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The Conversation

theatrical poster
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Produced by Francis Ford Coppola
Written by Francis Ford Coppola
Starring Gene Hackman
John Cazale
Allen Garfield
Cindy Williams
Frederic Forrest
Music by David Shire
Cinematography Bill Butler
Editing by Richard Chew
Walter Murch
Studio Paramount Pictures
American Zoetrope
The Directors Company
The Coppola Company
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) April 7 1974 (NYC)
Running time 113 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,600,000

The Conversation is a 1974 American thriller film about audio surveillance, written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Allen Garfield, Cindy Williams and Frederic Forrest, and featuring Harrison Ford, Teri Garr and an uncredited appearance from Robert Duvall.

The Conversation won the Golden Palm at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival,[1] and in 1995, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Originally, Paramount Pictures distributed the film worldwide. Paramount retains American rights to this day, but international rights are now held by Miramax Films and StudioCanal in conjunction with American Zoetrope.

Contents

Plot

Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) is a paranoid surveillance expert running his own company in San Francisco, and is highly respected by others in the profession. Caul is obsessed with his own privacy; his apartment is almost bare behind its triple-locked door, he uses pay phones to make calls and claims to have no home telephone, and his office is enclosed in wire mesh in a corner of a much larger warehouse. Caul is utterly professional at work, but he finds personal contact difficult. He is uncomfortable in dense crowds and withdrawn and taciturn in more intimate situations; he is also reticent and secretive with work colleagues. He is nondescript in appearance, except for his habit of wearing a translucent plastic raincoat virtually everywhere he goes, even when it is not raining.

Despite his insistence that his professional code means that he is not responsible for worrying about the actual content of the conversations he records or the uses to which his clients put his surveillance activities, he is, in fact, wracked by guilt over a past wiretap job that left three persons dead. His sense of guilt is sharpened by his devout Catholicism. His one hobby is playing along with his favourite jazz records on a tenor saxophone in the privacy of his apartment.

Caul and his friend Stan (John Cazale) have taken on the task of monitoring the conversation of a couple (Cindy Williams and Frederic Forrest) as they walk through crowded Union Square in San Francisco. This challenging task is accomplished, but Caul feels increasingly agonized over his doubts about the actual meaning of the conversation and about what may happen to the couple once the client hears the tape. He plays the tape again and again throughout the movie, refining its accuracy (by catching one key – though crucially ambiguous – phrase hidden under the sound of a street musician: "He'd kill us if he got the chance") and constantly reinterpreting its meaning in the light of what he knows and what he guesses.

Caul avoids handing in the tape to the aide (Harrison Ford) of the man who commissioned the surveillance (Robert Duvall in an uncredited appearance). He then finds himself under increasing pressure from the aide and is himself followed, tricked, and listened in on. The tape is eventually stolen from him in a moment when his guard is down.

Caul's appalled efforts to forestall tragedy ultimately fail — and, it turns out, the conversation might not mean what he thought it did, and the tragedy he anticipated isn't the one that eventually happens. In the final scene, he has come to believe that his own apartment is bugged and goes on a frantic search for the listening device, tearing up the floorboards and destroying his apartment. He fails to find it. At the film's end he is left sitting amidst the wreckage, calmly playing his saxophone.

Cast

Production

On the DVD commentary, Coppola says he was shocked to learn that the film utilized the very same surveillance and wire-tapping equipment that members of the Nixon Administration used to spy on political opponents prior to the Watergate scandal. Coppola has said this is the reason the film gained part of the recognition it has received, but that this is entirely coincidental. Not only was the script for The Conversation completed in the mid-1960s (before the Nixon Administration came to power), but that the spying equipment used in the film was discovered through research and the use of technical advisers, and not, as many believed, by revelatory newspaper stories about the Watergate break-in. Coppola also noted that filming of The Conversation had been completed several months before the most revelatory Watergate stories broke in the press. Since the film wasn't released to theaters until several months after Richard Nixon had resigned the Presidency, Coppola says, audiences interpreted the film to be a reaction to both the Watergate scandal and its fall-out.

The original cinematographer of The Conversation was Haskell Wexler. Severe creative and personal differences with Coppola led to Wexler's firing shortly after production began, Coppola replacing him with Bill Butler. Wexler's footage on The Conversation was completely reshot, except for the technically complex surveillance scene in Union Square.[4] This would be the first of two Oscar-nominated films where Wexler would be fired and replaced by Butler, the second being One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), where Wexler had similar problems with Milos Forman.

