Saturday, 22 October 2016

Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper...

Fabulous news, Dear Reader;
As of today I can announce the forthcoming publication of my novel Sherlock Holmes and the Whitechapel Murders-An account of the matter by John Watson, M.D. I am proud to say the publishing house MX Publishing is producing the book, though at this stage whether as an E-Book or in Print remains to be arranged.

An original account, the story follows the murders as they happened, with the World's first Consulting Detective facing a murderous conspiracy that includes a plot to steal the Crown Jewels themselves. History tells us what happened-now I reveal why it happened.
The facts are all there, but making sense of them will take you to the very edge of madness.
For a short extract from the book, visit;

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Fifteen (count 'em) reasons Sean Connery was the best Bond

Those videos you see everywhere now, inane insultingly-obvious lists on the lines of 'The five best Rock Hudson one-liners' or 'Ten ways to drive squirrels nuts.' Nothing worse. So, with the inevitability of an unloved season*... we're insulting your intelligence with ANOTHER one of these pointless listy-jobbies. Now, the consensus here is Roger Moore was the most fun, Daniel Craig the grittiest, Lazenby the worst at real-life decision making and so forth... but is there any doubt here?. With his style, cat-like grace (At least in the first two films) and casual economy of movement, Connery was Bond. The version below is the low-quality one - dear old Blogger limits videos to 100mb - but the all-singing, crystal-clear and shiny version is at; 15 Reasons Sean Connery was the best Bond - HD


 *Yes, we've used that line before. Inevitably, we'll foist it on you again sometime. Probably Spring.

Monday, 8 August 2016

NEW!; Volcano Cat's Youtube Channel!

Well, ok; we put up a SPECTRE trailer a while back, but this is different. Our first 'proper' video. 'Daniel Craig's Fifteen most Bad-Ass Bond moments'; yep, ANOTHER cobbled-together listy-effort. Well, this one's in HD, it's (dare we say it) better than a lot of the crap out there and we're inordinately proud of it. Watch it before 'they' make us take it down. Due to revenue issues, it's not available on i-Phone or Android or a Seventies' Trimphone plugged into a Casio wristwatch TV.... To see VC's Youtube Channel, just click the link below, or to watch a lo-fi el-cheapo version click below below (Eh?)


Sunday, 17 July 2016


The opening credits. A book written in Chinese characters is held open by a mechanical armature, a scanning beam 'reads' the text, a printer chatters out the English translation in response.

At the end of every page, an arm emerges from the machine to turn to the next page, the armature elegantly rising and falling to allow the paper to turn. 

Janice, a pretty Chinese-American girl dons her glasses to examine the result as we are told this is a Sydney Pollack film. The girl goes over to the computer bank to check the system. She enters the office where Ray and Harold are debating the method of a murder; a male Caucasian was apparently shot. The Headmasterly figure of Dr.Lappe enters a small office to find the only occupant is a poster of Einstein and a few Da Vinci models. Of Joseph Turner, there is no sign, but Janice assures him Turner will be here any minute. Frowning his disapproval, it's clear the Doctor isn't amused.

Robert Redford plays Joe Turner, Code-Name Condor.
Joseph 'Joey' Turner rides his Solex motorised bicycle through the midtown traffic, while his colleagues discuss the mystery murder. Finally, he pulls up outside the 'American Literary Historical Society' building in the East '70's, unaware of the man sitting in the '75 Torino across the street who selects his photo from the folder and crosses off his name against a list. One more to go. 

Spoofing for the security camera, Turner pulls his hat over his face to make a ski-mask as he hits the buzzer. 

At her desk the chain-smoking Mrs. Russell sighs across at Jennings, the retired Sergeant at his security post. Pulling open her draw – revealing a Colt .45 – she presses the hidden switch to buzz the young analyst in. 

Blonde, he stands about 5' 10 and wears glasses. Frostily she informs him he's seventeen minutes late, he retaliates claiming there was a headwind. Bustling across to Dr. Lappe's domain, he asks if there's anything in the early pouch for him. Before answering, Lappe pauses from watering his plants to consult his pocket watch. He answers in the negative before telling Turner he wants the book he left on his desk analysed and on the computer by 4pm. As a parting gift, Turner tells the Doctor he'd better move the Tolmiea closer to the light; it's getting leaf blight. Going up the curved stairs he jokes with Jennings and tells Mrs. Russell it's going to rain at 10:20.
Set photo of Robert Redford taken during production.
Settling into his office, Turner overhears his friends still puzzling over the murder. Apparently, the round used was a .38, but they couldn't recover the slug itself. Janice drops out, with some Far East journals to read, leaving Ray and Harold to figure it out. She drops by Turner's office with a friendly peck on the forehead. 'Ice.' 'Instead of lead. Ice.' He calls this last out so the debaters in the adjoining office can hear. The murderer pours water into a .38 calibre mould and freezes it until the crime. By the time the cops show, there's just a few drops of water and no bullet or ballistics. 

His arm around her, it's clear these two are closer than just colleague-close. With a marker pen, Turner sketches a Chinese character, asking Janice what it means; tiān, or 'Heaven'. Why does he ask? - he's not sure. Janice asks if they are on for Sam and Mae's tonight, getting a 'Uh-Hm' of affirmation. Turner is puzzled; neither Sam or Dr. Lappe gives his theory any credence. Janice admits there's not much, a mystery that's been translated. 'A mystery that didn't sell...' he corrects her 'That's been translated into a very odd assortment of languages; Turkish, but not French, Arabic, but not Russian or German. Dutch, Spanish... something about this is very wrong. As an aside, Janice asks where he got the ice bullet gimmick, Dashiell Hammett? - no, Dick Tracy.

The Triple-A messenger van pulls up in the pouring rain as, inside, Turner asks Ray when he can get some computer time. There's some free run-time at 2:45. The morning pick-up has arrived and Turner hurries down with a large envelope for the mailman. Dr. Lappe asks where Mr. Heidegger is; Mrs. Russell informs he he called in sick. Hungover again, is Jenning's view. The Doctor wants to know about an inquiry Heidegger sent to Persian Gulf Command – from the stairs, Turner calls down he did that for him. Dr. Lappe stalks off, wishing people would go through channels. Spotting some kids trying to boost his Solex, Turner jumps out to scare them off, noting he was right about that rain. Torino man is still watching from across the street. With no sign of Heidegger, he gets out into the rain. Time to call it in. 

Highlighting some key words, Turner takes his print-out and goes to fix a machine. Torino man makes the call, from a public phone booth. Dr. Lappe arrives with a communiqué from New York Central; HQ Langley say there's nothing to support Turner's theory. He reminds the younger man of his request – is this his idea of working on that book?. Still tinkering, with calm self-assuredness, Turner asserts the book will be on the computer by four. His patience waning, the Doctor insists they have people to service these machines, but Turner simply states they aren't as complicated as they look. Cleaning his spectacles, the harassed Lappe asks if Turner is entirely happy there. 'Within obvious limits, yes.' Is the answer. 'It bothers me that I can't tell people what I do.' The Professor can't process that one. Turner tells him he actually trusts a few people. Backing away from the insurmountable, Dr. Lappe remembers it's Turner's turn to bring in lunch and shuffles off. He's halted by a request to know the time. His pocket watch has 11:22. Turner jauntily states the rain will stop at half past; acidly the Professor grants him a reprieve for the eight minutes.

