Where did this pernicious misunderstanding about the practice of librarianship come from? Unfortunately, I think it might have come from the profession itself. Librarians complain endlessly about stereotypes, and go to great lengths to promote the idea that at the weekend we're all base-jumping, lathe-turning, punk rocking, mountain-bike bog snorkelers (see, for example, The Bellydancing Librarian, or Macho Librarians with Guns). But this is not what most librarians actually do in their spare time. According to a recent survey, our most popular pastime is... no, not knitting... 'recreational reading.'
Redford and his six colleagues do their reading for the CIA, to help uncover sinister patterns and terrorist plots. They read terribly quickly, so spend most of their time flirting with one another, and being very clever. When it's Redford turn to pop out for coffee, he impresses the deli customers with his smarts. 'Where am I, the New York Public Library?' says a wise guy. Later, when someone suggests that Redford go 'into the field,' he confesses: 'I'm not a field agent, I just read books!'
But he speaks too soon. When Redford's kicking ass, saving the world, one of the bad guys wonders: 'Where did he learn evasive moves? His confrere knows Redford's secret: 'He reads.'
Director: Sydney Pollack
Written by Lorenzo Semple Jr., David Rayfiel, based on the novel by James Grady
Cinematography: Owen Roizmann
Editing: Don Guidice
Cast includes Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson, Max von Sydow