John Frankenheimer's eerily plausible adaptation of the Thomas Harris thriller of terrorists at the Super Bowl stars Robert Shaw as Mossad agent Major David Kabakov. Loosely inspired by the events of the 1972 Munich Olympics, the film concerns a group of Arab terrorists, calling themselves Black September, who plan to create havoc at the Super Bowl by sailing the Goodyear blimp into the huge crowd and raining 200,000 steel darts on the spectators. To this end, their leaders, Fasil (Bekim Fehmiu) and Dahlia (Marthe Keller), have decided that she will seduce Michael Lander (Bruce Dern), a disturbed Vietnam POW who pilots the blimp on weekends, and plant the darts without his knowledge. However, during a raid on a Black September stronghold, Kabakov finds a taped message left behind that warns the United States that it will pay dearly for turning its back on the Black September group. Kabakov heads for Washington, where he teams up with FBI agent Sam Corley (Fritz Weaver), desperate to know how and when the threat will be carried out before it happens. This is another excellent political thriller from Frankenheimer, in the tradition of THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and SEVEN DAYS IN MAY. Veteran screenwriter Ernest Lehman (NORTH BY NORTHWEST) fashions an uncomfortably convincing scenario, with well-developed characters played with utter conviction by Dern, Shaw, and Weaver.
Palestinian terrorists attempt to wipe out a Super Bowl crowd in this 1976 thriller directed by John Frankenheimer (Seconds
). Frankenheimer's unique facility with action--the unusual breadth of his view of violence, which stresses sustained drama over escalating thrills--makes this taut movie engrossing from start to finish. The lengthy cat-and-mouse stuff during the big game--much of which was shot at a real Super Bowl--is quite exciting. --Tom Keogh