The man with the umbrella walks softly, but with a steady gait that suggests enormous self-control, focus even. As well as umbrella, he wears spectacles, raincoat and a hat. Moving to the Torino, he seems to stare straight ahead as, oddly, the driver swishes his wipers once. Only once. Signal received. The man with the umbrella then does the oddest thing; he closes it and leaves it in a waste basket. Walking on aways, he pauses and turns to regard the building that still claims to be the American Literary Historical Society through the rain. At the same moment, Turner is descending the stairs and ducks out through Jenning's security post, to his outrage. Patiently, Mrs. Russell tells him he always goes out that way when it rains... saves him a block. Today, it will save Joseph Turner far more. Taking the stairs to the basement he goes through a book vault and out into a brick courtyard, shielding himself with his jacket from the incessant rain. Ducking through a loose chain-link screen, the next courtyard takes him to an alleyway around a fire escape and up some steps to make the luncheonette. The man without the umbrella stands watching and there is something very wrong. We see his face properly for the first time. How should we describe him if asked?. Blonde, mid-forties perhaps, moustache. Something of Europe in those features. Scandinavia?. Perhaps.

Joubert is played by Max von Sydow.
Inside the luncheonette, business is good – Turner hands Jimmy the orders and they exchange pleasantries. Jimmy is under the impression Turner is a struggling writer and jokes he always wanted to be Escoffier. The light-hearted chit-chat goes on while Jimmy prepares the order. Across the street from the building the man without the umbrella waits, expectantly. The rain has stopped. Around the corner of the block opposite, a Mail Man appears, moving towards the ALHS building. 

A second later, from the other end of the block comes a man in an Army Surplus poncho, his arms out of sight beneath the plastic. The Mail Man is almost at the front door. His face has the pallor of a corpse with eyes that, if they ever knew pity, do not know it now. Torino man pulls away from the kerb and drives off. The former Umbrella man crosses the street.

Smoking her last cigarette, Mrs. Russell pauses her typing to buzz in the Mail Man. 'Give it to Jennings in the back – he'll sign for it.' The burst of suppressed fire from the MAC-10 - shockingly fast, rips through her, sending her flying backwards in her chair. 

His arms full of books, Jennings appears as Poncho comes through behind the Mail Man and he dies going for his shotgun. Joubert – for that is the name of the man who discarded the Umbrella, stands behind them, watching his men work. 
Spanish Lobby Card showing Joubert (Centre), with his men.

He steps forward, going to the rotary book-case that still spins from where the Mail Man called. Opening the false top reveals a secret camera which has recorded everything. 'Mrs. Russell' calls Dr. Lappe, coming down the stairs, 'Was the Curtis report this...' his sentence evaporates as does he, his corpse tumbling down the carpeted stairs. 

Joubert removes the incriminating film. Turner exits the diner and heads back. Upstairs, Ray dies in his office. The sounds of automatic death are now less than the noise of office machinery. Still, Harold hears something, opens the door of the small bathroom and dies behind it. 

The office machines fall silent. Janice takes the computer tapes from the translation machine and goes to file them. Behind her, Joubert reaches for the switch to set the machine going again. She looks up to see a stranger. 'Would you move away from the window please?' the voice is not impolite, definitely Northern Europe. 

She doesn't understand until the Mail Man steps forward, the ugly mouth of the suppressed machine pistol suddenly terribly clear in its purpose. 'I won't scream.' Joubert's face is sombre, yet not unkind. Nothing personal. 'I know.' He turns away as the MAC-10 speaks. 

Meanwhile, Turner is back at the front door. His Victory-V sign gets no response, so he tries the door, finding it unlocked. 'Little breakdown in security there?' He jokes, then spots Jennings on the floor. Thinking it a joke of some kind, he goes forward and realises the truth, dropping the food as he spots Mrs. Russell, cigarette stil smouldering. Lappe too; his toupee hanging off denying him dignity even in death. Horrified, he rushes up the stairs to find Janice, lying dead, her blood on the wall and surrounded by empty cartridge cases. 

Cradling her, he goes to lift her before his brain kicks in. Lowering her gently, he looks at the open door, eyes and mouth wide with shock and fear. Harold and Ray?. Dashing across the floor, he finds them both. Stepping down carefully past the body of Dr. Lappe he plucks up courage and steels himself. Gun. Mrs. Russell's .45. He thinks of phoning for help, but changes his mind, throwing Mrs. Russell's last cigarette from her body. He sees the closed-circuit television screen she used to identify callers and realises she'd have never let in someone who seemed unfamiliar. Holstering the .45 in his jeans belt, he backs away awkwardly and goes out the door cautiously. Looking around, he decides against using the Solex and walks. A woman walks towards him pushing a pram. Is she one of them?. Stumbling out into the road, Turner almost goes under a taxi-cab and, his nerves frayed, starts to run in search of an unoccupied phone-booth.

Turner is nearly run down. By Sydney Pollack - the Director doubles as the Cab Driver.
Finding an empty booth, Turner calls it in, dials 111-222-333. At an undisclosed location, the red light flashes and the urgent buzzer sounds by a handset. The CIA 'Panic Office' is manned by a wheel-chair bound veteran known only as 'The Major.' Picking up the handset, he flips the 'trace' switch. 

Turner gives his name, but the Major insists on identification. Turner thinks for a second and recalls it; 'Condor'. Section Nine, Department Seventeen has been hit. He begins to gabble out the awful event, but when he finds out Condor's on a public phone line, the Major tells him he's in breach of secure communications procedure. Joe isn't having any of that shit; he came back from lunch, it was raining and the whole house was murdered!. 

Placidly, the Major runs the panicked man through it; is he damaged? Is he armed?. No and yes. He is to leave the area, find a secure location. Where?. 'Avoid any place you know; do not go home, do not go home.' Consulting the array of clocks above the global map, the Major tells him to resurface at 14:30 and call 'The Major.' The Major finishes by ordering 'Condor' to walk away from the phone without hanging up. The Major sets things in motion and the Cleaners go in to check what has gone so terribly wrong.

Jogging through the park, Turner puts as much distance between himself the carnage at Department Seventeen as he can. The Augean Cleaning Service truck rolls up and the cleaners – dressed as precisely that, arrive at the ALHS building and go in. Choosing public spaces over private, Turner goes to the Guggenheim and looks around. Newberry, one of the Cleaners gets on the radio in the truck and calls up New York Center, high in the World Trade Center. Answering callsign Augie One on his radio scrambler is Deputy Director Higgins. Newberry confirms a maximum hit, six cold items. Higgins enquiries the quality of the work; clean, fast and first rate, before noticing the number; six. Aside from Condor, there were seven people working there. Newberry runs through the names while his man guards the entrance behind. Higgins hangs it up as a subordinate brings in Condor's file. Condor himself is getting around a pretzel, Good King Wenceslas playing in the background. Suddenly, it hits him. Heidegger. Number Seven.

Ringing for Heidegger gets no reply, so Turner tries another button and gets lucky. Buzzed in, he goes up to number six and finds the door ajar. The tenant he buzzed calls down, but Turner goes in to see the inevitable; Heidegger lying dead on his bed. The Torino pulls up outside and two men climb out to enter the building. Realising the danger he's in, Turner bolts for the stairs, but sees them coming up, ducking back up past six. Looking down, he sees the men enter just as the resident calls down asking if he rang his buzzer – thinking he means them one of the men answers 'It was a mistake buddy.' Confused, the tenant's 'Not you guys' nearly gets Turner burnt, but he slips away with the suspicious man calling down after him.

