Thomas "Babe" Levy, whose brother Henry James "Doc" Levy is an oil business executive, is a Ph.D. candidate in History at Columbia University. He is also training as a marathon runner. Babe is paying homage to his deceased father, H.B. Levy, in pursuing the same studies as him, his father who committed suicide while being under investigation in the Communist witch hunts. Babe's work does not sit well with Doc who wants Babe to move on with his life. While at Columbia, Babe meets and begins to date Elsa Opel, a foreign exchange student also in History. While out for a walk in Central Park late one night, Babe and Elsa are mugged, the unusual aspect of it being that their attackers were men in suits. Babe will learn that the mugging was not a random attack after someone close to Babe is found murdered, the deceased who was not who he purported to be. From here, Babe is thrown into an international conspiracy concerning Nazi war criminal Christian Szell in hiding, and a large cache of ...Written by
Joseph Spah (billed as Ben Dova), portraying Szell's brother, is the driver of the stalled car involved in the opening car-truck collision. Mr. Spah was a survivor of the Hindenburg disaster. See more »
When the professor asks the students the question about the Tennyson quote, you can see Babe write the answer on his desk table. In the close-up, he is writing the answer on the back of his notebook. See more »
[after Szell tortures Babe by drilling into a healthy tooth, he still gets no information about Babe's brother, frustrating Szell]
[Erhardt steps into the dental room]
He knew nothing. If he had known, he would have told. Get rid of him!
I don't think you've heard the news.
[Szell steps into Janeway's office]
What is that?
You're leaving tomorrow on the 1:00 flight.
You are a very confident young man.
It's all a front. Just think of me as any other young executive on the come.
[...] See more »
The ending credits scroll with Babe's jogging route as a backdrop. See more »
The high ratings for Marathon Man are no doubt focused on the substantial talent assembled to pull it off, and they succeed as long as one dispenses with every expectation of logic or common sense. Schlesinger builds substantial suspense, and there are plenty of satisfying scenes, but the plotting and story points are ridiculous beyond measure. This might not be a problem if it were any other type of picture, but the progressive unfolding of an initial puzzle to a somewhat sensible (or at least rational) set of revelations is one of the hallmarks of the government intelligence thriller. The story here, however, is so thin that virtually nothing happens for the entire first half of the picture, and the second half is really nothing more than one long chase sequence. The biggest problem is that the central objective of the action is precipitated by a murder that, if contemplated for more than about twenty seconds, reveals itself to make absolutely no sense whatsoever. And the illogical story points are not just structural. There are numerous details throughout that are obviously (and, to my mind, condescendingly) designed as mere conveniences for the the action, regardless of how inane or inexplicable they may be. The veneer of star power and sophisticated production values did not--for this viewer, at any rate--successfully obfuscate the movie's considerable flaws.
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