Tom Levy, who is nicknamed Babe by his older brother Henry Levy, an oil executive who in turn is nicknamed Doc by Tom, is a Ph.D. candidate in History at Columbia University. He is also training to run a marathon. Tom is paying homage to his deceased father, H.B. Levy, in pursuing the same studies as him, his father who committed suicide while being under investigation solely for being a Jew. Tom's work doesn't sit well with Doc who wants Tom to move on with his life. While at Columbia, Tom meets and begins to date Elsa Opel, a foreign exchange student also in History. While out for a walk in Central Park late one day, Tom and Elsa are mugged, the unusual aspect of it being that their attackers were men in suits. Tom will learn that the mugging was not a random attack after someone close to Tom is found murdered, the deceased who was not who he purported to be. From here, Tom is thrown into an international plot concerning a WWII Nazi named Christian Szell in hiding, and a large cache... Written by
During the torture scene, Szell indicates he is afflicted with alexia. Alexia is a brain disorder in which a person is unable to understand written words. Sometimes also called acquired dyslexia, it refers specifically to the loss, usually in adulthood, of a previous ability to read. See more »
The way Doc leaves the killer is not how the killer is positioned as Doc dials the phone. See more »
[In the car with Babe]
All right, things are starting to come together. Keep your head down before you get it blown off. Those two guys I just wasted work for a man named Christian Szell. Does that name mean anything to you?
He ran the experimental camp at Auchswitz, where they called him "The White Angel" - "The Weisse Engel" - because he has this incredible head of white hair. He's probably the wealthiest and most wanted Nazi left alive. And he's hiding out somewhere in Uruguay. In 1945, ...
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The ending credits scroll with Babe's jogging route as a backdrop. See more »
Ghosts of the Holocaust on New York City streets...
Dustin Hoffman looks in great shape playing a Columbia graduate student, still haunted by his father's suicide (and perhaps in training for the New York marathon), who gets mixed up by proxy in his nefarious older brother's activities; seems his sibling has been working secretly as a courier in stolen gems, and has run afoul of Szell, a.k.a. The White Angel, the most notorious Nazi war-criminal still alive. Director John Schlesinger exercises a gleefully nasty side here, staging some dental torture scenes that are just about impossible to watch, yet not all of the pieces in William Goldman's adaptation of his own bestseller fit accordingly; Schlesinger just presses ahead so that the story gaps won't be so noticeable. There's much zig-zagging across the continents at the beginning, with red herrings, street bombs, and character intricacies just swept under the carpet. We learn so little about Hoffman's brother (played by an equally fit Roy Scheider) that, by the film's climax, we still don't know whose side he was he on--or why his cohorts lost trust in him. Marthe Keller's German mystery beauty is another character muddle, a pretense of writer Goldman who was really out to stack this deck against Hoffman's runner. Laurence Olivier's knife-wielding Nazi beast is perplexing as well, alternating a steely coldness with an aged confusion (why, for instance, is he staking out jewelry stores just for today's market values--isn't the diamond trade this man's forte?). The film could have eased up a bit on the torture scenes (which aren't really suspenseful as much as they excruciating) and been a bit more clear-headed about the chess game taking place. It leaves a bushel of questions behind, though it is a handsome piece of work, well-cast and with an intrinsically satisfying finale. *** from ****
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