Augie Three calls in; they've found 'item seven' – Ralph Heidegger. Higgins tells them to button it up – he'll send them more janitors. He puts in a call to CIA Langley, to Department Seventeen. A man named Fowler goes into the office of the Officer In Charge Department Seventeen. Inside, he tells Wicks, the head of Department about the hit on one of his sections. Wicks protests they're just bookworms, but there's no denying it; they've been taken out, seven out of eight. He's wanted on the shuttle to La Guardia in thirty minutes. He asks about the eighth and Fowler tells him about Condor, who was literally out to lunch when it happened. Higgins is bringing him in. Fowler tries to remind him about the shuttle, but Wicks picks up the phone and throws some muscle into the equation, ordering a chopper on the pad fuelled for New York right away.

Watching his apartment building from across the street, Turner decides to chance it. Going across, he's met by the landlady taking out the garbage. Cheerily, she tells him they're waiting for him; his two friends. They said he'd be home early, said he gave them keys. By the time she looks around there's no sign of him. The Bell Jet Ranger carries only subdued markings, setting down on the pad just across from the imposing bulk of the World Trade Center. From his office on high, Higgins looks down and waits, his thoughts his own.

Cliff Robertson is Higgins.
Condor calls as arranged, the Major picking up in the Panic Office. The Major routes Condor through to New York Center. Turner asks who he's speaking to; Higgins identifies himself as the Deputy Director, New York Center, he's Controlling now and asks where Condor is. Astutely, Turner asks 'How come I need a code name and you don't?' dropping the spy crap, Higgins asks again; 'Where are you, Turner?.' 'Here.' Foolishly, the Deputy Director asks if he's ok. Is he insame? - everybody's dead. Higgins tells him to calm down; he'll bring him in. As Fowler and Wicks arrive from Langley, he continues; giving Turner a rendezvous at the Ansonia hotel on the Upper West Side. There's an alleyway behind the hotel, one hour from now at 15:30 he wants Turner to enter from the 73rd street side. Turner asks if he'll be there, Higgins tells him the head of his Department (Wicks) will be there. Turner's never met him. He goes quiet for a while and thinks about it; he doesn't know Higgins either. The DD tries to keep it going, saying his contact will be carrying a copy of the Wall Street Journal. You don't get to be an analyst for the CIA without sharp instincts and Turner smells a rat; why were those guys at his place?. He's not going into any alleyway with anybody and fuck the Wall Street Journal. Wicks shows Higgins Condor's file and points to a name; someone he knows. He has a friend in statistics named Sam Barber. Will he do?. Sardonically, Turner agrees. OK, says Higgins, stay well for sixty minutes and you're home. Turner has a final question, what is happening?. The DD will tell him when they meet.

Down in the basement firing range, Sam Barber is fitted for a ballistic vest, finding the whole thing ridiculous. Wicks tells him he's not a field agent, so it's standard procedure, turning down the Armorer's offer of one for himself. He asks for a side arm instead. Seeing Sam struggling with the unfamiliar vest, Wicks helps him fit it, making small talk. How long has he known Condor?; they were at CCNY together. Wicks takes his .45 from the Armorer and signs weapon and kit out. Sam asks him if he can tell him what happened with 'Those murders'. Wick's reply is; 'What murders?.' 
Sam Barber is played by Walter McGinn.

Sam Barber and Wicks stand, awkwardly in the alleyway. Sam smokes. Turner waits around the corner from the alley, having snuck a peek at the two waiting men. Wicks clearly hasn't spent his whole life flying desks; he stacks a large empty can onto a trash can ready for an improvised ambush. What he's expecting isn't clear. Turner checks his watch; time for the Condor to come home. Looking into the alley, Turner calls Sam's name. Spotting his friend, Sam brightens up and goes to him. There's no sign of Wicks. 'Hey Sam... where's that other...?' Suddenly, Wicks kicks Wicks' cans (!) and steps out with a suppressor fitted to his .45, taking a shot that misses Condor's head by inches. 

As he fires more shots, Sam realises what's happening and starts yelling; Turner shoots back with his own (Mrs. Russell's) .45, hitting Wicks low in the side. Wounded and on the ground, Wicks takes careful aim... and shoots Sam in the throat.

As sirens wail and the cops head for the alleyway, Turner is running hard. With more cops on the scene, he ducks around into a Ski Store. At the counter, a pretty blonde is being served, the clerk phoning in her card details. Katharine Hale. As Joe eavesdrops behind a rack of jackets, we learn she's off to Vermont for the Langlauf. As she goes to her Bronco, she's wondering what all the sirens are for when from behind comes 'Kathy!'. Closing on her fast before she can react Joe ignores her protestations and jams the .45 into her stomach. With no choice, she gets into the jeep. Turner asks where she lives. Brooklyn Heights. Alone?. She says she lives with a friend. Turner sees through it; she lives alone. They get going.
Kathy is played by Faye Dunaway. (Spanish Lobby card.)
The Jet Ranger sets down on a grass pad at Langley. Out steps Higgins to be met with a note. He can't believe what he's reading. A Lincoln is waiting and he climbs in back. The Bronco takes the Brooklyn Bridge, Kathy eyeing Turner warily. At the same time, the Lincoln sits in a vehicle lift going down to level twelve of a massive subterranean parking garage. 

Rolling out from the lift, a Marine in dress blues steps forward to open the door for Higgins. A knot of drivers stand around idly chatting, their cars sitting empty. The sign says Five Continents Imports Inc., the security camera hints otherwise. Once through the door two Marine sergeants check his id and he's admitted to the conference room.

The Eastern airlines flight touches down at Washington International and, a few minutes later Joubert gets into a cab. Kathy's Bronco pulls up outside her apartment building and Turner walks her along the sidewalk. An acquaintance says hi, but she ignores him. Turner picks her up on it; she should have said hello. They go through the gate down to her basement place.

'Condor shot us both.' Higgins sets the statement down. He sits facing a semi-circular commission of enquiry headed by the redoubtable Mr. Wabash. The 54/12 group as its formally known. To either side of Wabash sit the heads of departments. Dryly, Wabash comments on the accuracy of the shot to Sam Barber; two inches above his flak jacket. 

One of the panel asks if Condor was qualified with a handgun. Shaking his head, Higgins goes through Turner's file; two years with the Signal Corps, worked at Bell Labs under the G.I. bill. On Wabash's repeating the question he gives a straight answer; no, qualified M1 rifle and Carbine only. Evidently, he claims, it was sheer luck... or else...' The phone buzzes and Wabash takes it. 
Mr. Wabash, veteran OSS/CIA man is played by John Houseman.
'Or else what?' Asks Atwood, the second most senior man. Wabash answers that one for him; 'Or else Condor isn't the man his file says he is.' Then where did he learn evasive moves?. His eyes flashing angrily, Higgins replies 'He reads.' One of the panel doesn't understand. As if sending a message for Wabash alone he restates; 'It means he reads everything.' Wabash gets the message and waves the questioner down. He wants tracks; a blade of grass, a broken twig – something disturbed. Wicks is in hospital, perhaps they could use him as bait to draw Condor out?. Wabash isn't buying; he wonders if Condor's gone private; in business for himself, has he been turned?, is someone running him?. What motivation?; is he homosexual?, broke?, vulnerable?.

As Wabash thinks aloud, Kathy sits awkwardly in her apartment, eyeing the Tentrex Industries card Turner has shown her. He checks the curtains and the windows. As he throws off his sports jacket, she speaks. 'Tentrex Industries.' A cover – he works for the CIA. Unsurprisingly, she's sceptical, so he tosses her the phone book to look it up; then look up the number for the CIA, New York. Kathy's amazed to find them listed under Government Agencies. Her flat is lined with black and whites and he asks if she's a photographer. The number is the same, but of course he could have had the card made. He could have – but he didn't. Going through her closet, he finds men's shirts. She told him she had a friend. She makes a joke about 'digging' 15 - ½ 34s and he fires back 'What are you, a clown?.' She's scared – but so is he. 'What are you scared for?, you've got the gun!.' 'Yes!.' he fires back. 'Yeah – and it's not enough.'

