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A few years ago they made another film for TNT called The Man Who Captured Eichmann where Robert Duvall played the man who said "I will leap into my grave laughing with the knowledge that I sent six million people to their deaths". This version is good as well. Martin Balsam gives a great performance as the head of the team, determined to bring this monster to justice. Topol gives another great performance as an agent who saw his little brother murdered at Auschwitz before his eyes. The best scene is the scene where he interrogates Eichmann and asks him if he ever tried to save anyone. The actor who played Eichmann also did a great job. He is so nerdy and unassuming that you can't believe the monsterous things he did. It shows evil can come in all forms.
The fact that this movie is based on real life events makes it that much more interesting and riveting. I read the book by Isser Harel and the movie does it justice. Some things were changed to speed things up, but the spirit is there. The book is a methodical retelling of the events with a lot of emphasis on the day to day details. I find the movie captured that aspect well. Topol is very intense in his role, but I especially liked Nick Mancuso as an agent who is having a hard time justifying this operation when things are more pressing back in Israel. A great scene takes place when they finally spot Eichmann's house from a distance and both men overcome with emotion, embrace. The long search has finally paid off. The really underrated Martin Balsam plays Harel as a man who appears rather ordinary, but is very much on top of the situation and is determined to succeed in bringing Eichmann back to Israel to stand trial. On the whole a good viewing experience and far superior to the 1996 film THE MAN WHO CAPTURED EICHMANN, which was much too slow and drawn out, and light years ahead of the 1962 OPERATION EICHMANN, which was just plain insulting.
I've seen a couple of films from Israel like this-they seem to be so fearful of overstating their case that anything other than straight-ahead recording of given reality will detract from authenticity, or believability, or...authoritative presentation of the FACTS. Would it kill them to make a film that's well-written and slickly produced? This looks like a real low-budget job, like something from the History channel, but with unusually good acting. When Isser Harel goes to Ben-Gurion to get the Go-ahead for pulling off the Eichmann snatch, it's shot with one camera, and the script makes sure Harel identifies the prime minister twice for the benefit of the audience(All right all ready, some of us out here know who Ben-Gurion was!). Fortunately, there was enough suspense built in to the actual operation so that the filmmakers couldn't squander ALL of it. In the film's favor, there are enough solid details, decent performances, and convincing location sequences(Heck, all of it seems to have been shot on location in Argentina!) to give it the look, at least, of a documentary, so it could be worse. Five years after this film came out, we got The Little Drummer Girl. I suspect that some sections of this film were models for the later one, so maybe I'm not considering some of the elements that were shown first in Garibaldi Street,and have influenced later films. OK, taking that into consideration, It's worth seeing, but it could have been done better.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As a retired history teacher, I am a VERY tough audience for historical
films. Again and again, I'll spot the flaws and this seriously impacts
my enjoyment of the film. I am sure this is true of most (if not all)
history teachers. So, with films like "The House on Garibaldi Street",
it's nice because they actually cared to get the facts straight, as the
film was designed less as entertainment and more a testament to the
team responsible for the capture of the notorious Nazi war criminal,
At the end of WWII, many Nazis tried to hide or escape from Allied justice. Some (such as Himmler), were caught and others, such as Dr. Mengele and Adolf Eichmann managed to escape to South America. Following the war, it's not surprising that Israel devoted a lot of energy into tracking down these evil men. The most famous of all those they captured was Adolf Eichmann--one of the architects of the 'final solution' and the man who helped run the camps at Auschwitz. However, he was living in Argentina and was being protected by folks in authority, so when the Israeli Mossad learned he might be there, they had to move quickly and VERY quietly to try to capture him. And then, once captured, they needed to find a way to sneak him out of the country. This film is about this operation.
As I mentioned above, the film gets the facts straight. Apart from that, the acting (with the likes of Topol and Martin Balsam) was quite good. My only complaint, and it's a VERY minor one, is that the film was a bit too cerebral and deliberately paced for the average viewer. I didn't want them to spice it up by changing facts, but perhaps if they'd showed a portion of the trial or his subsequent execution it might appeal more to the average person. Well done.
