Thursday, January 20, 2011

Charles Bronson & Lee Remick in Telefon 1977

Another cold war thriller based on a novel, Telefon has a very interesting premise. Sleeper agents, planted in the USA, brainwashed to believe they're American citizens each have one mission of sabotage to perform. This program put in place by the Soviet government has been back burnered by a new, less militant regime. Enter Donald Pleasence, an idealistic lower level Soviet bureaucrat who doesn't like the new detente. He starts setting off these living time bombs, much to the chagrin of the Soviet government. To solve the problem, they send in Charles Bronson (who else would you send to solve a problem like this in the 1970's?) and Lee Remick. Meanwhile, the American government is trying to figure out what's going on, and a mid level analyst (Tyne Daily) may be on to something. Will Bronson get to Pleasence before the FBI does?

 In truth, this is the only Charles Bronson film I enjoy, and enjoy it I do. It's a taut thriller with some great suspenseful scenes and an engrossing story line. The book (by Walter Wager) is better, but the film really holds its own. Look for Sherri North as one of the brainwashed agents.

This film is fairly recently (2009) available on DVD. It was put out on a double bill with St. Ives. It's not available on YouTube in its entirety, but the trailer is above, uploaded by Vivadjango. The poster above is available at

Obscurity factor: 6 (available on DVD, occasionally screened on TV, not well remembered, generally)


  1. Ben, since we have been delving in obscure Lee Remick arcana, may I suggest The Medusa Touch? It's not as gaudy as Telefon, but it still has two disasters in it: a Jumbo Jet crash into a highrise... and Marie Christine Barrault's orange dress.

  2. You really should be writing this blog, Oliver. You know so much, and you're so funny! Love the orange dress comment...

  3. How kind of you to say this, as I admire your work so much, Ben. You do very well as it is.

    If you like my writing, please look at my Chinese Movies page:

    And the orange dress is here. Do not share with Brini!