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George At 

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The Parallax View

Just before he directed "All The President's Men", Director Alan J. Pakula delivered one of film's all-time best political thrillers with THE PARALLAX VIEW.

Warren Beatty is reporter Joseph Frady, who witnesses a political assassination in the opening sequence. Staged with Hitchcock's sense of famous outdoor landmarks, the shooting at the top of Seattle's Space Needle is just the beginning.

In the months that follow, nearly everyone that was near that assassination begins to die. Heart attacks, fishing accidents, car accidents, the witnesses are disappearing.

Frady is dragged into the story by TV reporter Lee Carter (Paula Prentiss) who seems to be running for her life.

Frady dismissed her claims.

But when she turns up dead shortly thereafter, Frady starts to dig into the mystery.

Hume Cronyn (Cocoon, Shadow of a Doubt) is Frady's long suffering editor, William Daniels (The Graduate) is a key political figure and witness who has gone into hiding.

Their explosive conversation leads to the shady LA corporation Parallax, who appear to be recruiting loners for some very unusual assignments.

The movie never lets up from its opening moments, with the heat on Frady turning up with every stone he turns over for answers.

Paluka crafts a terrific looking film. The chase after the assassin on top of the Space Needle and the sequence at the bottom of the dam are action classics.

Michael Small's music scores are almost always the same quiet notes, but they work just as well here as they would for Dustin Hoffman's pursuit of secrets in "Marathon Man" later the same decade.

I loved the sequence in which Frady is strapped in a chair "Clockwork Orange" style for the Parallax orientation film. That three minute sequence seems all too capable of ferreting out some dark character treats.

The fact that Paluka makes you watch the entire thing in one unbroken cut makes it all the more powerful.

With early seventies conspiracy nods to the Kennedy assassinations and mistrust of the government, it shares the same feel as other 70's classics like "Three Days of the Condor" and "Telefon".

The ending is both inevitable and perfect, earning THE PARALLAX VIEW a clever B+.

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