[box cover]

The Odessa File

When German journalist Peter Miller (Jon Voight) comes across the diary of an elderly German Jew and concentration-camp survivor, he becomes inexplicably obsessed with tracking down the secret ODESSA group of Nazi war criminals, and specifically Eduard Roschmann (Maximillian Schell), the butcher of Riga, whose inhumanity is chronicled in the old man's book. Given little support from his newspaper, the police, or government officials, Miller's journey leads him to famed Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal (Shmuel Rodensky), and then to representatives of the Israeli Mossad, who convince him to infiltrate ODESSA as a former SS soldier. Based on the best-seller by renowned spy-novelist Frederick Forsythe, The Odessa File lacks the high-tension cat-and-mouse game of The Day of the Jackal, but the plot stays on course and the performances are solid — in particular Voight, whose German accent is flawless and utterly convincing. Jackal veteran Derek Jacobi shows up in the second half of the film for a delicious turn, and, despite little screen time, Schell's performance as the brutal SS commandant is compelling. Like virtually everything from the Forsythe oeuvre, you can expect a nifty final plot twist where you least expect it. Unfortunately, Andrew Lloyd Webber's ornate score is as subtle as a car-bomb. Directed by Ronald Neame, adapted from the novel by Kenneth Ross. Good transfer from a near-pristine source print, widescreen or pan-and-scan, Dolby Surround 2.0, cast-and-crew notes, trailers for The Odessa File, U-Turn, and Anaconda. Keep-case.

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