"The Boys from Brazil" by Franklin J. Schaffner (1978)

Utterly strange and compulsively watchable despite obviously dated 1970s cinematography, the main asset of "The Boys from Brazil" is story based on the novel by Ira Levin, the guy behind "Rosemary's baby" and "Stepford Wives" - if it all appears far-fetched and borderline fantastic, well this is what made Levin worldwide famous, he successfully explored the possibility of monsters amongst us, evil hidden beyond ordinary, everyday faces.

Still big names at the time, although rusty around the edges, elderly Gregory Peck is matched against no other than theatre legend Laurence Olivier - it must have looked good at the posters and it was definitely a crowd pleaser but I genuinely wished that producers used some unknown talents, because these two Titans just couldn't resist the temptation to exaggerate in every possible scene and even though Olivier was nominated for Academy Award (!) because of them the movie slides into camp extravaganza that still has its merits, but not because of the actors. Olivier plays elderly Viennese Nazi-hunter obviously inspired by Simon Wiesenthal, while Peck is making faces and flashing angry eyes as Dr.Mengele. Impossibly young and fresh-faced Steve Guttenberg (in the days before "Police Academy") valiantly tries to get Olivier's attention from some God forsaken corner of South America, not understanding that his idol and writer of all those books is in fact impoverished and bitter old man who can hardly get media attention anymore. What follows is quite interesting and unpredictable plot that keeps the viewer intrigued if you can get over static direction, but it must be mention that director Franklin J. Schaffner was no slouch, after all the guy made "Planet of the Apes" and "Papillon" so he actually had a strong background.

Even if the story might leave you baffled, there is still something interesting if you care to look beyond the surface: at the time when novel was originally published in 1976. it was hardly 30 years since WW2 but Holocaust was already perceived as old news and its painful that old Nazi hunter must beg for newspaper attention, since people don't want to think about it anymore. He obviously lives in poverty and finances himself from sales of books and occasional public lectures, painfully aware that villains are still around and if they managed to stay undercover, they live comfortably, smirking at his efforts. It is a very serious subject and not something to be treated lightly but Hollywood uses is simply as a plot device here, without going much into correctness or injustice of it all. You might be a hero one day but very soon its your turn to become old news. Another interesting point is a subject of biological engineering which is actually not so impossible at all, since science improves daily and lab technicians are already reaching the places not even Ira Levin could dream of. The movie deserves to be re-made again as the subject is quite fascinating. 

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