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The Anderson Tapes
Sean Connery, Dyan Cannon, Christopher Walken
Directed by Sidney Lumet
Columbia Pictures 1971
Sony Pictures Home Video 2008
99 minutes

Based on the Laurence Sanders novel and now available on DVD, The Anderson Tapes is a postmodern tale hiding as a crime movie. It portrays an almost Big Brother watching safecracker Duke Anderson (Sean Connery). Everywhere Anderson goes, someone or the government is either taping or filming what is going on often before he gets there. The Anderson Tapes is one of director’s Sidney Lumet’s lesser-known works; it is worth discovering for the oddity it is.

The Anderson Tapes is not an action packed crime movie but it does have its moments, especially during the caper itself. This crime caper DVD is very seventies and quite fun to watch. Martin Balsam plays “a fag decorator”, a very young and non-scary Christopher Walken plays a young criminal, and Dyan Cannon plays Duke Anderson’s moll. Fresh out of jail, Anderson is planning a big-time caper that will allow him to retire.

The plan? Rob all the apartments in a luxurious building over Labor Day weekend. For this he enrolls the help of a Black getaway man living on top of a Black Panthers hangout and gets funding from the mob (Alan King). Both are of course under government surveillance; everything is under government surveillance, including the old Don whose nurse is wired. With 20/20 vision it is ironic to watch a bunch of FBI agents listening to illicit recordings under a picture of President Richard Nixon

The mystery in The Anderson Tapes is if and how Anderson will get away with the crime if everything he does and says is being taped and/or filmed.

This movie is more than a crime caper although it is uncertain if it manages to get that part of it across.

Look for Conrad Bain (Diff’rent Strokes) as one of the heist victims.