Walter Murch served as the supervising editor and sound designer. Murch had more or less a free hand during the editing process, since Coppola was already working on The Godfather II at the time.[5]. Coppola noted in the DVD commentary that Hackman had a very difficult time adapting to the Harry Caul character because it was so much unlike himself. Coppola says that Hackman was at the time an outgoing and approachable person who preferred casual clothes, whereas Caul was meant to be a socially awkward loner who wore a rain coat and out-of-style glasses. Coppola said that Hackman's efforts to tap into the character made the actor moody and irritable on-set, but otherwise Coppola got along well with his leading man. Coppola also notes on the commentary that Hackman considers this one of his favorite performances.

The Conversation features a piano score composed and performed by David Shire. The score was created before the film was shot.[6] On some cues, Shire took the taped sounds of the piano and distorted them in different ways to create alternative tonalities to round out the score. The score was released on CD by Intrada Records in 2001.[7]

Influence

Coppola has cited Michelangelo Antonioni's Blowup (1966) as a key influence on his conceptualization of the film's themes, such as surveillance versus participation, and perception versus reality. "Francis had seen [it] a year or two before, and had the idea to fuse the concept of Blowup with the world of audio surveillance."[8]. There are also several overt borrowings from Blowup, notably the presence of mimes in both films and the central sequences involving the enhancement of a medium to reveal details previously unnoticed (photography in Blowup, audio tapes in The Conversation).

Awards

In 1995, The Conversation was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". It won the 1974 Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards for 1974:

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Conversation". festival-cannes.com. http://www.festival-cannes.com/en/archives/ficheFilm/id/2226/year/1974.html. Retrieved 2009-04-26.  
  2. ^ Richard Hackman at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ Gian-Carlo Coppola at the Internet Movie Database
  4. ^ Stafford, Jeff The Conversation (TCM article)
  5. ^ Ondaatje, 2002, p. 157
  6. ^ discussion of soundtrack
  7. ^ Intrada Special Collection Volume 2
  8. ^ Murch in Ondaatje, 2002, p. 152

Bibliography

External links


The Conversation
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Produced by Francis Ford Coppola
Written by Francis Ford Coppola
Starring Gene Hackman
John Cazale
Allen Garfield
Cindy Williams
Frederic Forrest
Music by David Shire
Cinematography Bill Butler
Editing by Richard Chew
Walter Murch
Studio American Zoetrope
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) April 7 1974 (NYC)
Running time 113 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,600,000

The Conversation is a 1974 mystery thriller about audio surveillance, written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Allen Garfield, Cindy Williams and Frederic Forrest, and featuring Harrison Ford, Teri Garr and an uncredited appearance from Robert Duvall.

The Conversation won the Golden Palm at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival,[1] and in 1995, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Contents

Plot

Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) is a paranoid surveillance expert running his own company in San Francisco, and is highly respected by others in the profession. Caul is obsessed with his own privacy; his apartment is almost bare behind its triple-locked door, he uses pay phones to make calls and claims to have no home telephone, and his office is enclosed in wire mesh in a corner of a much larger warehouse. Caul is utterly professional at work, but he finds personal contact difficult. He is uncomfortable in dense crowds and withdrawn and taciturn in more intimate situations; he is also reticent and secretive with work colleagues. He is nondescript in appearance, except for his habit of wearing a translucent plastic raincoat virtually everywhere he goes, even when it is not raining.

Despite his insistence that his professional code means that he is not responsible for worrying about the actual content of the conversations he records or the uses to which his clients put his surveillance activities, he is, in fact, wracked by guilt over a past wiretap job that left three persons dead. His sense of guilt is sharpened by his devout Catholicism. His one hobby is playing along with his favourite jazz records on a tenor saxophone in the privacy of his apartment.

Caul has taken on the task of monitoring the conversation of a couple (Cindy Williams and Frederic Forrest) as they walk through crowded Union Square in San Francisco. This challenging task is accomplished, but Caul feels increasingly agonized over his doubts about the actual meaning of the conversation and about what may happen to the couple once the client hears the tape. He plays the tape again and again throughout the movie, refining its accuracy (by catching one key – though crucially ambiguous – phrase hidden under the sound of a street musician: "He'd kill us if he got the chance") and constantly reinterpreting its meaning in the light of what he knows and what he guesses.

