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Music Box (1989)

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A lawyer defends her father accused of war crimes, but there is more to the case than she suspects.

Director:

Costa-Gavras

Writer:

Joe Eszterhas
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jessica Lange ... Ann Talbot
Armin Mueller-Stahl ... Mike Laszlo
Frederic Forrest ... Jack Burke
Donald Moffat ... Harry Talbot
Lukas Haas ... Mikey Talbot
Cheryl Lynn Bruce ... Georgine Wheeler
Mari Töröcsik ... Magda Zoldan
J.S. Block J.S. Block ... Judge Silver
Sol Frieder Sol Frieder ... Istvan Boday
Michael Rooker ... Karchy Laszlo
Elzbieta Czyzewska ... Melinda Kalman
Magda Szekely Marburg Magda Szekely Marburg ... Judit Hollo
Felix Shuman Felix Shuman ... James Nathanson
Michael Shillo Michael Shillo ... Geza Vamos
George Pusep George Pusep ... Vladimir Kostav
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Storyline

Hungarian immigrant Mike Laszlo has done well for himself since arriving in the USA over 40 years ago after WWII's end. He is particularly proud of his daughter, Ann, a successful lawyer. Following the release of some secret WWII records by the Russians, Mike finds himself accused of being a notorious war criminal. He's convinced it's a Communist plot to discredit him and insists that Ann defend him in court. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

As a lawyer all she wanted was the truth. As a daughter all she wanted was his innocence. How well do you really know your father?

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Hungarian

Release Date:

19 January 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mucho más que un crimen See more »

Filming Locations:

Hungary See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,381, 22 December 1989, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$6,263,883
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Carolco Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

After the movie was released, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas' own father, Istvan Eszterhas, was accused of war crimes in Hungary for printing anti-Semitic editorials, and even organizing a book burning. When Istvan admitted the charges were accurate, Joe responded by publicly condemning his father, and disowning him as a parent, later writing that he never reconciled with Istvan, and refused to let him see his grandchildren right up to the point where Istvan died of natural causes. See more »

Quotes

Jack Burke: You trust your heart, you gonna get it broken.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 62nd Annual Academy Awards (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

You rock, Mr. Costa Gavras!
15 September 2004 | by nmukSee all my reviews

Awright, I don't approve of all your politics, Mr. Costa Gavras, particularly in "State of Siege" and "Hanna K.", but in this one you truly excel, both in terms of authenticity and a willingness to stay unprovocative when dealing with a sensitive issue as the Holocaust.

The movie is supposed to have been inspired by the real-life case of John Demjanjuk, an Ohio resident accused of war crimes at Treblinka and Sobibor, extradited to Israel for trial in the mid 80's. The movie even has a brief reference to this Demjanjuk guy when someone tries to pronounce his complicated last name in a conversation with Jessica Lange. Costa Gavras seems to be intrigued by our very perception of the Holocaust and our ambivalent approach toward it. Lawyer Ann Talbot's Hungarian-born father is accused of war crimes, her ex-father-in-law is somewhat scornful towards the inviolability of the Holocaust, and even had drinks with "those monsters" when the West used ex-Nazis as spies against Communism. Not to mention the difficulty of prosecuting war crimes 40 odd years later when justice can be won by either concocted evidence or the cunning of legal argument, and historical truth becomes less important.

The courtroom scenes and dialogues are truly remarkable in their restraint, and give the viewer just enough background as is needed about the atrocities of Arrow Cross in Hungary between 1944 and 1945. Specially the testimony of one Mr. Bodai is awesome, that of man so much ravaged by horror that his delivery is almost a monotone, with little emotional difference between responding a "yes" and a "no".

But it is Jessica Lange that outshines everyone else in performance, may be one of her best ever.


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