Going to splash some water on his face, Turner comes clean. He works for the CIA, but he's not a spy. 'I just read books.' Breathing heavily, he slumps under the weight of the day. 'We read everything that's published in the World. And we feed the plots, dirty tricks, codes (He waves his hand around to signify 'etc.') into a computer and the computer checks against actual CIA plans and operations.' He looks for leaks, new ideas, reading adventures and novels and journals... pausing, he thinks for a second; who'd invent a job like that?. Going up to the petrified woman, he tells her people are trying to kill him. Who, he doesn't know. There's a reason, he says – barely clutching on to his.

He just needs safe quiet time to pull it together. The radiator makes a sudden noise and he whirls round in shock, then flops onto the couch, exhausted. 'Where's the guy with the shirts?.' He's at a ski place in the Green Mountains, they just want a couple of weeks skiing, away from everything. Turner wants to see the news, but it doesn't come on for forty minutes, so he takes Kathy through to her bed. Choked with fear, she does as he asks, laying down against the wall. He lies down next to her, arranging her arm behind her head with his holding it there. He needs to close his eyes, he can't think properly for fatigue. If she tries to climb off the bed, he'll know it. She tries to tell him she believes him – he tells her she doesn't. He's not sure he does.

Walking together with Atwood in the National Mall, Joubert pockets the envelope the Senior CIA man gave him. Atwood reminds Joubert the payment includes Condor; the contract killer acknowledges that he still owes him Condor. Will Condor take long?. Joubert asks if he wants an estimate and Atwood says there is a time limit, to which the European replies 'There always is with you people.' He expounds on the problem; Condor is an amateur, lost, unpredictable. He could fool a professional with this unpredictability. Unlike Wicks, for instance, who is entirely predictable. Joubert asks about the man Condor killed in the alley. Condor shooting a friend interests him. A smart couple approaches as Atwood compounds his lies by claiming he didn't know his name, that he was nobody. Joubert smoothly switches to French, which he speaks proficiently. 'Il était quelqu'un pour Condor' – He was somebody to Condor. Still in French, Joubert demands his name and address to be ready for him when he calls. The CIA man asks about Wicks, to which Joubert replies the 'Firm' (The CIA) will want to question him. Atwood doesn't want that. Considering this, the assassin states the contract will cost nothing – he made a mistake with Condor, Wicks will be done for nothing. Turning off to stand by a balustrade, Joubert leaves Atwood walking on alone.

Waking with a start, Turner asks Kathy the time. Its news time. Flicking the TV on gets adverts, but Turner's attention is caught by the desolate nature of his hostage's photographs. An empty bench, windowless car doors framing the sky, an empty curve in a road, a car by some shipping containers. Railway tracks. Lonely pictures. 'So?' Crossing her arms defensively, Kathy listens to a critique from her captor. She takes pictures of empty streets and trees with no leaves on them. 'It's winter' she tells him. No, not quite winter... he goes for November. Not Autumn, not Winter, in-between. He likes them. Not entirely sure of this endorsement, she says thanks. The news starts and he tells Kathy to sit. The reporter comes in on the shootings behind the Hotel Ansonia, mentioning victims. Plural. Turner is shocked as he had no idea Sam had been shot. A Police lieutenant emerges and the reporter offers him the mike for him to tell the viewers the victims were employees of a large insurance company. The camera shows a chalk outline. Sam!. Switching the TV off, Turner's head's in a spin. Victims...

Taking off his glasses, he tries to make sense of it. What happened in that alley?. Kathy points out he said he shot someone. 'But not Sam!.' Plucking up her courage, she says no-one in that alley said anything about the CIA. But they were there. She looks shocked, but Turner adds they had to have been to change that story. Trawling his memory, Turner recalls Higgins said he wouldn't be there, the Section Chief would be there. The Section Chief would have to come in from Washington, which means he'd have to reach Sam and Sam would call. 

Going to the phone, he dials Sam's number. Mae, Sam's wife answers and Turner hangs it up. Finding a peacoat in her closet, Turner dons it and tells her he's borrowing the car. She jokes it's grand theft and he doesn't want to be in trouble with the Police. He asks what the guy from Vermont will do when she doesn't show. She says he'll call and soon. Call... or show up?. Angrily she tells him the gun gives him the right to rough her up, not to ask personal questions. Rough her up – has he roughed her up?. She feels he has. 'Have I?, have I raped you?' her answer; 'The night is young.'

Sitting down, he looks at her through his glasses. 'You don't believe anything I've said, do you?.' Cautiously she responds she believes he's in trouble, danger. She doesn't know what kind. Neither is she sure how much of it is made up – real. Shaking his head, Turner decides it doesn't make any difference. Taking her by the wrist, he drags her over to the bathroom and ducks a bottle before bundling her over and tying her with her own pantyhose. She calls him a bully and declares this to be... unfair. He knows. Turner gags her with his scarf.

Parking the Bronco he jogs through the Oval to Sam's building in Peter Cooper village and takes the lift up to fourteen. Mae opens the door, music playing and preparing dinner. She kisses him affectionately and tells him he's early. Is Janice working late?. So is Sam. Turner looks aghast at the normality here, as if nothing's out of kilter. 'Hey, pour one for me too, willya Joey?' The table is set for four. Jesus Christ. Suddenly it's too much. Grabbing her, holding her close, Joe asks how she knows Sam's 'working late.' He called at 2, 2:30, only it was someone at the Center called. The phone rings and Mae seems to be aware something's wrong as she goes to answer. The caller rings off on hearing her voice. That's the third time tonight. Some creepy burglar casing the joint. Hustling her out, Turner tells her to get out, to get to Bill and Eileen's upstairs as fast as she can. Move!. He propels her towards the elevator as it opens. Go there and stay there. A woman and Joubert get out, Eileen bumping into him as she's thrust into the elevator. As the door begins to close, he pleads; 'Do what I'm telling you, please!' 'What about Sam?' Her face shows fear and hurt through the glass of the elevator door and she's gone. Pressing 'down', Joe looks around to see the man who just got out waiting for the lift. Odd in any language.

The other lift arrives and there's an old couple, the man holds a cake. Turner goes in, followed by Joubert, who turns to look at him. Joe looks away, but Joubert picks up a glove from the floor and offers it to him. 'Yours?.' 'No.' Carefully, the contract killer places the glove over the hand-rail. The next floor, the old couple get out, some kids get in. One thinks it a game to push all the buttons. They leave on fifth and its just Joe and Joubert, the latter offering a comment; 'Kids. Probably the same everywhere.' Turner nods, unsure of this man, his every instinct telling him to get away from him, from here. Thanks to that asshole kid, the door opens on each floor and Joe makes to get out, until Joubert warns him it's the second floor. Finally, they make ground floor and the polite European gentleman urges Joe to go first. He insists otherwise and stays in the lift, holding the door and watching the polite man go. Looking out through the glass doors, Turner knows this is where he'll get hit. There's some kids in the lobby, teenagers really. An idea; he asks if any of them are any good with a coat hanger, claiming he's been locked out of his car and offering five bucks. He gets a taker, plus the others tag along for the show. 

Braced against the railings, Joubert watches through the scope mounted to his suppressed Mauser and realises he's got no clean shot. He takes down the weapon as Turner pays up and runs for it. As he drives off, Joubert sprints out after him, using his scope to read the Bronco's license plate.