By the way, the one historical problem I DID notice was the hair and fashions. It looked quite late 1970s--not 1960 like it should have.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
**SPOILERS** The true story of how a number Israeli Mossad Agents
tracked down and captured fugitive Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann,
Alfred Burke, back in 1960 in Buenos Aires Argintina.
Eichmann using the allies Ricardo Clement had eluded justice for some 15 years and blended in with the local population, in Buenos Aries, as an autoworker at a Mercedes car plant in the city. It was in Israel that the head of the Mossad Issar Harel, Martin Balsam, got a tip from a reliable source that Eichmann was indeed alive, he was reported to have been killed in 1945, and well in South America. Getting Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, Leo McKern, to dispatch a three man, really two men and one woman, kidnap squad to capture Eichmann the task proved to be far more difficult then first expected.
Having Mossad agents Michael Ari and Hedda, Topol Nick Mancuso & Janet Suzman, to do the leg work in tracking down Eichmann was the easy part. It was getting the Nazi war criminal out of the country that was far more difficult. Eichmann himself turned out to be somewhat of a flake in that he seemed to be totally unaware that he was the "Main Man" in what the Isralie Government made him out to be in executing what was known as the "Final Solution"; The annihilation of the Jews in Europe during the Second World War.
When captured Eichmann was flattered that he was considered, by the Israeli Government, to be so high up in the Nazi hierarchy that he, in bragging about his exploit's in the war, gave his captors all the rope that they needed to hang him with! Which they did two years later on the night of May 31, 1962-in Israel's Ramla Rrison-after he was convicted in a Jerusalem court room of war crimes and crimes against the Jewish People.
Michael as the leader of the Mossad kidnap squad had to control himself every time he was within reach of the captured Eichmann in that he was not just the only member of the squad who could positively identify him but had seen his younger brother, as well as thousands of other fellow Jews, brutally murdered in a Nazi concentration camp. This all happened as Eichmann, who took part in the massacre, calmly watched and took down notes. Hadda was also having a difficult time in trying to keep from killing the captured Nazi war criminal and almost spiked his rice, with arsenic, when she was giving him his dinner. Ari was about the only person who didn't try to do Eichmann in knowing that him being alive and standing trial, in Israel, for his crimes was far more important the just killing him on the spot. That was to be done when the law, after Eichmann's conviction, meted out final justice to him.
Eichmann despite his late found, post May 1960, notoriety was almost unknown before his capture, reaching the rank of only a let. Colonel, to the world at large as a major Nazi war criminal unlike his far more well known superiors like Hitler Himmler and his immediate boss, the architect of the "Final Solution", Reinhard "Hang Man" Heydrick. It was the fact that Eichmann eluded the long arm of the law for so long that he worked himself up to the top, by just surviving, as the the head man in executing Hitler's "Final Solution". That after those Nazi big wigs who were above him were either captured killed or just disappeared off the face of the earth!
This is a very dated and often poorly-written movie, but does have some
redeeming aspects. There is a certain amount of suspense in the build-up
the capture of Eichmann. Also well done are the interrogation sessions
him - more of these would have been better. The whole process of how he
smuggled out was intriguing.
The final scene at the airport also has some suspenseful moments. All-in-all, this is no "Schindler's List", but not a bad film for its time. I think it would have been fascinating to portray the actual trial and the reaction of the world and Israel to it. Perhaps that is another movie...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***one small spoiler*** House on Garibaldi street has the vintage look
and feel of a made for TV movie of that era. Having said that, the film
is respectful to the subject matter and features many stars of that era
in roles they took very seriously. The acting is well done, but
certainly not Oscar-worthy, the locations are very true to the source,
and the events depicted add significant drama over the book the film is
One small gripe I have about the film, however, is that in one scene they show a paddle tennis match...the events of the film took place almost 10 years before paddle tennis was invented.
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