In 1942 Warsaw, a Polish prostitute is murdered in a sadistic way. Major Grau, an agent from German Intelligence who believes in justice, is in charge of the investigation. An eyewitness saw a German general leaving the building after a scream of the victim. A further investigation shows that three generals do not have any alibi for that night: General Tanz, Maj. Gen. Klus Kahlenberge and General von Seidlitz-Gabler. The three avoid direct contact with Major Grau and become potential suspects. As Major Grau gets close to them, he is promoted and sent to Paris. In 1944 Paris, this quartet is reunited and Major Grau continues his investigation. Meanwhile, a plan for killing Hitler is plotted by his high command; a romance between Ulrike von Seydlitz-Gabler and Lance Cpl. Kurt Hartmann is happening and Insp. Morand is helping Major Grau in his investigation. The story ends in 1965, in Hamburg, with another, similar crime.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The opening credits are a montage of a Nazi general's clothing and decorations. See more »
The UK cinema version was heavily edited for an 'A' (PG) certificate and removed nearly all the references to the victims being whores, as well as shortening the bed scene between Hartmann & Ulrike, the police interrogation of the suspected sex offenders, and editing some of the dialogue describing the murders. Later releases were upgraded to a 15 certificate and were fully uncut. See more »
I agree with the above general sentiment that the story strays a bit too much at times, especially with the rather useless bombing of Hitler as a detour. I do however understand why it's there - it's because by attaching the "good" German generals to the plot of killing Hitler, they let the audience not feel bad for rooting for them. Simple trick, but all in all detrimental to the momentum of the story.
The film is brimming with exceptional acting - O'Toole turns in a particularly vicious and strong performance as General Tanz, but everyone holds their own. It's rare to find a villain so distasteful and yet so intriguing - most filmmakers just content themselves with giving the villain an evil shtick without much character development - not so here.
I saw a newly mastered DVD in full 2.35:1 widescreen presentation and the the cinematography by the late Henri Decae is wonderful in all its glory.
Very interesting movie, please see it.
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