Saturday, October 17, 2009

it's all in the details

It happened when I was watching Three Days Of The Condor a week ago. I had caught the film on some cable channel years ago and surprisingly seemed to remember most of the important details and events in the film. I had completely forgotten what Condor (Robert Redford) managed to find out through the course of the film; I had also missed the 70s thriller earmarks the film bore: All The President's Men (Redford was in that too), The Parallax View are just two other examples. I also hadn't earned my share of viewed films to understand the various techniques employed in the film. cleanup Watching it again was thus, in several ways, quite rewarding. I have also started noticing all those little details that excite trivia-mongers: licence plates, phone numbers (both fake and the unfortunately real), posters, marquees, commercial brands (subtle product placement) and little things that pop up in the wee corner of the frame. That annoying tic surfaced during the scene when a clean-up crew arrives to "dust" the American Literary Historical Society (the cover for a CIA hub whose crew lay dead). As the van passed I noticed the name of the company: Augean Cleaning Service Inc. Although clearly a front in the context of the film, the firm probably doesn't exist in real life (Google gave me nothing). If it's an invention for the film, it's a great one. Here's why. Augean clearly refers to the King Augeas in Greek mythology, most famous for his stables that housed the most cattle in the nation. These stables were never cleaned until Hercules got his famous assignment (the 12 Labours). The fifth labour was cleaning out these stables. Now you see why the name makes sense. Bravo.

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