The Odessa File (film)
|The Odessa File|
|Directed by||Ronald Neame|
|Produced by||John Woolf|
|Written by||Kenneth Ross
|Based on||The Odessa File
by Frederick Forsyth
|Music by||Andrew Lloyd Webber|
|Edited by||Ralph Kemplen|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$6 million (North American rentals)|
The Odessa File is a 1974 espionage thriller film adaptation of the novel The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth, about a struggle between a young German reporter and the ODESSA, an organization for ex-Nazis. The film stars Jon Voight, Maximilian Schell and Maria Schell and was directed by Ronald Neame, with a score by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was the only film which the Schell siblings made together.
On 22 November 1963, the day that President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Peter Miller, a young freelance reporter, pulls over to the curb to listen to a radio report of the event in a district in Hamburg, West Germany. As a result, he happens to be stopped at a traffic signal as an ambulance passes by on a highway.
He chases the ambulance and discovers it is en route to pick up the body of an elderly Jewish Holocaust survivor who had committed suicide, leaving behind no family. The reporter obtains the diary of the man, which contains information on his life in the Second World War Riga Ghetto, and the name of the SS officer who ran the camp, Eduard Roschmann.
Determined to hunt Roschmann down, Miller dares to go undercover to join and infiltrate the ODESSA and find Roschmann, who now runs a high-tech company which plans to send radio gyroscopes and biochemical warheads to Egypt to use against Israel.
ODESSA is an acronym for the German phrase "Organisation der Ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen", which translates as "Organisation of Former Members of the SS".
- Jon Voight – Peter Miller
- Maximilian Schell – Eduard Roschmann
- Maria Schell – Frau Miller
- Mary Tamm – Sigi
- Derek Jacobi – Klaus Wenzer
- Peter Jeffrey – David Porath
- Klaus Löwitsch – Gustav Mackensen
- Kurt Meisel – Alfred Oster
- Günter Meisner – General Greifer
- Hannes Messemer – General Richard Glücks
- Garfield Morgan – Israeli Defence Force General
- Shmuel Rodensky – Simon Wiesenthal
- Ernst Schröder – Werner Deilman
- Günter Strack – Kunik
- Noel Willman – Franz Bayer
- Martin Brandt – Marx
Nora Sayre of The New York Times said, "The film makes its points methodically, almost academically. It also drags because there are many unnecessary transitional passages, devoted to moving the characters from one situation to another. Almost every occurrence is predictable."
Groggy Dundee in Nothing is Written said, "Jon Voight does well, making Miller a credible and compelling protagonist. Maximilian Schell is excellent in what amounts to an extended cameo." However, he criticizes the filmmakers for simplifying Forsyth's novel and dulling its anti-Nazi message.
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