Faye Dunaway in “Three Days of the Condor”
The inimitably glamorous Faye Dunaway was in the peak of her career in the mid 1970s, having just received a second Oscar nomination for Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown,” and thus awards attention for a glorified Supporting role in commercial and critical success “Three Days of the Condor,” isn’t all that surprising. In marrying a Hitchcockian narrative with the world of paranoid espionage, Sidney Lumet’s Cold War thriller heavily relies upon an at-sea Robert Redford to inject dynamism as recompense for limply-constructed plotting. Dubbed the ‘condor’, neither he nor his choice of prey, the fitfully meek Faye Dunaway, express a lasting sense of burden from having been thrust into a dangerous situation together, exhibiting no real chemistry or dramatic impetus as a pairing.
Dunaway’s artsy Kathy is underwritten, the actress sidelined by the blandness of the script, and the confusion of just what her character is supposed to represent. Is she simply a responsible citizen compelled by love, or does she fit into the political concerns of the narrative? Honestly, I’ve no idea, and judging by the way that Dunaway approaches this performance; introspectively retreating while pondering the dearth of interest going on around her, hardly helps you to consider Kathy’s position. I suppose there’s a mild pendulous quality to the way that she hangs onto an arc, but moments of clarity, however embedded in Dunaway’s consciousness, fail to reveal themselves.
What makes 1975’s slate of actresses so atypical is that it doesn’t contain a movie star performance, Dunaway’s recognition by the Golden Globes (who else, right?) rendering her the closest member of A-list royalty to breach this category’s shortlist, but unable to convince the Academy that she was worthy of nomination number three. Rest assured that they got this one right.
Accolades: Golden Globe Nomination (Best Actress in a Leading Role, Drama)