Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it's turned into one huge lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a river-rafting trip they'll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.
In New York, the brother of an infamous Nazi war criminal is killed in a head-on collision with an oil truck. Shortly thereafter, members of a covert U.S. government group called the Division begin being murdered one by one. Meanwhile, graduate student and marathon runner Thomas "Babe" Levy researches history as his father, who committed suicide after the Communist witch hunts of the McCarthy era ruined his reputation. When he sees his brother, one Division member, stabbed to death, it is revealed that Christian Szell, the White Angel of Auschwitz, is wrapping up loose ends to smuggle priceless diamonds from the United States. Written by
Anthony Hughes <email@example.com>
During the master shot of the first dental torture scene, you can clearly see the "marks" - a t-shape of tape on the floor - where one of the thugs is to stand in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. See more »
I was in a state of hysteria, you know.
[referring to the open suitcase filled with diamonds]
Don't you want to take a closer look than that?
You see, uh, in a sense, one becomes more emotional with age. First after a lifetime of being taken by friends and enemies alike, and then just when you think you have your possessions sure, your health begins to go.
That is, of course, the ultimate theft!
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The ending credits scroll with Babe's jogging route as a backdrop. See more »
The movie has great acting in it. A great set of lead actors; Scheider, Olivier and Hoffman. You would think it couldn't miss; the TV stations played it to death when I was growing up. As you age, the film shrinks in stature. It starts very slowly with the whole Babe's father being a victim of the Red Scare of the 50s which was much more contemporaneous in the 70s than today. It dates the film and makes it quite slow to modern audiences. The movie has plot holes you could drive a truck through. Doc, as professional as he is depicted, allowing Szell that close to him, come on? Then, after being gutted like a fish, he hikes miles to Babe's apartment, another, give me a break, I do not think so. The touted dental torture scene is quite silly; please, dentists can inflict such a small amount of pain compared to a doctor, it comes across as ham bone and overdone. Olivier does well at the kindly chatter as he prepares to torture Babe, the part is well done, but the actual amount of pain is silly and over the top. I know people that have root canals done without any pain medicine.
The escape of Babe with the long chase is so silly and ridiculous. Nobody owns a car? Nobody can get ahead of him on an overpass and shoot him when he gets there? It is a requisite to fulfill the title but please, re-title your movie if the cost of this title is a stupid, phony chase that never would have happened. Yes, Devane would have pursued him on foot for miles. Then Schlesinger weakens the Babe character by having a local gang of toughs humiliate him; later, Babe takes out several guys in the abandoned house like he is Dirty Harry. See what I mean? Really bad writing overcomes even great acting and makes the movie completely ridiculous. Marthe Keller stinks up this movie like she did Black Sunday. She was cast for her ease in doffing her duds but sorry, first: she cannot act, second: her accent is so thick nobody can tell what she is saying. When I saw this movie, people were laughing at her, the accent makes her sound like Donald Duck. Daniel comes out dwanol: What? She wrecks every scene she is in, she in unintelligible most of the time.
The director has gone to such pains to delineate Babe as an intellectual devoid of any physical or emotional strength that the ending with Szell is silly. Like Szell would do anything Babe told him to. He would have taken that gun away from him in two seconds. Do we remember who Szell is and what he has seen and done? This is the Achilles heel of the film; the complete phoniness of the narrative. Characters make huge lapses like Doc getting that close to Szell or Babe turning into Dirty Harry at the house. Great acting can overcome a lot of flaws but this is beyond the realm of suspension of disbelief. The movie has not aged well. It was held up in the 80s as a great masterpiece of suspense. I can barely give it a six. It is severely overrated with mush mouth Keller wrecking her scenes.
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