THE PARALLAX VIEW (1974)
While the Watergate scandal filled the headlines, Alan J. Pakula’s 1974 thriller took its inspiration from the conspiracy theories surrounding the Kennedy assassination. Journalist Joe Frady (Warren Beatty) misses witnessing the assassination of a senator at Seattle’s Space Needle, but his newswoman former girlfriend Lee Carter (Paula Prentiss) was there. Even after a government commission concludes that it was a freak lone assassin, Lee tells Joe that she fears for her life since other witnesses keep dying. After she too turns up dead, Joe investigates, travelling to the small town where another witness has mysteriously expired. Stumbling on a corporate identity for the killers, Joe decides to dig deeper by infiltrating the Parallax Corporation as one of their hired assassins. It sounds familiar, and refers to or overlaps a good handful of similar films, but is most relevantly tied to Klute. The Parallax View presents us with the more insecurity-inducing questionnaire used by the mysterious Parallax Corporation for personality-testing prospective employees. Excellent performances; fascinating film.