Caul avoids handing in the tape to the aide of the man who commissioned the surveillance. He then finds himself under increasing pressure from the aide and is himself followed, tricked, and listened in on. The tape is eventually stolen from him in a moment when his guard is down.

Caul's appalled efforts to forestall tragedy ultimately fail — and, it turns out, the conversation might not mean what he thought it did, and the tragedy he anticipated isn't the one that eventually happens. In the final scene, he discovers that his own apartment is bugged and goes on a frantic search for the listening device, tearing up the floorboards and destroying his apartment. He fails to find it. At the film's end he is left sitting amidst the wreckage, calmly playing his saxophone.

Cast

, as paranoid audio surveillance expert Harry Caul, plays the saxophone in his apartment, which he took apart piece by piece trying to find a bug. The scene vividly illustrates Caul's complete emotional isolation by having him literally tear away practically every vestige of the material world that surrounds him, shattering the safety and security of his carefully-constructed womb.]]

Production

Though the script was written in the mid-1960s, the film was released shortly after the Watergate scandal broke and thus reflected contemporary issues of personal responsibility and the encroachment of technology on privacy. On the DVD commentary, Coppola says he was shocked to learn that the film utilized the very same surveillance and wire-tapping equipment that members of the Nixon Administration were using as per the scandal.

Coppola believes this is the reason the film gained part of the recognition it did, as audiences members interpreted the film's subtext as a direct and timely attack on the Nixon Administration, whose complicity in the Watergate Scandal was front-page news at the time. But Coppola notes that this is entirely coincidental. Not only was the script for The Conversation completed in the mid-1960s (before the Nixon Administration came to power), but that the spying equipment used in the film was discovered through research and the use of technical advisers, and not, as many believed, by revelatory newspaper stories about the Watergate Scandal. Coppola also noted that filming of The Conversation had been completed several months before the most revelatory Watergate stories broke in the press. But since the film wasn't released to theaters until several months after Richard Nixon had resigned the Presidency, Coppola says, audiences interpreted the film to be a reaction to both the Watergate Scandal and its fall-out.

The original cinematographer of The Conversation was Haskell Wexler. Severe creative and personal differences with Coppola led to Wexler's firing shortly after production began, Coppola replacing him with Bill Butler. Wexler's footage on The Conversation was completely reshot, except for the technically complex surveillance scene in Union Square.[4] This would be the first of two Oscar-nominated films where Wexler would be fired and replaced by Butler, the second being One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), where Wexler had similar problems with Milos Forman.

Much of the style of the film owes a debt to Walter Murch, the supervising editor and sound designer. Murch had more or less a free hand during the editing process, since Coppola was already working on The Godfather II at the time.[5].

While Gene Hackman's character name Harry Caul was supposedly the result of a typo, the spelling leads to a marvelous visual pun. A caul is a fetal membrane that protects the fetus at birth. Hackman's character is seen wearing a thin, translucent rain coat, even in the sun. Coppola often uses visual puns and in this case it supports the character interpretation of Harry Caul as a depressive paranoid man who layers his clothing superfluously in response to infantile desires and feelings of vulnerability. Coppola noted in the DVD commentary that Hackman had a very difficult time adapting to the Harry Caul character because it was so much unlike himself. Coppola says that Hackman was at the time an outgoing and approachable actor who preferred casual clothes, whereas Caul was meant to be a rather geeky and sullen loner who wore a rain coat and out-of-style glasses. Coppola said that Hackman's efforts to tap into the character made the actor moody and irritable on-set, but otherwise Coppola got along well with his leading man. Coppola also notes on the commentary that Hackman considers this one of his favorite performances.

The Conversation features an austere piano score composed and performed by David Shire. The score was created before the film was shot.[6] On some cues, Shire took the taped sounds of the piano and distorted them in different ways to create alternative tonalities to round out the score. The music is intended to capture the isolation and paranoia of protagonist Harry Caul. The score was released on CD by Intrada Records in 2001.[7]

Influence

Coppola has cited Michelangelo Antonioni's Blowup (1966) as a key influence on his conceptualization of the film's themes, such as surveillance versus participation, and perception versus reality. "Francis had seen [it] a year or two before, and had the idea to fuse the concept of Blowup with the world of audio surveillance."[8]. There are also several overt borrowings from Blowup, notably the presence of mimes in both films and the central sequences involving the enhancement of a medium to reveal details previously unnoticed (photography in Blowup, audio tapes in The Conversation). Coppola has also noted the influence of Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf on the figure of Harry Caul (Ondaatje, 2002, p. 152) and (in the hotel bathroom scene) Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.[citation needed]

The concept of an audio technician using his expertise in the investigation of a possible crime was also copied in the 1981 film Blow Out. Like The Conversation, it was inspired by Blowup.

