, or moved. Enter agents Borzov and his supposed helper, Barbara, to stop the madman, Nicolai Dalchimsky, played with his usual nefariousness by Donald Pleasence. Borzov uncovers a method to his madness and the fun begins. But what is to become of Borzov once Dalchimsky is removed? There’s plenty of spills and thrills along the way with the seasoned actors given intelligent and often humorous lines by writer Peter Hyams whose script is based on the novel by Walter Wager.Though no one in the cast falters, even in the bit parts, Tyne Daly steals the show as Dorothy Putterman (oh, how the name fits), a computer nerd in those glorious DOS days of old before the world heard of Bill Gates. Not only does Daly get some of the best lines in the movie, she delivers them with élan. She also reminds the viewer to be careful what is said to a computer, because they are very sensitive little fellers.

  • alan-kapciak
    alan kapciak

    If you look at the history of American Cold War films, you see they often, but not always reflect the current state of Western-Soviet relations. Many of the B-movies of the 1950’s reflected the anti-communist paranoia that existed stateside; and that decades’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (also directed by Don Siegel) brilliantly parodied McCarthyism. Now we find ourselves in the late 1970’s. Gone are Stalin and Kruschev – now we have Breznev and Nixon/Ford and Jimmy Carter and a gradual policy of rapprochement and cooling of tensions. In this film, neo-Stalinists are purged by the pro-Détente Soviet leadership. One such old guard agent, played by Donald Pleasance (who is always in fine form with these ‘oily’ character representations) decides to unleash an old Soviet conspiracy hatched by leaders in the 50’s and unknown to most of the current Soviet brass. I am not going to rehash the entire plot, but let it suffice to say that we have a top Soviet Army General (played by Charles Bronson who mercifully does not even attempt a Russian accent) working together with American double agent Lee Remick, to battle forces more sinister than the current leadership of either the US or the USSR. This truly is the movie that best reflects the détente political philosophy in vogue at this time.

  • daniel-baron
    daniel baron

    One effect of watching this one is that you will always read Frost’s “Stopping By Woods” from a very different point of view.No question, there’s a whole lot of good acting in Don Siegel’s “Telefon” (from Tyne Daly, for instance), but the story, from Walter Wager’s novel, is, at least partly, ridiculous. Criticism of international secret policy comes off o.k., claiming that what intelligence agencies have always lacked most is intelligence. But it’s more about suspense and action; especially the blowing up of a whole valley is staged with Siegel’s dynamic perfection routine. The film has got Charles Bronson in its center and he does his usual fine job as an ultra-cool Soviet major smuggled into the U.S. in order to exterminate a fellow KGB agent (Donald Pleasence) who has gone crazy there and is now endangering the whole Cold War balance system.Please note the important rôle telephones play throughout the whole film, not just for Pleasence’s ambitions. And watch out for Roy Jenson as his last victim, a man who has played lots of minor parts in major movies. – And don’t forget listen to the film, as Lalo Schifrin’s score is very fascinating once again.