27 October 2011 | bkoganbing
51 Manchurian Candidates Get A Wake Up Call
Telefon casts Charles Bronson as a KGB agent on assignment in America trying to stop Donald Pleasance from igniting World War III. Bronson is aided and abetted uneasily by CIA agent Lee Remick and the two of them get involved with each other as well as the mission at hand.
It's quite a mission they have, Pleasance is an old line Stalinist and he's noticed the new regime is slowly doing away with his kind. So he knows about this operation involving 51 Manchurian candidates who are Russian sleeper agents the way Laurence Harvey was in the Manchurian Candidate. With the proper phrase these people who are under hypnosis and just living regular humdrum lives get a signal to complete a mission involving sabotage of some military installation in their area. Pleasance has come to America to set these agents off.
It might have been a whole lot easier to just dial long distance once he was out of the Soviet Union, but apparently Pleasance is also getting a few jollies and really wants to see his handiwork. Bronson gets the list and follows Pleasance's trail hoping to head him off.
A nice cast of talented players pulls off and makes entertaining when you think about it, a really silly Cold War era story. Pleasance as usual pulls all the stops out as the villain and Bronson is his usual menacing self. His loyal legion of fans might like Telefon, I'm kind of partial to it myself, but I recognize it's illogicality.