Every Friday I recommend an entertaining, slow-paced movie from no later than 1985 to help you unwind at the end of the week in our fast-paced world.
This week’s recommendation is 1978’s “The Boys from Brazil,” starring Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier, and directed by Franklin J. Schaffner of “Planet of the Apes.”
Based on the novel of the same name by the author of “The Stepford Wives” and “Rosemary’s Baby” (you may be starting to get an idea of where this is headed), “The Boys from Brazil” follows an elderly Nazi hunter named Ezra Lieberman on the international trail of the infamous—and very real—Dr. Josef Mengele, a Nazi in hiding who is most known for his horrific experiments on people in Auschwitz during World War II. Mengele’s incredibly dark machinations are far-reaching in their aspirations, and Lieberman must get to the bottom of it all before it’s too late.
Despite some moments on the ridiculous side, “The Boys from Brazil” is a great thriller—serious and weighty yet pulpy, biting and merciless—backed by supremely excellent performances from both Peck as Mengele and Olivier as Lieberman. Both actors are the polar opposites of their respective roles in “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Rebecca.” It goes without saying that my image of Atticus Finch is shattered and my heart sinks a bit every time I see this movie; or think about it, for that matter.
The plot unfolds in a very suspenseful fashion, visiting outstanding international locations along the way. For a modern comparison, much of the first act of “X-Men: First Class” reminds me of this film.
“The Boys from Brazil” actually features a collection of locations I never thought would ever be combined in a single movie (my classmates from my college days can attest to that one).
There are some very stressful and unsettling scenes in the film, but it’s definitely a movie worth revisiting, a kind of thriller that just doesn’t come around very often.
Who are the boys, you ask? Why is Brazil involved? How do Batman, Spider-Man, Indiana Jones and the “Three Men and a Baby” saga factor into it? All in one movie?
No, I’m not kidding.
You’re just going to have to watch it to find out!
All right—I know you can go to IMDb, but please just watch the movie first. Please? Trust me, it’s better that way.
After all that, if you still need something retro to satisfy your movie appetite until next week, check out my previous recommendations:
“Lady Sings the Blues”
“Dawn of the Dead”
“Alice in Wonderland”
“The Brother from Another Planet”
“Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes”
“Planet of the Apes”
“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”
Let me know what you think of this week’s recommendation and stay tuned!
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