Back at Kathy's place, Turner arrives to find the phone ringing and Kathy still bound. Cutting her free, he orders her to answer, but she refuses. Pointing his pistol at her, he tells her to be casual – and nice. It's Ben – the man who shares her wardrobe, rather stupidly asking 'Where the hell are you?.' Saying his name is too much, however and she sinks to her knees, Turner supporting her. She's supposed to be up in Vermont by now. She says she was held up, gets the barrel pushed hard against her. Ben thinks this is another one of her last minute changes of heart, which she tries to assure him is not the case. Turner helps her out mouthing 'The car' and 'Generator'. She uses the line, Ben tells her to take the bus in the morning instead. 'I'll try.' Try?, what's going on?. Is she ok?. She tells him she is. She wishes he could understand, anguish plain on her face. Ben tells her he does, he's just disappointed. She promises to take the bus and they exchange goodnights.

Turner's made a decision. He'll go in the morning. Kathy asks if it was alright. Outside, was it safe, wherever he went?. He's not sure. She wishes she knew more, about him – yesterday, today. He can't remember yesterday. Today it rained. Why did he have to tie her up like that?, did he think she'd call the police?. She wouldn't have. Turner asks why.

Kathy – 'Sometimes... I take – a picture, that isn't like me,
but I took it, so it is – like me. It has to be.
I put those pictures away.'
Turner – 'I'd like to see those pictures.'
Kathy – 'We don't know each other that well.'
Turner – (Moves close) 'Do you know anybody that well.'
Kathy – 'I, don't think I want to know you very well.
I don't think you're going to live much longer.'
Turner – 'Well, I may surprise you.'

Joe tells her she's not being honest – that she'd rather be with someone who won't be around. She takes pictures – beautiful pictures, but of empty streets, of trees with no leaves. November. Why hasn't she asked him to untie her hands?.

Kathy – 'How much do you want?'
Turner – 'I just want to – stop it. For a few hours.
For the rest of the night. And then I'll go.'

Tears in her eyes, Kathy waits for him to free her hands; the panty-hose slips off so easily she could have done it herself. They kiss. As they make love, we get a saxophone and a lot of fast cuts between their lovemaking and her photographs.

Morning. Turner sits in Kathy's kitchenette scribbling down his thoughts, coffee pot steaming beside him. She stirs, still in bed. He's done a crude diagram of the alley, a sketch of the A.L.H.S. building frontage as well as questions about the A.L.H.S. hit, replaying the alleyway shoot-out in his mind. The moment he went into the 'Literary Society' building to find everyone dead. Heidegger. Dead, in his bed. His thoughts on paper; was it his Section Chief that shot at him?, why?, did Higgins name him?. He recalls the phone conversation with Higgins, that the Chief was coming in from DC. And then there was that exchange with Dr. Lappe; when Joe asked him 'Anything in the early pouch?' Headquarters at Langley said there was nothing from any other intelligence source to support his theory. Suddenly, the relevance of that seemingly innocuous fragment hits; Lappe handed him a piece of paper. It's still in his back jeans pocket; 

There, on the bottom, is the name. Wicks. Kathy's up. An awkward moment as she walks to the counter. She tells Joe he didn't sleep well as she makes coffee. He had some thoughts, has a plan – he doesn't know if it'll work. Cheerily, she replies 'Have I ever denied you anything?.' He talks in his sleep. Kathy asks who Janice is. A friend. Dead. After a silent moment, she asks if she has permission to take a shower, he tells her she doesn't have to help and she makes a poor joke; he can always depend on 'the old spy-fucker'. Angered, he walks away, but she apologises, honestly. She wants to help.

In intensive care at Gouverneur Hospital, a radio playing Christmas Hymns and the little plastic tree on the nurses' desk remind us the Holidays are near. Three beeping heart monitors and printouts show the nurses their patient's status round the clock. No sooner has one nurse brought her colleague a coffee and sat down with hers than the monitor for Patient 18 flat-lines.

The doorbell makes Turner jump. Its the mailman with an insured package for Katharine Hale. Make that the Mail Man. Joe tells him she's not here, the Mail Man says he can sign, handing Joe a pen when the door opens. The pen won't work and Joe goes to get one. Smoothly, the Mail Man steps in behind him, shutting the door-grille. This makes Turner look back and he notices the man's unusual boots. 

He flings the coffee pot back as the MAC-10 speaks. Scalded, the Mail Man drops the weapon, Joe grabs for it, it's kicked away. Another kick sends Joe flying. Mail Man charges – Joe pushes a coffee table to trip him. Again he grabs for the gun, a flying boot knocks it away and they fight. The Mail Man is a trained killer, a Karateka to boot. He throws out a kick that nearly loosens Turner's head, then demolishes the mantlepiece with the next. Joe fights back with a poker, swinging viciously. Keeping his distance, the killer assumes a Karate readiness stance. (Hey, the '70's...) 

Every time the Mail Man goes for his gun, Turner threatens to strike with the poker. A stand-off, of sorts. Turner's eyes go to his .45, the Mail Man spots this and goes for his MAC, but Joe pulls the rug from under him. Finally, Kathy arrives in the middle of the war in her apartment, furniture flying. Stumbling back onto a flash-stand, Joe accidentally triggers it and the killer is momentarily blinded, doesn't see Joe's kick as it hits him in the chest. 

Joe's sent sprawling by a return kick and the Mail Man gets hold of his machine-pistol as Kathy attacks him with a hand-mirror. Batting her away, he turns and unleashes a killing burst to cut Joe in half. If Joe hadn't moved for the .45. Blasting away, Turner kills the killer. Turner is shocked, but Kathy is hysterical. He goes to her and firmly informs her she's ok. She's OK. Telling her to get dressed, he finds a key on the dead man; marked simply '819'. He pockets it, the finds a piece of paper with the heading; Five Continents Imports, Inc. and some numbers.

Going to the phone, he punches in the number and a woman answers; 'Stella Boutique.' He asks for extension 1891. It turns out to be a Boutique, so he cuts off and dials for the Operator, asking the area code for Washington DC. He dials again, adding the DC code. This time a man answers. He asks for the extension and is instantly put through, asking for Mister Wicks. The voice on the other end tells him he's not here right now, may he ask who's calling, please?. Turner slams the phone down.

Crossing the bridge in the Bronco, Joe drives. Still in terrible shock, Kathy asks what he did to 'those people'. He tells her he filed a report, his Section Chief reads it, comes to New York to shoot him. He didn't know Wicks, or the Mail Man – which means he won't know the next one that comes, either. Kathy's observation meets with grim resolve; Turner isn't going to wait for the next one. He drives on. Higgins paces his office, Mr. Wabash on the speaker box. The senior man asks if Turner is a double or dirty, Higgins doesn't know. Is he still in New York City?. The Deputy Director is clear on that one; 'I wouldn't be.' Turner poses a question – is there an intelligence network undetected within the C.I.A. linking certain Arabic-speaking countries with Dutch and Spanish?. Wabash tells a stressed-looking Higgins they are already visible, no need to become conspicuous. If Company agents aren't enough, use freelance. Use whatever is required, but end it.

