Telefon (1977) – The Russian Manchurian Candidates

Telefon (1977) - Charles Bronson Movie poster artwork film

Donald is gonna think I’m stalking him! This is the third film in a row with the versatile, dependable Mr Pleasence and this time it was purely by chance as I didn’t know he was in it. What a great surprise.  Cul-De-Sac was first then Ground Zero.

Was ticking this one off the list mainly because of Charles Bronson and second being that it’s a Don Siegel movie I knew about but wondered if I had actually seen it. I hadn’t and I can report that it’s a fine piece of 70’s drama.

Telefon (1977) - Charles Bronson explosion

Russian saboteurs within the United States had been placed as sleeper cells at strategic positions around America during the height of the Cold War. Without really knowing it they were hypnotised to go on a suicide mission by a command signal setting them off like the Manchurian Candidate. This message is sent by telephone and consists of a phrase from a poem by Robert Frost called ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’.

Tagline – They’ll do anything to stop Telefon. The operation that can trigger 51 human time bombs.

Telefon (1977) - Charles Bronson russian cia agent

Suddenly they are set off one by one blowing stuff up left right and centre. One minute casually fixing a car as a mechanic the next minute you’re plowing through barriers to decommissioned army barracks and blowing up the building. And they just keep coming, hitting targets all over the place. What’s scary is the fact that theres 51 sleepers ready to be activated!

Telefon (1977) - Donald Pleasence telephone bad guy russian agent 3

Who could be doing this? really there can only be one person so dastardly, so ruthless, that it has to be Donald Pleasence playing a disgruntled rogue KGB agent called Nicolai Dalchimsky who has acquired a little black book filled with all the agents addresses and most importantly to him, their phone numbers.

Telefon (1977) - Donald Pleasence telephone bad guy russian agent

Tagline – Your next phone call may be your last!

Who can stop this madman who could actually start world war 3? Well step up Mr Charles Bronson as Russian Major Grigori Borzov, an experienced officer within the KGB with photographic memory superpower. He gets to memorise a copy of the black book before he is sent to the USA to track down and stop Nicolai.

Telefon (1977) - Charles Bronson gun car chase

What name does this Russian super agent go by?  “Gary“! Gary meets up with a sassy CIA agent Barbara played by Lee Remick and she is greeted with the line.

“For an American agent you’re not entirely repulsive!”

There’s lots of great banter and sly spy work chemistry between Gary and Barbara as they try to figure each other out whilst tracking down Nicolai Dalchimsky. Can these two agents work together to bring down this rogue agent on a destructive path trying to start a world war? You have to get this on the watch list to find out if you haven’t seen it already.

Telefon (1977) - Charles Bronson Lee Remick KGB CIA AgentsTelefon (1977) - Charles Bronson Lee Remick KGB CIA Agents car

On a side note – Criminally under used in a wonderful little part, is Tyne Daly from Cagney and Lacey fame playing a super brained boffin, CIA computer expert called Dorothy Putterman. Would liked to see more of her used. She was never better than Kate Moore in The Enforcer annoying Harry Callahan.

Telefon (1977) - Tyne Daly computer geek cia agentTelefon (1977) - Tyne Daly computer geek cia agent 2

5 thoughts on “Telefon (1977) – The Russian Manchurian Candidates

  1. I do believe I’ve seen this one . :). Fun flick and a nice cast of actors joining in the fun. Even bombshell Sheree North gets in on the action as a housewife. Love the poster and yes it’s in the vault here at home. Nice reunion of Pleasence and Bronson years after The Great Escape. Remick sexy and smart as well here. No wonder my Dad always liked her.
    They lampooned this one in The Naked Gun with Montalban’s Secretary and the Reggie Jackson bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes that wonderful spoof with Montalban’s Secretary. After “blowing” her brains out – “would you like cream and sugar”. As soon as I saw the scene unfold in Telefon I giggled.
      So nice to have Lee Remick as the leading lady as I’ve started to bore of Jill Ireland. She was pretty feisty and I loved the way they would get some soft focus when they were together. Hey your Dad had good taste 🙂
      Yes I did spy Sheree North and weirdly I had just seen her in another Bronson film on Friday called “Breakout”. She played a saucy little minx! Have to admit to not enjoying that film much if I’m honest.


      • North’s role in Breakout was much more appreciative of her “talents.” I like Breakout for the performances. Bronson gets to play it light and is a devilish rogue at heart. With all due respect to Ireland, Bronson could have been in more films if it wasn’t for always insisting she play his lead in films. I know he bowed out of teaming with Sophia Loren once due to no role for Jill. Damn! I thought he did well with Crystal, Remick, Bissett and Andress in their films together. Should have been more leading ladies for the tough guy.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes her “talents” were much appreciated.:) Bronson was great in it and Randy Quaid was quirky and fun. But I just got lost on the no real plot and wanted Robert Duvall to step up and save the show but he didn’t. It might of been the Friday booze but I got bored. Which is something I’m very hesitant to say when Mr Bronson is involved.
          Linda Cristal and her Latin American looks steals the show for me. Oh how great to have seen him alongside Sophia Loren!!! Cheers MIke 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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