Screengrab: Connery Got It Taped


Richard Lutz points to the film of the week on your flatscreen.

It was never a big hit for Sean Connery. But over the years The Anderson Tapes (Friday; Film4, 11.00) has slowly seeped into our view. It is prescient, a dire warning.

And for good reason too. Now more than four decades old, it told the then-almost unbelievable tale of how 1970s secret state and private surveillance marks every step, records every breathe, listens to every word while you go about your business.

Of course, the business for a post 007 Connery is undertaking is large scale theft- he wants to rob and burgle an entire apartment block in the fancy part of Manhattan.

With him is a good cast: Martin Balsam, Dyan Cannon, Alan King and a young (was he ever young?) Christopher Walken.

And of course a good hard story. And all to a tight Quincy Jones soundtrack

And beneath the plot is that secret surveillance which is now such a part of our lives whether you agree with Snowden’s revelations, whether you agree or not with street CCTV or whether you hate or find funny all the Murdoch taping of private chitchat.

Connery is solid, charismatic, as every move is slapped down on tape as he plans and carries out the million dollar heist. Walken is, as you would guess, in his early creepy stage and Marty Balsam, so much the professional supporting actor, does a good turn as a camp conspirator who finally (spoiler, spoiler) spills the beans on his pals.

Sidney Lumet, the superb director, basally warns of this surveillance state which now exists for good or bad. All are caught in the web of spying. And we are all victims whether we are  mere worker drones as we peep about, rich statesmen or radical students, powerful politicians or mundane proles.

The Anderson Tapes warned us about this in 1971 – now it seems normal. And that’s bad.