7.0/10
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57 user 24 critic

The Odessa File (1974)

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Following the suicide of an elderly Jewish man, a journalist in possession of the man's diary investigates the alleged sighting of a former S.S. Captain, who commanded a concentration camp during World War II.

Director:

Ronald Neame

Writers:

Frederick Forsyth (based on the novel by), Kenneth Ross (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jon Voight ... Peter Miller
Maximilian Schell ... Eduard Roschmann
Maria Schell ... Frau Miller
Mary Tamm ... Sigi
Derek Jacobi ... Klaus Wenzer
Peter Jeffrey ... David Porath
Klaus Löwitsch ... Gustav Mackensen
Kurt Meisel ... Alfred Oster
Hannes Messemer ... General Glücks
Garfield Morgan ... Israeli General
Shmuel Rodensky ... Simon Wiesenthal (as Schmuel Rodensky)
Ernst Schröder Ernst Schröder ... Werner Deilman
Günter Strack Günter Strack ... Kunik (as Gunter Strack)
Noel Willman ... Franz Bayer
Martin Brandt ... Marx
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Storyline

After reading the diary of an elderly Jewish man who committed suicide, freelance journalist Peter Miller begins to investigate the alleged sighting of a former S.S. Captain who commanded a concentration camp during World War II. Miller eventually finds himself involved with the powerful organization of former S.S. members, called "ODESSA", as well as with the Israeli secret service. Miller probes deeper and eventually discovers a link between the S.S. Captain, "ODESSA", and his own family. Written by Anthony Hughes <husnock31@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A gripping puzzle of pursuit and escape See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | West Germany

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

18 October 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Akta Odessy See more »

Filming Locations:

Salzburg, Austria See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)| Black and White (flashback scenes)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jon Voight was on-set throughout the production, with the script calling for his being on-camera in eighty percent of the scenes. The production notes stated the part was (at least at the time) perhaps Voight's "most grueling role". Welcome respite on the set included regular visits from his wife Marcheline Bertrand and their infant son, Jamie, who was the "pet" of the film's cast and crew. See more »

Goofs

The woman shot in the ditch at Riga is also seen getting in the van which gasses victims. See more »

Quotes

Peter Miller: [in disgust, to Roschmann] You are not even worth a bullet!
See more »

Alternate Versions

West German TV version was edited to remove the text at the beginning (which provides background information) and flashback scenes of Roschmann's atrocities in the KZ. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Adelaide's Silver Screens (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Schwarzbraun ist die Haselnuss
("Black Brown is the hazelnut") (uncredited)
Tradtional
[Sung at the soldiers' reunion]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Marred only by one thing
11 August 2007 | by pamsfriendSee all my reviews

Sometime between 1979 and today, filmmakers have lost the ability to tell a suspenseful story, to flesh out characters, so that today we see more style than substance, more gore and mayhem than plot development.

The Day of the Jackal, Marathon Man, Eye of the Needle, The Boys From Brazil and others will be labeled boring by many here because they must wait for something to happen. A typical example from Odessa is the reunion scene. Voight infiltrates the meeting of old German soldiers, make that old devoted Nazis, gathering in a beer hall. He snaps a photo of the speaker, shouting what sounds like the words of the pre-war Deutschland uber Alles. One man comes and begins his eviction from the hall. In the next scene we see him nursing his wounds, which are far more serious than the pushes we see. Tell me that today we would not witness a brutal beating punch by punch, kick by kick.

Films then used violence to advance the plot, such as the "Is it safe?" interrogation in Marathon Man. Seventies films are no shorter than today's masterpieces, but so much more intricate plot is compressed into their time frame.

Three Days of the Jackal is a perfect telling of a Forsyth book; we never become involved with the characters but watch in fascination. Here we follow Miller (Voight) giving us a horse in the race. I have reservations about the final confrontation with Schell and Miller's motivations but I have none about the story in general.

Only in the score does Odessa fall short; the music sounds almost if it was added as an afterthought and does nothing to enhance moods or foreshadow scenes. Worse, the score seems the beginning of a pattern that continues to this day where in some scenes the music is the main character. Only the bier-hall singing of the old Nazis sounds appropriate.

I rated the film 8 of 10.


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