Mark Terry

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Have You Read...

March 22, 2009

I'm writing an essay that will appear in a book next year, sponsored by International Thriller Writers, Inc. The book is about 100 must-read thrillers. Anyway, I was asked to write one about James Brady's "Six Days of the Condor," which I had read when I was a teenager, as well as seen the movie featuring Robert Redford. I'm currently re-reading the book.

Now, this might very well date everybody, I'm not sure, but have you read the book? Have you seen the movie? If so, what do you think?

Mark Terry


Blogger Jude Hardin said...

I've seen the movie several times. I think it's great. Never read the book.

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

I saw the movie, too, and loved it. We studied it in my high school film class. It has a classic plot structure, and is tightly drawn. I have not read the book, but maybe I should.

5:59 PM  
Blogger Stephen Parrish said...

I read the book and saw the movie, both soon after they were released. Although it's been a squillion years (and tastes mature and evolve) at the time I thought both were excellent.

The movie shortened the number of days over which the story took place. It's hard in retrospect to imagine the book spanning three days or the movie six, and I think there's a lesson there in how two different media require two different tempos.

Placing unprepared protagonists in unfamiliar situations certainly wasn't knew, but Condor is a textbook example. There's no way Condor should survive his ordeal, yet he does, and everything that happens seem plausible. Implausibility might be the one element in modern thrillers that turns the most people off.

10:41 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

There are probably a lot of reasons the book resonates. One is simply when it came out--1974 and the movie in 1975 (yes, that fast, before the book's paperback version came out). Watergate, the end of the Vietnam War, Nixon's resignation.

I was thinking 6 days made sense, but I finished the book and he actually spends about 2 days holed up in a hotel with the girl. By the way, here's an oddity: almost all the characters' names are changed from the book to the movie.

4:53 AM  
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11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like so many people, I saw the movie first and then read the novel. Both are compelling.
Who can forget Max Von Sydow as the quietly spoken and lethal assassin?
The novel pulled off so many tricks.
James Grady was following in the steps of Ambler, Le Carre, Deighton and Charles McCarry. But he gave us a fresh take.
His hero (played by Robert Redford) belonged to the Vietnam generation - a low-level intelligence operative who probably read Rolling Stone and listened to Dylan and Hendrix.
The book and movie were prophetic.
Cliff Robertson as the CIA boss defended the agency's actions. Unless America's oil needs are secured, he argues, people won't be able to heat their homes and will resort to civil unrest.
As a Brit I read the book and shortly afterwards purchased William Colby's autobiography of his life in the CIA, 'Honorable Men'. There is a balanced documentary on Colby on YouTube, written and directed by his son.
The film Three Days of the Condor was an ideal Christmas movie too.
I can still remember the closing notes of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, played out as Redford considers his very lonely future as the man who blew the whistle on the CIA.
J Haggerty

7:40 AM  

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