In New York, the brother of an infamous Nazi war criminal in hiding 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Laurence Olivier took the role of Szell in part to leave a great deal of money to his wife and children, as he expected to die from the cancer that afflicted him throughout production. He performed the role while undergoing treatment for his cancer, which included heavy doses of painkillers to allow him to work every day. The pain medication affected his memory and at times the actor could not remember more than one or two of his lines at a time. In a testament to the actor's fierce concentration, his performance garnered rave reviews and an Oscar nomination and despite working under such aggressive medical treatment, the actor experienced a full recovery allowing him to enjoy the success of this film and a series of leading roles that followed. See more »
When Rosenblum pulls up behind Szell, the amount by which the cars are offset changes. First the offset is about 1/4 car width, then by 1/2 width, then by no offset when Rosenblum starts to ram into Szell. See more »
Listen, why don't we begin with what happened tonight, hmm? Perhaps you could... you know, give me some of the details.
I was here, Doc... died, you came.
I'm a demon for details.
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The ending credits scroll with Babe's jogging route as a backdrop. See more »
The high ratings for Marathon Man are no doubt focused on the substantial talent assembled to pull it off, and they succeed as long as one dispenses with every expectation of logic or common sense. Schlesinger builds substantial suspense, and there are plenty of satisfying scenes, but the plotting and story points are ridiculous beyond measure. This might not be a problem if it were any other type of picture, but the progressive unfolding of an initial puzzle to a somewhat sensible (or at least rational) set of revelations is one of the hallmarks of the government intelligence thriller. The story here, however, is so thin that virtually nothing happens for the entire first half of the picture, and the second half is really nothing more than one long chase sequence. The biggest problem is that the central objective of the action is precipitated by a murder that, if contemplated for more than about twenty seconds, reveals itself to make absolutely no sense whatsoever. And the illogical story points are not just structural. There are numerous details throughout that are obviously (and, to my mind, condescendingly) designed as mere conveniences for the the action, regardless of how inane or inexplicable they may be. The veneer of star power and sophisticated production values did not--for this viewer, at any rate--successfully obfuscate the movie's considerable flaws.
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