|Index||6 reviews in total|
I didn't buy it, it was Star, she brought it home from the video store.
wouldn't say why she bought this particular movie, but I can venture a
guess. It must have been in the "dollar to own" basket right by the
A dollar seems to be a paltry sum, but in this case, alas yes, it was far too much. That dollar would have been better served in the cup of a homeless man's crack fund rather than spent on this film. It was supposed to be a thriller, but b'gum, it wasn't thrilling. Instead the director served up, Polish extras in a go-go disco, a supposedly mad Nazi (who had the most coherent lines in the film), a murderous Polish police sargent and a corrupt American general (who throughout the film could be interchangeable.
Ron Silver smokes and runs simultaneously at one point and you think if he could only smoke run and act he would have something there. According to this film, the way you elude the Warsaw police department is to jump behind a wall when they are approaching ... EVEN IF THEY SEE WHERE YOU HID! The only saving grace of the film was that in the deleted sex scene we didn't have to witness Ron Silver taking his shirt off.
Roy Schieder seemed to be saying his lines while watching the clock, one had the feeling that he had an early tee time and wanted to wrap up his scenes in time to hit the links in the afternoon. The only real tangible enjoyment we pulled out of the film was that now we have a new standard with which to judge really bad movies. We can say "That film may s**k, but it's no White Raven!"
I admit to having found The White Raven a good "little film". A return
to the sort of B-list thrillers studios used to churn out on a regular
basis. The title refers to an enormous diamond hidden during World War
II. The last man to know of its whereabouts (played with barely
restrained menace by the imposing Hannes Jaenicke) is in a European
prison and is dying. He reveals a vital clue to Tully Windsor, a
reporter for the Christian Science Monitor, and Windsor suddenly finds
himself the target of several groups competing for possession of the
No, The White Raven definitely wasn't Foreign Correspondent or Ministry of Fear, or even Beach Blanket Bingo. But, thanks to directors Jakub Rucinski and Andrew Stevens, it carried enough nice touches to make at least one viewing a worthwhile pursuit.
Chief among these was the late Ron Silver as Tully Windsor. After a career of playing slimy villains, Silver took on a heroic role and made it pay off. His usually sinister features easily metamorphosed into a cool, calculating James Bond-like expression, and he moved from crusading reporter to MAC-10 wielding hero without missing a beat.
Silver was one of a small handful of domestically recognizable faces within the cast of the film. Elizabeth Shepherd especially shone as Hannah Rothschild: one of the people hunting for the White Raven. She wore the matronly European power-broker role well, reminding us that she was originally considered for the role of Mrs. Peel in The Avengers.
Elsewhere, Roy Scheider practically slept through his role of Silver's boss within the Christian Science Monitor. Along with Scheider there was Doug Lennox as a somewhat stereotypical corrupt American military officer. The remaining cast of The White Raven read like an Eastern European phone directory, which was actually one of the film's major strengths. After years of enduring small films continually set in either New York City or Los Angeles, it was refreshing to encounter new faces and foreign locales. I had mentioned James Bond earlier. In many ways The White Raven stands as sort of a James Bond film with a reduced budget.
Back to the cast. I had already mentioned Hannes Jaenicke: playing Hannibal Lector as a WWE wrestler. There was also Jack Recknitz as one of those former Nazi concentration camp guards who miraculously managed to take on a high-level Eastern European law enforcement job after the war. Besides these worthies we also had Joanna Pacula . . . veteran of numerous television and film appearances . . . as a sculptress who becomes involved in the plot (and, subsequently, takes on the role of romantic interest for Silver). She does well, especially since she has to make the audience suspect that Not Everything Is As It Seems Here.
