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
Because Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif were being held to contracts signed several years earlier, when they were less famous, they both had to accept smaller fees than one would expect, given how famous they were when the film was made early in 1966. Neither was very happy with this situation, but they took care to claim the lavish living expenses to which they were entitled. See more »
A modern Polish newspaper, the "Zycie Warszawy" (Polish: "Warsaw Everyday"), is clearly visible in the hands of a man who saw the German general on the stairs in the beginning of the movie. "Zycie Warszawy" was not published during the Nazi occupation. 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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