When you realize that this is the film that Writer/Director Francis Ford Coppola made BETWEEN THE GODFATHER and GODFATHER PART II, its pretty astonishing. At the top of his powers here in 1974's THE CONVERSATION, Coppola creates a simple story with many threads. Gene Hackman gives one of his best performances as Henry Caul, the best man for the job when you want to listen in on private matters. Haunted by the ripple effects of a past job, Hackman is drawn too deep into his current assignment listening to a couple in San Francisco's Union Square at lunchtime. Are they a cheating couple, a business deal gone bad? The less you know the better, so you can be pulled in just as Henry is, and just as I was watching this 70's classic for the first time. Look for a very young Harrison Ford in a key role (two years after his film debut in the Coppola penned "American Graffiti") and Godfather alums John Cazale and Robert Duvall in strong supporting performances. This conversation gets an A.
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