I'll just come right out and say it: The Conversation is my favorite Francis Ford Coppola movie, by a wide margin. Hell, The Conversation is one of my favorite movies, period, probably hovering somewhere within my all-time top ten list. A sweaty, nightmarishly paranoid thriller built around an utterly impeccable performance from Gene Hackman, this movie rattled the hell out of me the first time I saw it, burrowed deep under my skin, and simply never left. This is a movie I love so much, I'll only allow myself to watch it infrequently, on special occasions or when enough time has passed that I may have forgotten some of the film's more granular details and flourishes. It's a goddamn masterpiece.
All of which is to say, I am very excited to be reporting the following to you: Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation is being brought back to theaters by the folks at Rialto Pictures, who - with the direct supervision of Coppola - have put together a brand-new, restored version of the master's 1974 film. It will first screen at NY's Film Forum and LA's Landmark Nuart Theatre on March 20th, in a pair of newly-struck 35mm prints. There will also be "an alternate DCP restoration remixed in Dolby 5.1", presumably for theaters that no longer have the capability to screen actual film.
“I’ve always been especially proud of The Conversation, partly because it was from my own original story and screenplay. I count it among the most personal of all my films and I’m happy the movie became the very thing it was about — the invasion of privacy and its erosive impact on both victims and perpetrators. This was my goal when I conceived it over 40 years ago, and to my surprise, the idea still resonates today. I’m glad Rialto is bringing the film back to theaters so people can experience it the way it was first presented, on the big screen.”
They've even released a new one-sheet, featuring artwork by Laurent Durieux (this is actually a Mondo poster that's been retrofitted into an official one-sheet; pretty neat!). Here's what it looks like:
Aaand here's a trailer (keep your eyes peeled for an exceptionally young Harrison Ford, appearing here a full three years prior to his work in George Lucas' Star Wars: A New Hope):
Given the film's obsession with the ideas of surveillance, unreality and obsession, 2020 seems like the perfect time to rerelease this one into theaters. I'm deeply jealous of anyone who gets to experience this one for the first time on the big screen, in what I'm certain will be an eye-popping presentation (and good lord, just wait until you hear the sound editing on this movie; that shit is unreal).
Here's a newly-released plot synopsis, for those of you who haven't seen it:
"A masterpiece of societal paranoia in the guise of a techno-thriller, THE CONVERSATION follows lonely wiretapping expert and devout Catholic Harry Caul (Hackman), who is hired to record a seemingly innocuous conversation between two lovers (Forsythe and Williams) in San Francisco’s Union Square. Upon re-hearing the tapes, however, Caul believes he may be putting the couple in danger if he turns the material over to his client (Robert Duvall, in an unbilled cameo). But what one hears can ultimately turn out to be quite different from what was actually recorded."
No word as of yet on when this'll be playing theaters across the country, but rest assured I'll be keeping you updated as we learn more. Stay tuned for that, and get hyped, everyone: this movie's one of our absolute favorites.