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Telefon 1977 ***

The title is the Russian word for telephone, and Don Siegel’s 1977 thriller makes good use of it; Charles Bronson plays a Russian agent who comes to the States to uncover a network of sleeper cells, activated by a voice on the phone that recites Robert Frost’s classic “and miles to go before I sleep’ poem, also featured in Tarantino’s Death Proof. Based on a novel by Walter Wager, who also provided the source material for Die Hard 2, Telefon features a reasonable context for Bronson’s trademark gruffness as Major Borzov, teaming him with double agent Barbara (Lee Remick) and a gallery of great support including Tyne Daly, Patrick McGee, Alan Badel and Donald Pleasance. Siegel knew how to make a tough, taut thriller, and Telefon is a cut above most cold war thrillers.


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