In the X-Files episode "E.B.E.", FBI Agent Fox Mulder (played by David Duchovny), while searching for evidence of electronic surveillance in his apartment, tears his living quarters asunder in a manner similar to Harry Caul's ransacking of his own apartment. X-Files creator Chris Carter has acknowledged the scene was an homage to The Conversation.

The film influenced the 1998 spy thriller Enemy of The State which starred Hackman and Will Smith.

In series 1, episode 3 of British comedy Spaced, a man bearing a striking resemblance to Harry Caul can be seen listening to a conversation taking place in the main characters' flat.

The Industrial music band Clock DVA uses an extended sample of a Harry Caul monologue on the track The Connection Machine from their 1989 album Buried Dreams.

Awards

In 1995, The Conversation was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". It won the 1974 Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards for 1974:

References

Notes

  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Conversation". festival-cannes.com. http://www.festival-cannes.com/en/archives/ficheFilm/id/2226/year/1974.html. Retrieved on 2009-04-26. 
  2. ^ Richard Hackman at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ Gian-Carlo Coppola at the Internet Movie Database
  4. ^ Stafford, Jeff The Conversation (TCM article)
  5. ^ Ondaatje, 2002, p. 157
  6. ^ discussion of soundtrack
  7. ^ Intrada Special Collection Volume 2
  8. ^ Murch in Ondaatje, 2002, p. 152

Bibliography

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Conversation is a 1974 film about a paranoid and personally-secretive surveillance expert who has a crisis of conscience when he suspects that a couple he is spying on will be murdered.

Written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
Harry Caul will go anywhere to bug a private conversation. taglines

Contents

Harry Caul

  • [on the phone] This is Harry Caul from upstairs...Yes, well, thank you very much. Thank you...You're really very nice, yes, but...what I wanted to talk to you about was how did you put it in the apartment?...What about the alarm? Oh you did?...I thought I had the only key...well, what emergency could possibly...all right, yes. You see, I would be perfectly happy to have all my personal things burned up in a fire because I don't have anything personal. Nothing of value. No, nothing personal except my keys, you see, which I really would like to have the only copy of, Mrs. Evangelista. As of today, my mail will go to a post-office box with a combination on it and no keys. Goodbye.
  • [in a confessional] Bless me Father for I have sinned. Three months since my last confession. I - these are my sins. Took the Lord's name in vain on several occasions. On a number of occasions, I've taken newspapers from the racks without paying for them. I've - deliberately taken pleasure in impure thoughts. I've been involved in some work that I think, I think will be used to hurt these two young people. It's happened to me before. People were hurt because of my work and I'm afraid it could happen again and I'm - I was in no way responsible. I'm not responsible. For these and all my sins of my past life, I am heartily sorry.
  • [to an exhibitor] I build all my own equipment. Thank you.
  • It had nothin' to do with me, I mean, I just turned in the tapes...What they do with the tapes is their own business.
  • Oh God, what I have done. I have to destroy the tapes. It cannot happen again. The family was murdered because of me. Oh God, no protection. I can find them wherever they go, and I can hear them.
  • [to Ann, in a dream] Listen, my name is Harry Caul. Can you hear me? Don't be afraid. I know you don't know who I am, but I know you. There isn't much to say about myself. I - was very sick when I was a boy. I was paralyzed in my left arm and my left leg. I couldn't walk for six months. One doctor said that I'd probably never walk again. My mother used to lower me into a hot bath - it was therapy. One time the doorbell rang and she went down to answer it. I started sliding down. I could feel the water starting to come up to my chin, up to my nose, and when I woke up, my body was all greasy from the holy oil she put on my body. I remember being disappointed I survived. When I was five, my father introduced me to a friend of his, and for no reason at all, I hit him right in the stomach with all my strength. He died a year later. He'll kill ya if he gets the chance. I'm not afraid of death but I am afraid of murder.

