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Is It Safe?

March 3, 2008

Befitting the month that the Academy Awards announce the 2008 Oscar winners, Turner Classic Movies has run its now annual 31 Days of Oscars series spotlighting a different decade’s Oscar winners every weeknight. It’s a fun way to catch up on the classics-On the Beach, High Noon, and The Seven Samurai air the evening of Feb. 27-but few nights pack the more than eight-hour punch that is this Friday’s Feb. 29 schedule. Starting at 8 p.m., TCM screens a quartet of classic 1970s paranoid thrillers back to back, all in wide-screen letterbox format: Fred Zinnemann’s 1973 The Day of the Jackal, in which Edward Fox’s suave assassin is so good at killing he kisses a woman into the big sleep; Sydney Pollack’s 1975 Three Days of the Condor, in which Robert Redford kidnaps Faye Dunaway to hide out from his own intelligence employers; John Schlesinger’s 1976 Marathon Man, which arguably includes the prototype of the sophisticated cold-blooded serial killer in American cinema; and, finally, Franklin Schaffner’s 1978 The Boys From Brazil. Fortunately, the worst of the bunch airs last–time has not been kind to The Boys From Brazil or Ira Levin’s source novel–but the first three offer some of the more entertaining moviemaking of the era.

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