Ted Kramer's wife leaves her husband, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple's son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.
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>
Laurence Olivier was so afraid that he would accidentally hurt Dustin Hoffman while filming the torture scene that he would constantly ask Hoffman if he was all right after shooting a take. As a joke, Hoffman tried to make Olivier think that he had really hurt him by screaming in a very convincing and unexpected manner. See more »
In the restaurant, Dustin Hoffman's jersey collar is initially lying outside of his jacket collar. After an edit point, one side of his jersey collar is now tucked under his jacket collar. See more »
[Szell prepares to torture Babe a second time]
Oh, please don't worry. I'm not going into that cavity. That nerve's already dying. A live, freshly-cut nerve is infinitely more sensitive. So I'll just drill into a healthy tooth until I reach the pulp. Unless, of course, you can tell me that it's safe.
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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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