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George At 

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One of Charles Bronson's best 70's thrillers, TELEFON is an interesting story, well told.

Donald Pleasance (Halloween, You Only Live Twice) is renegade scientist Dalchimsky, unleashing sleeper agents across the USA by calling them up and repeating a Robert Frost poem and their real name, sending them on their mission.

Charles Bronson is KGB Major Grigori Borzov, sent undercover in America to track down and kill Dalchimsky before either government becomes fully aware of the plot.

What better sleeper agent than one that's been fully hypnotized to only know their made up, cover American life?

That question leads to suspenseful action scenes as housewives (Sheree North), helicopter tour guides and garage owners get a call that send them off to uncover their weapons and launch major attacks on different targets across the country.

Tyne Daly (The Enforcer) is a CIA agent pulling excellent data our of the biggest 1977 CIA desktop computer you've ever seen.

Lee Remick (The Omen) is Barbara, a CIA/KGB operative working with Borzov to stop the calls.

The film is cleverly told by two of the era's most popular screenwriters. Sterling Silliphant (In The Heat of the Night, The Towering Inferno) and Peter Hyams (Capricorn One, Outland, 2010) balance the story and the action perfectly and Director Don Siegel (Dirty Harry, Escape From Alcatraz) keeps everything moving briskly from start to finish.

Bronson was a huge box office star in the seventies, but a lot of his films were low budget actioneers that never quite hit the mark in my opinion.

For me, TELEFON is one of his best, even if the ability to reign terror through rotary telephones seems pretty ancient and quaint decades later.

TELEFON gets a B and remains a guilty pleasure to revisit again and again.

Film buffs are going to recognize that hotel lobby in the elevator chase sequence from "The Towering Inferno" and "High Anxiety". It's the Hyatt Regency on Embaracadero. I stayed there in the early 2010s and experienced a lot of movie deja vu!

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