In occupied France during the WWII, a German officer is murdered. The collaborationist Vichy government decides to pin the murder on six petty criminals. Loyal judges are called in to convict them as quickly as possible.
An unknown Polish writer can't publish his novels, so his ex-wife decides to help him and get some of the profit for herself. She finally finds a publisher, but there's a strange single condition that could cost the writer his life.
Gilbert Ivy and his wife Jewell are farmers. They seem to be working against the odds, producing no financial surplus. Gilbert has lost hope of ever becoming prosperous, but his wife ... See full summary »
Anton Ludvik, aka Gerard, is vice-minister of Foreign Affairs of Czechoslovakia. He realizes he is watched and followed. One day, he is arrested and put into jail, in solitary confinement. ... See full summary »
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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 <email@example.com>
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 »
Excellent performances by Armin Mueller-Stahl and Jessica Lange (and even Michael Rooker in a thankless role) make "The Music Box" well-worth seeing (and seeing again). I also appreciated Costa-Gavras's establishing shots such as the dizzying image in a large building as Lazlo and his daughter go up an elevator to meet with federal prosecutors, pigeons on the window sill of the court room, etc. I liked the way Chicago and Budapest are used in the movie as two poles of the story. It is true that a few things do not make sense. Ann Talbot (Lange) accuses the US prosecutor (Frederick Forest) of letting the Hungarian government dictate his case, and the US does seem to rely entirely on Hungarian evidence, never bothering to look for any evidence west of Budapest. There is something to be said, however, for the suspension of disbelief. If the US prosecutors were not so incompetent, then it would not be entirely up to Talbot, the moral center of the movie, to uncover the truth and carry the responsibility for it entirely by herself. It is, by the way, the Hungarians and not the Russians whom Lazlo accuses of trying to frame him.
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