Which brings us back to one of the problems of the film. Michael Blodgett's adaptation of his book tends to confuse whoever we're supposed to be rooting for in the course of the picture. It becomes difficult for Silver's character (and by default, the audience) to identify positively with anyone because we're never sure who is with who at any one point. Was Recknitz's character associated with the Paris-based group run by Elizabeth Shepherd? Was Lennox working independently? Was Balboa fond of bananas? Who put the bomp in the bomp-shu-bomp-shu-bomp? Who is John Galt? (The situation isn't helped by the fact that people end up being killed left and right to the point where keeping a scorecard might be handy. You watch the film and almost wish someone would live longer than five minutes simply so that they could deliver some useful information.) And speaking of action, while parts of it did work in the film, others didn't succeed as well. For instance: while I was aware that Silver was the hero of the picture, I felt he managed to escape too easily from many of the tense situations he found himself in. Since he wasn't going up against Imperial Stormtroopers from Star Wars (perhaps the worst shots and stupidest searchers in all of motion pictures), then the average viewer could be forgiven for raising an eyebrow. In one instance Silver manages to escape a group of pursuers through the simple act of hiding in a doorway and standing still . . . which would've worked if he'd been Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton, but he wasn't. Rucinski and Stevens did an overall remarkable job with what they had, but what the film needed for such scenes was a director like John McTiernan; someone who has a feel for actually inflicting suffering on a hero and setting up genuine fear for his survival.
But the pendulum swings both ways and the film builds nicely in other directions. Especially at the denouement, when the location of the diamond is finally revealed (as well as revealing how a large diamond can be smuggled out of a Nazi concentration camp). As with many other jewels, The White Raven possessed its own unique flaws, but it also managed to occasionally shine brightly.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
**SPOILERS** Laughable and outrageously inept thriller that has to do
with this crazed and committed former Kommandant of the Treblinka
concentration camp Markus Strand, Jan Nubes. Strand after 40 years in
solitary confinement in a Warsaw prison has not opened his mouth,
except when he ate his meals, is now about to go public about the
missing and fabled Rothschild 287 caret cut diamond "The White Raven"
that he and only he knows where it is. It turns out that over the years
Strand had become a big fan of Christian Science Monitor and Pulitzer
prize winning reporter Tully Windsor, Ron Silver, and wants to tell his
story only to him. Tully, playing hard to get, is anything but
interested in having the scoop of the century until he finds out that
both his mother, who supposedly killed herself, and grandma were
somehow connected with the hot rock.
The film "The White Raven" has three stories, all very confusing, running concurrently in it. There's the Triblinka concentration survivor Frau Hanna Rothschild, Elizabeth Shephard,who the "White Raven" originally belonged to wanting it back. Hanna is also involved ,with the Paris Rothschild Bank as a front, with the Israeli Mossad in funneling million of dollars, or franks, to Isreal in it's, or the Mossads, many covert and undercover operations in Europe as well as the Middle East. There's also the determined US General Dodd, Doug Lennox, who was involved in the liberation of Treblinka even though it was liberated by the Soviet Red Army. Gen. Dodd feels that he has it coming, the diamond, in that he was the one who saved it's owner concentration camp inmate Hanna Rothschild from a fate worse then death. Dodd is now looking forward to have the rock or the 100 million dollars that it's worth as part, together with the measly government check that he gets from he US Army, of his retirement.
The triple, or third story, in this incomprehensible mess of a movie has to do with Warsaw police inspector Zielinski, Jack Recknitz,a man who seems to be not only above the laws of his own country Poland but even the laws of nations like Norway and the United States. Zielinski goes without as much as a fear in the world of being caught and prosecuted, and in full view of witnesses, shooting people down together with his band of Warsaw hit men in all three country's. We learn that Zielinski wants the diamond for less selfish reasons then both Gen. Dodd or Madam Rothchild in his mad dream of jump starting, with the money that he'll get for it, a new and more improved Fascist movement in Europe with him of course as it's top banana or kielbasi.
Tully is truly ridicules as a secret agent type, outdoing even a James Bond, as he escapes from every jam or hammerlock that the bad guys get him into even though he's not supposed to be an action hero in the movie. As for his non stop running and acrobatics, as well as dodging bullets, he's anything but in shape to preform them with Tully puffing away and smoking pack after pack of cigarettes in almost every scene, including when he's doing roadwork, in the film. The secret of the missing Rothschild Diamond turns out to be locked up deep in Tully's own Uncle Boy's or Edwin Koch,Jerzy Zydkiewicz, head. But to get Uncle Boy to open his mouth would be somewhat of a miracle on Tullys, or anyone else's, part in that he's never talked, like Kommandant Strand, since the end of WWII. Unlike Strand Uncle Boy is suffering from what seems like an advanced case of Alzheimer's Disease where he couldn't talk even if he wanted too.