Martin Stett

  • Now look, don't get involved in this, Mr. Caul. Those tapes are dangerous. You heard 'em. You know what I mean. Someone may get hurt. Mr. Caul, be careful.
  • [to Harry] I'm not following you, I'm looking for you. There's a big difference.
  • [to Harry] We want you to deliver the tapes on Sunday, one o'clock. The Director will be there. He'll accept the tapes from you, in person.
  • [to Harry] You know that means we've been watching you. We have the tapes. They are perfectly safe. The Director was very anxious to hear them as soon as possible and you seemed to be, I don't know, disturbed. I couldn't take the chance that you might destroy our tapes. You understand, don't you, Mr Caul? Our tapes have nothing to do with you. Why don't you come over now and bring the photographs? The Director's here and he's prepared to pay you in full.
  • We know that you know, Mr. Caul. For your own sake, don't get involved any further. We'll be listening to you.

Stan

  • There isn't all that much you ever let me in on, Harry. You won't show me anything. You keep it all to yourself. You know damn well you will.
  • This is a quad in the center of the city. These are steps coming in here, benches all around. Now it's twelve noon, which means that it's lunchtime for all the people that work in these offices around here. OK, the people are walking, talking, having lunch and it's crowded...Two people are constantly moving in circles in and out of the crowd. We don't know whether they'll sit down or what. They're convinced that they can't be recorded because they're in a crowd and constantly moving. They're the target. Now the assignment is to get everything they say. How would you do it?

Bernie Moran

  • There is no moment between human beings that I cannot record and there is no method that I cannot figure out. I could figure out any of Harry's schemes, right?
  • I've gotta give credit where credit is due, right? I mean abracadabra, Harry. You see, I'm number two Harry, I have to try harder....The bugger got bugged, huh?

Other

  • The Director: I'm tired of this lying, all right. I'm tired of lies!

Dialogue

Stanley: Who's interested in these two, anyway?
Harry: I don't know for sure.
Stanley: The Justice Department?
Harry: No.
Stanley: Then I figure it must be the Infernal Revenue. Their tapes always put me to sleep.
Harry: Since when are you here to be entertained?
Stanley: Sometimes it's nice to know what they're talking about.
Harry: I don't care what they're talking about. All I want is a nice fat recording.

Ann: I don't know what I'm gonna get him for Christmas yet. He's already got everything.
Mark: He doesn't need anything anymore.
Ann: Well, I haven't decided what I'm gonna get you yet.
Mark: Better start looking.
Ann: What about me?
Mark: You'll see.
Ann: A lot of fun you are. You're supposed to tease me, give me hints, make me guess, you know.
Mark: Does it bother you?
Ann: What?
Mark: Walking around in circles.
Ann: [spotting a derelict on the park bench] Oh look, that's terrible.
Mark: He's not hurting anyone.
Ann: Neither are we. Oh God. Every time I see one of those old guys, I-I always think the same thing.
Mark: What do you think?
Ann: I always think that he was once somebody's baby boy...and he had a mother and a father who loved him. And now, there he is, half-dead on a park bench and where is his mother or his father or his uncles now? Anyway, that's what I always think.
Mark: I always think of how when they had the newspaper strike in New York, more of those old guys died. Fifty of them frozen died in one night.
Ann: Just because there were no newspapers?
Mark: Really.

Amy: Does something special happen between us on your birthday?
Harry: Like what?
Amy: Something personal.
Harry: What?
Amy: Like, uhm, telling me about yourself. Your secrets?
Harry: I don't have any secrets.
Amy: I'm your secret. You do have secrets, Harry? I know you do. Sometimes you come over here and you don't tell me. Once I saw you up by the staircase, hiding and watching for a whole hour. You think you're gonna catch me at something, you know? I know when you come over. I can always tell. You have a certain way of opening up the door. You know, first the key goes in real quiet, and then the door comes open real fast, just like you think you're gonna catch me at something. Sometimes I even think you're listening to me when I'm talking on the telephone.
Harry: What are you talking about?
Amy: I don't know. I just feel it. Really, I do.

