Francis Ford Coppola followed up The Godfather with this dark, intimate portrait of paranoia, with Gene Hackman as a privacy-obsessed San Francisco audio surveillance expert who starts to slowly unravel after he suspects the young couple he recorded in Union Square (via all sorts of technical wizardry) is going to be murdered. While the supporting cast of The Conversation is a Who's Who of Coppola alums or soon-to-be alums (Frederic Forrest, Harrison Ford, John Cazale, Robert Duvall), this is the Gene Hackman Show all the way, especially during the last act when he goes to extreme lengths to find the bug he's sure is planted somewhere in his apartment. Indeed, Hackman's Harry Caul in The Conversation (1974) could be seen as a precursor to his mysterious Brill character in Tony Scott's Enemy of the State (1998); the two films themselves are definitely interesting companion pieces. And dig that lonely, longing saxophone that closes the show...
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