Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Questions about THE CONVERSATION.....


FredCDobbs
 Share

Recommended Posts

This film seems to me to have some plot flaws.

 

For example, to get into his apartment, Harry Caul unlocks three different types of deadbolts on his door, including one that uses a round key. Round-key locks are nearly impossible to pick.

 

His landlady has left a birthday gift just inside his door, inside his apartment.

 

He calls her and asked how she was able to get into his apartment. Then he says, "I thought I had the only key". But the landlady said she had to have a key too in case of an emergency in the building.

 

Well, what about the other two locks? Those are obviously ones that Caul himself installed, so why didn't he say he thought he had "the only three keys"? How did the landlady get the other two keys to the locks he installed himself? And why didn't he mention the other two keys to her?

 

----------------------------------

 

Harry had a drunken party at his warehouse office and workshop, and he was very paranoid and secretive about his work, yet he left his most important tapes out loose on his work bench, and other people played with them, and someone stole them while he was asleep. Why didn't he have the tapes hidden and locked up?

 

------------------------------

 

He read the headline that said The Director of the big business was killed in a car wreck, then Harry saw a vision of his body wrapped in plastic, lying on a bed in the hotel room where he had previously seen the young girl murdered. What's going on here? What's real, what's not?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There generally is no such thing as a Master Key that will open all locks. However, there are small slender dental-like pick tools that can be used to carefully position most lock tumblers so that the lock can be unlocked. That is why it is called lock picking. Keysmiths and lock repair men know how to use them, and a lot of burglars have the kits, which are small in size and can be carried in one pocket.

 

I figure that the Hays code always kept cops and crooks from mentioning this fact, so as to not let potential crooks in the audience know how they work and how easy they are to use. So the films used the Master Key ruse.

 

Harry Caul used one of these lock picking sets to unlock the door of Room 773.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fred, you've pointed to some serious plot problems. As is often the cause, the filmmakers hope you'll be so swept along that you don't stop to ask questions like that. Harry is totally paranoid--except when it's convenient for the plot that he not be.

 

I'll admit not liking this movie. Of course the ugly brown-green cinematography is supposed to reflect the world Harry lives in, but it's still ugly. Although well-acted, the film is sour and sluggishly paced. A good noir director would take us to despair a heck of a lot faster.

 

It was clever for the programmers to follow *The Conversation* with *Blow-Up*, since that's the obvious inspiration for the plot. "Hey, let's do *Blow-Up*, but with sound instead of photography."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

>It was clever for the programmers to follow The Conversation with Blow-Up, since that's the obvious inspiration for the plot. "Hey, let's do Blow-Up, but with sound instead of photography."

 

Yes, that was a clever idea. These films tend to belong together. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...and to make it a triple feature, there was enough time to add/conclude with Brian De Palma's Blow Out (1981). all three are excellent movies and each has its own subtlety.

 

about plot holes: i thought there was supposed to be a script continuity person who makes sure the plot is airtight. i guess that job gets overlooked sometimes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

>i thought there was supposed to be a script continuity person who makes sure the plot is airtight

 

The script continuity person's job has less to do with the plot of a film and more to do with working with the various crews, director and actors to ensure that continuity errors do not occur (films are typically shot out of sequence and it is the script continuity person's job to keep track of how scenes are shot and the action that takes place within those scenes), that the information on the slates is correct, production reports as well as notes to the editor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finance, you don't like Blow Up or Blow Out?

 

I could understand you not liking the latter, as Travolta alone is annoying.

 

But Antonioni's film is such fun and brings to mind the grassy knoll and conspiracy in high places like in the JFK thingie.

 

Plus the fim has Veruschka and Hemmings looks so cute in his white pants!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I admire this film, but the biggest plot hole of all involves the line, "He'd kill us if he got the chance." There are two ways of reading this, with two different meanings, and they are *both* used. A critic observed, "The central ambiguity is a cheat" -- and it is.

 

It's a fine picture with a serious flaw. I give it "only" 4.5 stars out of 5.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, it went like this:

 

 

"He will KILL us if he gets a chance."

 

And the last time that is heard in the film, it is read:

 

"He will kill US if he gets a chance.

 

The first reading makes the couple seem innocent. But the second one makes it seem as if the young man is trying to justify killing the Director.

 

But... the whole plot is ambiguous. Is the plot about a murder or is the plot about the **** going crazy? Or both?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

>finance wrote: BLOW UP's so-called excellence has always been lost on me.

 

 

But you've gotta love Antonioni's film because it was one of the final nails in the coffin of the Code. There were scenes with British models in various stages of undress, a key moment when Vanessa Redgrave goes topless, and Sarah Miles' see-through dress, which still amazes me!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the commentary track, Coppola said that he used the two different readings deliberately. So it may be that the ambiguity was intended.

 

Still, it bothered me when I first heard it. My reaction was, "Wait a minute, that's not what they said!"

 

It might have been better if Coppola had presented it in a way that showed Caul hearing it in his mind one way, then shaking his head and hearing it the other way.

 

At any rate, it's a very complex movie. It's already been established that Caul feels guilt over the fate of someone he bugged. And now it may be happening again.

 

In the final scene, Caul tears his apartment up trying to find the bug -- "The **** got bugged!" -- as his rival said earlier after planting a miked pen on him.

 

And as I was typing this, I realized that "****" is an interesting word to use. "Don't call him 'the little ****'!" ("Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?")

Link to comment
Share on other sites

>Still, it bothered me when I first heard it. My reaction was, "Wait a minute, that's not what they said!"

 

Well, by the time we hear the second reading, which is at the end of the film, we already see that Harry is becoming paranoid and is going crazy. So, he doesn't know if the second reading of the line is the true one or an imagined one. But the problem is, neither does the audience. The audience is left with the feeling that we don't really know what happened in the film, what was real and what was not.

 

Audiences need to know. It is an unfinished film if the audience doesn't know.

 

Anyone can make a film that shows two different things happening, with the director never telling the audience which version is real and which isn't. That is merely a trick of a film maker, and it is an unfair trick, in my opinion.

 

What we need is a Charlie Chan to come into the room at the end and explain everything to us. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anything that defies the Code is fine with me (even though sometimes they go too far in the other direction). And when Vanessa Redgrave and Sarah Miles are involved, so much the better.

 

Still: a photographer goes to a park where he thinks there may be a corpse, and he doesn't take a camera with him?

 

At a rock concert, the audience sits as still as statues?

 

And the famous tennis game played in pantomime: I thought it was too clever by half.

 

When I gave this film a negative review on Amazon I got a boatload of "not helpful" ratings. That what happens when you criticize a movie that people love.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

>faceinthecrowd wrote: Still: a photographer goes to a park where he thinks there may be a corpse, and he doesn't take a camera with him? At a rock concert, the audience sits as still as statues?

 

 

Don't even get me started on the subject of Antonioni and logic. I'm still upset about the girl who disappeared during the boating trip in "L'Avventura"!

 

Edited by: jakeem on Nov 2, 2013 3:51 PM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...