Pulling up, Turner looks over to see that Kathy is ready for this. Pulling on a wool cap, she does her best to look ready. As she goes, he thanks her. She gets out and crosses to head towards the World Trade Center. In no time at all, she's standing in the reception of the C.I.A. New York offices, a badge proclaiming her to be a VISITOR. The receptionist tells her the way to Mr. Addison in Clearance and the 'prospective new recruit' goes around the corner, turning the wrong way to follow Turner's directions. Finally, she reaches a door marked; J.HIGGINS D. D. N. Y. and enters without knocking. Playing dumb to start with, she asks if he's Mr. Addison. He isn't. Apologising, she leaves with a smile. Later that afternoon, Turner looks down from the mezzanine as Kathy leans against a pillar. A girl waiting for her friend perhaps. As Higgins leaves, she signals up and follows, as does Joe. Higgins strides along, shadowed by Kathy as Turner brings up the Bronco. Higgins is eating his lunch when Kathy drops into the chair opposite. All sweet and light, she tells him she didn't get the job. She has a message; Dear Mister Higgins, this will introduce a friend of mine, Sparrowhawk. Please accompany her to the Nassau street exit. Now. Personally, she advises him to do it as he has a huge gun and is looking at them now. 

Higgins walks with Kathy, pulling on his gloves just in time to be bundled into the Bronco at gunpoint. She drives as, in back, Turner places his boot on Higgins' chest. Turner is worried about being DF'd (Direction Finding; the possibility Higgins is being tracked by radio beacon or transmitter.) Higgins notes that Turner really does read everything, but Joe's not in the mood; this is no book – something's rotten in the Company. Who hit the Lit Society?. His eyes full of amused contempt, the Deputy Director for New York answers that they had a big meeting about it. Turner's name came up. Unfazed, Joe shows him the slip of paper he took from the Mail Man. Five Continents Imports, ring a bell?. Taking the paper, Higgins looks it over, but looks confused when Condor mentions the Mail Man; they never use mail-men he claims. What about a very tall gentleman, about six foot four, blonde, strong like a farmer, not American, accent; near Germany, perhaps Alsace-Lorraine?. 

As Turner describes Joubert, we see the man himself busily and meticulously painting model soldiers in what looks to be a hotel room. His telephone rings and a voice asks if the letter was delivered. 'The return receipt has not arrived.' 'You should have delivered it yourself.' Joubert explains that a more complicated 'package' had to be handled... but he might have under-estimated this one. The voice says he was told (Joubert) never made that kind of mistake – which brings a flickering smile to the contract man's face. He will wait, for people who move – leave word of change-of-address.

Down on East River Lane, Wards Island, Kathy watches from the Bronco as Turner continues to interrogate Higgins. The DD tries to take control by demanding to see the report, but Turner insists he wants to know if he knows the man he described. 
Higgins – 'Professionally, yes.'
Turner - 'Professionally, he kills people.'
Higgins – 'Yes... yes.'
Turner – 'He works for the Company?.'
Higgins – 'He did, once – he's a contract agent.'
Turner – 'Contract agent?'
Higgins – 'Freelance. Where did you see him?.'
Turner (Shakes head) – 'Uh-uh.'
Higgins – 'It would help if I knew.'
Turner – 'Who would it help?. Who'd hire him now?'
Higgins – 'Anybody.'
Turner – 'Terrific answer!.'
Higgins – 'I wouldn't accept it either.'

Turner wants a name; when Higgins knew him, Joubert. Turner wants to know who'd hire him, you don't look up Jouberts from the Yellow Pages. The DD agrees – it would have to be someone in the community, the intelligence field. Community!. Joe is appalled at the misuse of the word. Higgins still wants that report. Turner tells him that report was sent to Headquarters and disappeared. Who read it?. Turner replies besides Wicks? - you tell me. He picks up traces of what he thinks are an intelligence network the Company doesn't know about. And he reports it. Now why is that going to make anybody mad?. Unless it was the Company's network - and Higgins didn't want it blown. Higgins says he doesn't know – that's what's bothering him. Nor can he ask Wicks as he died in Gouverneur Hospital. Someone yanked him off life support. Sick to the stomach, Turner appeals to Higgins to get him in. Turning, Higgins looks at him in a matter of fact way; what good would that do if he's right, if they're on the inside what good would that do?. Lost, Turner asks what to do. Shaking his head, Higgins has already written him off. At least he tells him he's sorry.

Turner gets the picture; Higgins expects him to draw fire, like a penny arcade Bear going backwards and forth waiting for someone very good to take a shot. And he's going to hang around and pick him up before he does it?, or just after?. Even in his spot, Higgins can only take so much – he turns and declares his intent is to try and find out what's going on and cross-check those names. Joe's heard enough and walks away. Higgins asks how he'll find Condor; he'll find Higgins when he needs to.

Pulling up to a gas station, Kathy asks Joe if he trusts Higgins. He raises his eyebrows at the word. 'Trust?' Does he trust Turner?. Higgins is in the suspicion business, he can't trust anyone. She says these people's mistrust makes it hard to believe they could be fooled. This sparks a thought in Joe's head. Maybe there's another CIA. Inside the CIA.

Night-time at a busy cross-section, the phone company engineers are digging noisily under electric lights, the noise of the generator blocking out most of the usual street noise. Timing his move carefully, Turner goes past and shuts off the valve on a gas tank and walks on a few paces before doubling back as the lights fail and the generator stutters to a halt. Smoothly, he goes around back of the phone company truck and lifts a briefcase from it. Next stop is to Sal Schillizzi, Master Locksmith, to show him the Mail Man's key. Its from a hotel room, but no tag. Turner protests that there's a code number cut in the edge. Suspicious, Sal asks if he's in the trade. Turner tells him he read it in a story – that's the lock manufacturer's code. Sal doesn't want to get involved, but Joe offers him some cash. Will he make the call?.

The Holiday Inn, West 57th Street and 9th Avenue. A liveried footman opens the door for a guest and Turner walks in with the case. At the hotel switchboard, he patches in with the engineer's telephone he took and dials up Room 819. Joubert sits reading the paper, a cigarette burning in the ashtray. Turner speaks; he's doing a survey. Does Joubert really believe the Condor is an endangered species?. There is, of course, no answer, but Joe didn't expect one. Quickly, he rings off, sticks one of those mail order suction-cup phone pick-ups on, plugged into a portable Sony cassette player/recorder which he sets recording. 

Joubert makes a call – and the tape picks up all the tones. Joubert informs the voice at the other end he's had an interesting call, about an all-but-extinct bird. Has he had such a call?. The other end isn't happy at being called there, he (Joubert) is a fool for calling there. The voice has not had any such call and Joubert jokes it must have been the Audubon Society, he assumes they are still located in New York City. (Of course, this is a coded reference to Condor still being in town.)

Next, Condor dials up the Langley Computer and the voice asks him to state his program at the tone. 'G'. CARRIAGE RETURN/TRS.' then 'Tone, Symbol for number.' A voice tells him the computer is ready and he plays the tones from the tape-recorder. A computerised voice; 'That number is 202 227-0098. All he has to do is call the CNA service at Langley and he has the address; Mr. Leonard Atwood, 365 Mackenzie Place, Chevy Chase, Maryland.

The Jet Ranger comes in to the grass pad at Langley and Higgins goes through to an Operations room that's more like something from NASA. A suite of video monitors, computers and communications equipment at which he sits with a computer operator and another CIA man. The Mail Man's corpse is shows from different angles, electronically transferred and retrieved from the scene. Then, a photo of him in USMC uniform. On-screen, the words;



Higgins tells the operator to cross-check it with Wicks' tape and hold the intersects. The screens fill with electronic text, changing too fast to read (With what look suspiciously like in-jokes hidden on screen) and, to Higgins' disgust the machine throws out some of Wick's measurements, including hat size; both Lloyd and Wicks took a seven in hat size. Finally, however, an intersect of interest;

HAVANA, CUBA/8-21-67
GHAT, LIBYA/1-14-68

Lucifer. Higgins tells the operator to run the name. This brings up an image of Joubert, for some reason in negative, followed by a negative image of a VW Beetle exploding somewhere in Europe. Text appears on screen claiming this to be the termination of free-lance agent G.Joubert, confirmed by the case officer - none other than Wicks, assisted by the Mail Man, Lloyd. Clearly something is very, very wrong inside the Company.

