The year is 1963. The place: Hamburg, Germany. An elderly Jewish man commits suicide, leaving a diary which falls into the hands of a freelance newspaperman, Peter Miller (Jon Voight). The diary documents the unspeakable crimes of cruelty, torture and mass murder perpetrated by SS Captain Eduard Roschmann (Maximilian Schell), commandant of the notorious wartime deathcamp at Riga, Latvia. Miller launches a personal manhunt to track down Roschmann, an investigation that leads him into the very heart of Odessa, a powerful secret organization formed by the SS to protect and re-establish its fugitive members throughout the world. When Miller finds Roschmann, he learns that the former Nazi is now the leader of a weaponry complex of international, strategic consequence.
An overeager German journalist (Jon Voight) discovers a long-buried secret plot beginning to resurface in this moderately compelling, surprisingly straightforward adaptation of a novel by conspiracy whiz Fredrick (Day of the Jackal
) Forsythe. Although this somewhat pokey suspenser never quite flows the way a classic espionage thriller should, it does offer a number of compelling diversions along the way, including a blessedly nonhammy (and impressively accented) performance by Voight, Derek Jacobi's amusingly Freudian supporting turn, and a tremendously physical hand-to-hand confrontation in a print shop that leaves no pane of glass intact. Maximillian Schell's scenery-chewing, deliciously evil cameo almost makes this worth the watch by itself. Andrew Lloyd Webber composed the garishly florid (yet somehow effective) score. --Andrew Wright
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.