Anderson Tapes, The (1971): Sidney Lumet’s Techno Crime-Thriller, Starring Sean Connery (Also relevant to Gay Cinema)

Sidney Lumet’s “The Anderson Tapes” is a fast-paced, precisely directed crime thriller, with utmost attention to detail, especially modern technology.

It concerns a master holdup plan of an ex-con, John “Duke” Anderson (played by Sean Connery, at the height of his James Bond career), and the strange electronic surveillances that have tracked him since he had left prison (where head served a decade).

Anderson seeks funds from the syndicate to back his massive, well-planned robbery, targeted at a lush Upper East Side apartment building.  He rounds up a gang of expert thieves

He renews his relationship with old girlfriend Ingrid (Dyan Cannon), who lives around, gathers his four-man crew, including Haskins (Martin Balsam) a gay man, and old ex-con William “Pop” Myer (Stan Gottlieb), whom Anderson met in jail, and who is to pretend to be the concierge.

What Anderson doesn’t know is that every move he makes is being monitored and taped by various law enforcement agencies, hoping to get leads to the Mob kingpins.

Knowing the site well, they break into unoccupied apartments and carry out the looting of each and every place. And then…..

The well-written scenario is penned by Frank Pierson, based on the novel by Lawrence Sanders.

The splendidly staged climax is particularly exciting in the way it is shot by Arthur J. Ornitz and edited by Joanne Burke.  Quincy Jones’s score contributes to the mood of the piece.

In addition to Sean Connery, who was at the end of his s James Bond era, the film stars Dyan Cannon, Martin Balsam, Ralph Meeker, Alan King, Margaret Hamilton, Garrett Morris and Christopher Walken, making his first major appearance as the “Kid.”

This movie, one of the best caper movies in the 1970s, began a particularly creative phase in Lumet’s career, which saw the making of “Serpico,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” and “Network” back-to-back.

Running time: 98 Minutes.