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The Parallax View

The Parallax View is a 1974 movie directed by Alan J. Pakula[?] and starring Warren Beatty (who was also a producer), adapted from the novel by Loren Singer[?]. The movie is a dark, paranoid, political thriller about a reporter's investigation into an obscure and murderous organization, the Parallax Corporation.

The movie can be seen as part of a trilogy of paranoid political thrillers directed by Pakula, with Klute (1971) and All the President's Men (1976). There are very clear parallels to the Kennedy assassination and its conspiracy theories running through the movie.


Beatty is reporter Joe Frady. A colleague and former lover of his, Lee Carter (Paula Prentiss), is present at the assassination of a U.S. senator and presidential hopeful at the Seattle Space Needle. The assassin dies just after his target and the whole assassination is officially reported as the work of a single individual. Carter feels there is more to the killing and her idea seems justified when seven of the witnesses to the death also die. Frady follows up her investigation after she disappears and he finds the conspiracy leads to the Parallax Corporation. The corporation offers itself as a therapy institute. Frady believes they detect certain types of personalities and recruit they as 'patsies' for assassinations. He fakes a psychological test and is accepted for the Parallax therapy but finds himself seriously outclassed and isolated by the subtle and invasive corporation. He can sense the fate the corporation intends for him but cannot avoid it.

There is a memorable sequence when a drugged Beatty is bombarded with a montage of emotional images, words and music, the links between the words and images shifting as the sequence progresses and speeds up. The montage is filmed in a subjective manner, Fredy and his reactions are not shown - the montage is projected at the audience. Such montages were popular in the film schools of the 1970s and can be seen in other contemporary films.

The distinctive panavision[?] (2:35) photography with long lens, unconventional framing and shallow focus was supervised by Gordon Willis[?].

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