The Conversation 1974

Harry Caul (Gene Hackman), a private surveillance expert in San Francisco, has been hired by the Director to follow and record the actions of his wife, Ann (Cindy Williams), and her lover, Marc (Frederic Forrest).

Using three separate microphones, Caul and his associates follow the couple around a park. Later, he pieces together a conversation that clearly indicates the two are in a relationship and that they fear being found out by the Director.

Caul is a secretive, almost paranoid individual. He alienates his assistant, Stan (John Cazale), because he won’t teach him more about audio surveillance, and his girlfriend, Amy (Teri Garr), because he won’t share with her details about his career or personal life. He also refuses to hand over the tapes of Ann and Marc to the Director’s assistant, Martin (Harrison Ford). The Director had specified that the tapes were to be turned over only to him. Martin protests but Caul keeps the tapes. Caul becomes increasingly concerned that, were he to turn the tapes over to the Director, that some harm would come to Ann and Marc. On the tapes, Marc can be heard to say “He’d kill us if he had the chance.” When he worked on the East Coast, Caul had participated in a surveillance that led to the deaths of two persons. He worries that this might happen again, and goes to church to confess his sins.

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