Amy: Where do you work, Harry?
Harry: Oh, in different places, different jobs. I'm kinda a musician. A free-lance musician.
Amy: Where do you live? And why can't I call you over there?
Harry: 'Cause I don't have a telephone.
Amy: Do you live alone?
Harry: Why are you asking me all these questions?
Amy: Because it's your birthday.
Harry: I don't want people to ask me a lot of questions.
Amy: I want to know you.
Harry: Yes, I know you want to. I don't feel like answering any more questions.

Harry: You never used to ask a lot of questions.
Amy: Harry, I was so happy when you came over tonight. When I heard you open up the door, my toes were dancing under the covers. But I don't think I'm gonna wait for you anymore.

Ann: Do you think we can do this?
Mark: I'm tired of drinking anyhow...I'm tired of mostly everything.
Ann: Tired of me?
Mark: Tired of you, but not today.

Stan: What the hell are they talkin' about, for Chrissake?!
Harry: Well, I'm gettin' fed up.
Stan: About what?
Harry: About your asking me questions all day long.
Stan: Jesus!
Harry: Don't say that.
Stan: Well, for Chrissakes!
Harry: Stan, don't say that again, please. Don't use that word in vain. It bothers me.
Stan: What's the matter, Harry?
Harry: Your work's getting sloppy. We'd have a much better track here if you'd paid more attention to the recording and less attention to what they were talking about.

Stan: Harry, if you filled me in a little bit, once in a while, did you ever think of that?
Harry: It has nothing to do with me and even less to do with you.
Stan: It's curiosity. Did you ever hear of that? It's just god-damned human nature.
Harry: Listen, if there's one sure-fire rule that I have learned in this business is that I don't know anything about human nature. I don't know anything about curiosity. That's not part of what I do. This is my business.

Ann: I love you.
Mark: We're spending too much time together here.
Ann: No, let's stay just a little longer.
Mark: He'd kill us if he got the chance.

Bernie: Let me tell you somethin' about Harry Caul...I know you heard this a thousand times, Harry, but let me say it again. Here's to Harry - the best bar none. I'll drink to that.
Harry: The best what?
Bernie: The best bugger on the West Coast.

Meredith: I want to hear all about you. Where are you from?
Harry: New York.
Meredith: I used to live in New York. At first, I worked as a receptionist and then I got promoted to secretary and then I was promoted to gal-Friday and special assistant to the Boss. Then I married him. Do you live far from here? Harry?
Harry: Are you still married?
Meredith: Oh, I don't know. Probably. Why then, maybe I am. The last thing I heard, he was trying to scrape up enough money to buy another hardware store. And I ended up out here in San Francisco - unemployed - which is the entire story of my life up until tonight. You don't like me very much, do you? You don't want to talk to me or anything.
Harry: I didn't say that.
Meredith: Something is on your mind. I wish you'd tell me. I do, I wish that, I wish that you'd feel that you could talk to me and, and that we could be friends, I mean, aside from all of this junk.
Harry: If you were a girl who waited for someone...
Meredith: You can trust me.
Harry: ...and you never really knew when he was gonna come to see you. You just lived in a room alone and you knew nothing about him. And if you loved him and were patient with him, and even though he didn't dare ever tell you anything about himself personally, even though he may have loved you, would you..would you, would you go back to him?
Meredith: How would I know - how would I know that he loved me?
Harry: You'd have no way of knowing.

Harry: You should have seen it, though. These new microphones are just incredible. They really - I couldn't really believe it myself. We were over two hundred yards away and it was absolutely readable. I broke in a couple newreel cameramen and, you should have been there, Bernie, it was really...
Lurleen: What did they do?
Harry: Well, they took the cross-hairs of the telescope and they lined it up on the mouths of the...
Lurleen: No, the boy and the girl, what did they do?
Harry: Oh, I don't know. But it was really beautiful. Really something to see.

Harry: It's no ordinary conversation. It makes me feel...something.
Meredith: Forget it, Harry. It's only a trick.
Harry: What?
Meredith: A job. You're not supposed to feel anything about it. You're just supposed to do it. That's all. Relax, honey.

Martin: Do you want to hear that again?
The Director: [angrily] You want it to be true!
Martin: No, I don't. I just want you to know whatever you need to know. That's all.

Taglines

  • Harry Caul will go anywhere to bug a private conversation.
  • Harry Caul is an invader of privacy. The best in the business. He can record any conversation between two people anywhere. So far, three people are dead because of him.

Cast

External links

Wikipedia
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