P.S there's also actor Roy Scheider in the movie as Tully's former boss at the Monitor Tom Heath. Scheider had enough sense to keep himself scarce in the movie "The White Raven" where he was hardly noticed except if you were awake or conscious enough to spot him, in the few minutes that he was in it, in the beginning and end of the film.
Okay we got a story lets funk it up the idea is great for a book by for
example Graham. We have the plot the diamanté everybody wants it and
blah blah we got some great deaths scenes but thats it the story gets
blurry from the very beginning (ok we all know the story but the
filmmaker tell's it pretty poorly) the possible best scene is the pool
scene with the uncles head but a dead man just don't bleed. i suck at
writing comments but believe me i had 2 bottles of wine before i watch
this movie and it doesn't even get good so get a bottle of hard alcohol
before you start this movie.
It's a time killer and nothing more
Rarely have I seen a suspense film with such a wonderful premise but
with such a lousy execution. This is because there were a bazillion
plot holes in a film with a great plot--so many that the plot is
essentially ruined. It's a shame, as the film, with a few changes,
could have been wonderful. My wife and uncle were a bit more forgiving.
As for me, it made me mad that such a great idea sucked me in
and,...well....it just sucked!
The film begins with the highest ranking living Nazi in custody inexplicably requesting a meeting with an American reporter (Ron Silver). The reporter has no idea what it's all about--and EVERYONE seems to go nuts because the Nazi supposedly knows about the whereabouts of one of the largest diamonds in the world! And, through the course of the film, one group after another chases the reporter after he meets with the Nazi. The problem is with all these folks trying to capture him, he can't help them because the Nazi's message is so vague he has no idea what it meant!
I loved this idea. And, when you finally learn how his uncle is THE key--this was brilliant!! But, in the meantime, yuck! Ron Silver was a good actor--but here he is totally miscast. The film called for a man who was a combination of James Bond and the Rock--but Silver was all wrong. A middle-aged paunchy guy who chain-smokes cannot possibly out-shoot secret agents, neo-Nazis and the US military!!! Yet, inexplicably, Silver's character won't accept help from anyone and yet he manages to come out unscathed by the end of the movie!!! In between, there are some other insane moments such as sneaking him into the embassy in a VW trunk when the place is surrounded by police who are told to allow NO ONE inside as well as the women who throw themselves at this very ordinary looking man....and MANY, MANY other insane moments. With a bit of a re-write (such as making the reporter an ex-CIA agent or a god would have helped) and plugging up holes, it would have made a dandy film--perhaps capable of earning an 8 or more. Instead, it's a dumb film with a few great moments.
I should repeat that my wife and uncle were far more charitable than I was. When they asked me what I thought of the film, I found I was becoming angry--angry because the film SHOULD have been better and sucked me in--only to disappoint again and again. My wife felt it was fun schlock. My uncle thought he could have used his time better sleeping in his hammock. I felt it was a waste of my life and I felt stupider as a result of having seen it. As for my aunt, who really didn't pay total attention to the film, she was glad she missed it.
I guess that when starting a movie like "The White Raven", a team has two
basic choices. They can make a James Bond type of film in which the hero
will keep falling into traps most terrible from which he will miraculously
escape with his life and tie undisturbed - which is quite OK because we
know in advance that he is indestructible. Or they can make a realistic
movie in which the hero is very much destructible and has to depend solely
on his wits and on some more or less sympathetic people to survive - if he
does survive at all; we can never be sure.
And then there is the third type which tries to combine the first two - which seems to be a sure formula for disaster. "The White Raven" is, of course, just one of many such movies which may start, as this one does, quite decently in the realistic direction and then suddenly turn around, becoming more and more laughable right to the last "deus ex machina" (in this case one of the most stupid I have ever seen).
As such, the movie could perhaps be enjoyed as an unintentional parody if it were not for repeatedly ghoulish scenes which make one think that its authors are fetishists of a rather unpleasant sort; and only to their kind can "The White Raven" be safely recommended.
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