Kathy waits in the Bronco while Turner goes into the New York Telephone Company building. Going into the Equipment Room he finds a vastly more impressive set-up than the hotel exchange. The room is huge, racks of switch-gear stretching for the length of a city-block. Finally, he finds the one he's after and the red light and buzzer sound in the CIA's Panic Office. The Major picks up and Condor asks for Higgins. He routes him through and points to the waiting Deputy Director, NY to alert him to pick up.  

Condor gives him the Holiday Inn on 57th Street, room 819; if he moves fast he'll find the Alsatian gentleman they spoke of. Switching plugs to foil the trace, he asks who Leonard Atwood is. There's an awkward pause, largely because Leonard Atwood is sat right next to Higgins, as is Mr. Wabash. Higgins goes quiet. Condor asks where he is; no answer. His voice rich with amused irony Turner asks; 'Ain't we pals anymore?' And pulls the plug. The Major calls across that he's got him. A microfiche map viewer shows the trace. Condor's in Flatbush. 

What's he doing in Brooklyn?. It changes suddenly; Condor's in the East Village. Brooklyn Heights. Near Borough Hall, Brooklyn. The intersection of Henry and Clark Streets. A frustrated Major keeps trying to nail the trace, but Condor's got a telephone exchange to play with. Higgins demands to know what's going on. The sonovabitch wired together fifty phones!. Everybody in Brooklyn's talking to each other!.

At the Erie-Lackawanna-Hoboken Terminal, Kathy buys some cigarettes from the news-stand. Turner didn't know she smoked – she quit three years back. She asks what he's going to do. See a guy. She picks him up; no secrets. 'Like those pictures you hide.' Someday she'd like to show them to him. If he lives through this. Joe says she could drive him to Washington, but this is good-bye. 

Kathy says he has good qualities; his eyes, not kind, but they don't lie and rarely look away. They don't miss anything. She could use eyes like that. She's overdue in Vermont. Joe asks if her man is tough and the answer is; pretty tough. What will he do?. Understand, probably. 'Boy, that is tough.' His train is called and he has to go, but he asks for time, eight hours or so. He's telling her not to call anyone, not to tell anyone. When it comes to part, in that moment when it becomes so real, so final – it's hard for him to go or her to let him. 

At Langley, Mr. Wabash kills the waiting time with Higgins, asking why he isn't further along with the Company. Was he recruited out of school?. Korea. Higgins asks the old man if he served with Wild Bill in the OSS. Enigmatically, he replies he sailed the Adriatic with a movie star at the helm. 'Didn't seem like much of a war now, but... it was.' He goes even further back than that; ten years after the Great War, as it was known. 'Before we knew enough to number them.'

Higgins – 'You miss that kind of action, Sir?.'
Wabash – 'No. I miss that kind of clarity.'

The phone; 'He's being held at New York Center.' Nodding, Higgins clips his id badge on as the sound of his helicopter starting up on the pad comes through the wall. Fixing him with a look that belies his years, Wabash makes sure Higgins is clear on the Company's position.

Chevy Chase, Maryland. Atwood's house is what you'd expect of a senior official in government service; palatial. Set in it's own grounds, the Federalist style house is both impressive and well-lit by security lighting. No matter. The sound of loud music plays; 'I've got you where I want you'. Appropriate. The .45 sits on the large desk in Atwood's study, Condor sits in his leather chair. Executive. Atwood comes down the stairs in his pajamas and gown. Condor reaches for the automatic. Atwood wants to know what's going on. Reaching behind him, Condor never breaks eye contact as he switches off the music, levels and cocks the .45 and asks 'Who are you?.' 

Turner repeats the question as he gets up to walk around the desk. Atwood wants to know who's pointing a gun at him and Turner tells him, getting ahold of his dressing gown to walk him around the desk, asking what he does - pushing him back into his comfortable leather chair. By now nervous, Atwood responds; 'Deputy Director of Operations.' Section? 'Middle East.' Very close, very quiet, Turner asks what he's working on. What's the secret worth murdering everybody at the A.L.H.S. house? Despite himself, Atwood tries to lie, telling Joe there's no secret. Wicks saw his report though? - Atwood tries again, but Turner shakes the chair roughly and the truth comes as if of it's own volition. Wicks saw the (Condor's) report.

They say you can tell a lot by a man's eyes. Turner sees a lot in Atwood's now. He realises with a start that it was Turner's network he uncovered. Doing what? Doing what?. What does Operations care about a bunch of god-damn books?. A book in Dutch?. Atwood's face is contorted by absolute terror now, the muzzle of the .45 awfully demanding on his attention – Turner awfully demanding on the same. A book out of Venezuela? Mystery stories in Arabic?. Shouting now, Turner's at the end. What the hell's so important about... 'Oilfields.' Joe answers his own question. Oil. At once the terror is gone from Atwood's features, the burden of the lies lifted.

Turner – 'That's it, isn't it?. This whole damn thing's about oil.
Wasn't it? Wasn't it?.'
Atwood (Nods slightly, tense) – 'Yes, it was.'
Atwood's eyes flick over to the corner of the room momentarily.
Joubert – 'Don't turn for a moment.
Put your thumb in front of the hammer.'
Turner complies.
Joubert – 'Release it slowly.'
Turner complies.
Joubert – 'Set down the gun on the desk.'
Turner does this.
Joubert walks into the room, levelling a small automatic at Turner's back. He takes the .45 from the desk and ushers Joe back away from the desk, standing between him at Atwood, who's now visibly relieved, smiling even. 'You were quite good, Condor – until this. This move was predictable.' Joubert angles his automatic at Turner's temple and presses the trigger, blowing his brains out. 

Turner jumps back in shock, an inarticulate noise coming from him involuntarily. Joubert levels the .45 again, then pockets it. Working quickly, without haste, Joubert places the smaller auto in Atwood's hand before wiping the area down to remove prints. Suicide.

Turner – 'You're working for the Company again.'
Joubert – 'Yes. I am.'
Turner – 'Jesus, they took you back...'
Joubert – 'Just for this. For Atwood.'
Turner – 'How... he's with the Company – why?.'
Joubert – 'I don't interest myself in 'why',
I think more often in terms of 'when',
sometimes 'where' -
always 'how much?'.
I suspect he was about to become an embarassment.
As you are.'
Turner (Removes glasses in final acceptance) – 'So you're not finished?.'
Joubert – 'Um-pardon?, oh no,
I have no arrangement with the Company concerning you.
They didn't know you'd be here. I knew you'd be here.'
Turner – 'But didn't you send the Mail Man?.'
Joubert – 'That was a business arrangement with Atwood.
But, you see...' (Indicates the dead man with his head)

Joubert leaves, telling Turner to come with him as he switches off the light. Dazed, Turner stumbles out into the early dawn light. As a final touch, Joubert switches off the exterior lights, buttoning his overcoat as they walk down the drive. The assassin asks about the girl – what about her?. He wants to know how Joe chose her; age? Her car? Appearance?. It was Random. Chance. Joubert asks if Turner wants a lift; he'd like to go back to New York.

Joubert – 'You have not much future there.
(Takes pity on Turner)
It will happen this way.
You may be walking. It may be the first sunny day of the Spring...
and a car will slow beside you.
And the door will open...
And, someone you know, maybe even trust,
will get out of the car -
and he will smile, a becoming smile.
But he will leave open the door of the car...
and offer to give you a lift.'
Turner – 'You seem to understand it all so well.
What would you suggest?.'
Joubert – 'Personally, I prefer Europe.'

Joubert hints that Condor might like to try his profession; it's well-paid, no causes to believe in. Only the belief in one's own precision. Turner tells him he was born in the USA; he misses it when he's away too long. Joe asks if he can be dropped at Union station. It would be Joubert's pleasure. He offers Joe his .45 back. For that day.

Times Square. A Pontiac pulls up with another car shadowing it. Higgins gets out and, watching from across the street, Turner yells his name. Somewhere God rest Ye merry Gentlemen is playing. This and the Santa collecting for the blind somehow make it seem wrong. Out of whack somehow. A Torino rolls up and Turner takes it in. Beaming like he's meeting an old pal, Higgins crosses. Joe asks if the car's for him, Higgins tells him its safe, they have a few hours de-briefing to follow. Joe asks if, for the sake of argument he had a .45 aimed at Higgins and wanted to take a walk, he'd do it. He tells him to head West and stay ahead three or four steps. Joe looks to see the Torino is four-up and following slowly. Turner makes him wave them on ahead. 

Turner – 'Do we have plans to invade the Middle East?.'
Higgins – 'Are you crazy?.'
Turner – 'Am I?'
Higgins – 'Look, Turner...'
Turner – 'Do we have plans?'
Higgins – 'No. Absolutely not.
We have games, that's all.
We play games... 'What if?'
'How many men?' 'What would it take?.'
'Is there a cheaper way to destabilize a regime?'...
That's what we're paid to do.'

Turner surmises Atwood was really going to do it; Higgins states this was a renegade operation. Atwood knew 54/12 would never authorise, not with the heat on the Company. And if there wwas no heat on the Company?, if Turner hadn't stumbled onto the plan?. Coolly, the Deputy Director NY replies; 'Different ballgame.' Stubbornly, he stops to face Turner and claims the plan was fine, it would have worked. In disbelief, Joe asks what is it with these people – do they think not getting caught out on a lie is the same as telling the truth?. No, simple economics; 

Higgins – 'Today it's oil, right?.
In ten or fifteen years –
food, plutonium –
and maybe even sooner.
What do you think the people are going to want us to do then?.
Turner 'Ask them.'
Higgins – 'Not now. Then.
Ask them when they're running out.
Ask them when there's no heat and they're cold.
Ask them when their engines stop.
Ask them when people who have never
known hunger start going hungry.
Want to know something?
They won't want us to ask them.
They'll want us to get it for them.
Turner – 'Boy, have you found a home.'

Turner reminds Higgins seven people are dead. The reply is that Atwood did it. 
Who is Atwood anyway? He's you he's all you guys... Seven dead and they play 
fucking games. Resolute, Higgins determines that as the other side play games 
too, they can't let Condor stay 'outside.' Joe tells Higgins to go on home – they've 
got it. He knows where they are – that's where they ship from. Higgins looks and 
sees a truck backing up laden with reels of paper, backing up to the New York 
Suddenly suspicious he asks what Turner did. He told them a story – Higgins
plays games, Turner told them a story. The DDNY calls Joe a poor son of a bitch, 
says he's done more damage than he knows. Joe hopes so. He walks away as 
Higgins tells him he's about to be a very lonely man. The Salvation Army are 
singing God rest Ye merry Gentlemen. Higgins calls to him 'How do you know 
they'll print it?. You can take a walk, but how far if they don't print it?.' Turner 
shoots back that they'll print it. 
Higgins asks 'How do you know?.' Backing away 
with doubt and uncertainty clouding his features, Joe Turner walks away, looking 
over his shoulder. As he will have to do for the rest of his life...
Below: Theatrical Trailer.
Japanese Movie Poster
I've been meaning to cover this film for a long time; I mentioned it in a post on 
conspiracy thrillers, but this really is a classic and needed it's own review. The film 
is one of the greatest of the Watergate-Era conspiracy movies – Robert Redford 
went on to star in All the President's men (1976). Nowadays, the mention of the 
C.I.A. in a film conjures up visions of high-tech control rooms and bad men in 
cheap suits murdering their own. This film helped shape that view, however 
inaccurate. Echoes of the film can be seen in unlikely places; Redford stars in the 
2014 film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which copies elements of the film's 
Max von Sydow's character Joubert is a likable, if amoral killer.
Robert Redford later starred in a personal favourite; Sneakers (1992) His 
performance in Condor set the bar for Conspiracy thrillers. Faye Dunaway's Kathy
Hale  is sexy, bright, flawed and layered. An impressive outing. Max von Sydow's
character Joubert is flawless. You can't help, but like the man despite his 
loathsome trade. Cliff Robertson plays Higgins, the CIA Deputy Director New
York. Whether he's good, bad or just on the fence takes you the whole film to work
out. Maybe not even then... Hank Garrett's Mailman is menacing, pitiless and
utterly believable. Probably the finest screen assassin before Javier Bardem's Anton
Chigurh in No Country for Old Men (2007).  The rest of the cast add to the whole with
credible, convincing performances.
Hank Garrett is the Mailman. Got a pen?.
Celebrated Director Sydney Pollack worked with star Robert Redford in films such
as The way we were (1973) and Out of Africa (1985), being brought in to helm after 
Redford replaced Warren Beatty. (Beatty was to have been directed by Peter Yates,
who was paid his $200,000 fee for doing nothing.) Look out for Pollack as the 
Cabbie who nearly runs Condor down, and as the voice of Kathy's boyfriend on the
Discussing the finer points of film-making with Director Sydney Pollack.
Co-Star Faye Dunaway famously said she didn't mind being 
kidnapped and tied up by Redford – she'd wanted to work with him for years. 
Former CIA Director Richard Helms on set with Redford. (Photo Getty images/Terry O'Neill)
Richard Helms, the former C.I.A. Director acted as personal assistant to Robert 
Redford. As an aside, Wabash's character references his OSS service in WWII – he 
mentions sailing the adriatic with a movie star at the helm. 
The Press Book.
This is undoubtedly Sterling Hayden, who worked with the OSS under the 
pseudonym John Hamilton  as a blockade runner in the Adriatic, resupplying 
Yugoslav partisans. The film was shot in Autumn, but set in December, to trees had 
to be defoliated, a process Robert Redford scrutinised closely; Redford is a long-
time ecologist. 

French Poster.
There are a few problems; even reading books for a living you don't learn some of 
the skills Joseph Turner displays. His basic C.I.A. training may have included such 
topics as lock-picking, surveillance and counter-surveillance drills, but these are 
skills that take repeated practice to develop. It's just... he's too slick too soon. He 
starts off as a book-geek and suddenly he's Jason Bourne's Dad.  
During the hi-tech video sequence we see colour-reversed images of Joubert, including the one above; by inverting the colours it's clear that's actually a frame from the lift scene.
Just visible at top; Winipeg?
Just visible at bottom; the wire from the squibs passing through jenning's trouser leg and off to the left. These squibs simulate bullet hits.
His resume  includes working on telephones, so perhaps the phone-tap sequences 
pass  unscathed beneath my frowning gaze here. Kathy goes from tied-up 
hostage to sexual partner in next-to-no-time. 
VHS Cassette cover.
I do wonder what happened to Poncho; after  the hit on the ALHS house he's never 
seen again. Perhaps if they'd sent him in after the Mail Man Condor would have 
been properly plucked. At any rate, however, if  this isn't on your movie-shelf
/shelves you need to get onto  Amazon. Just watch what boots the Mail-Man is