Monday, August 27, 2012

The Man in the Glass Booth (1975)

Director: Arthur Hiller

Starring: Maximilian Schell, Lois Nettleton, Lawrence Pressman, Luther Adler, Lloyd Bochner, Robert H. Harris

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The kidnapping . . . . The masquerade . . . The murder trial . . . . Perhaps the most suspenseful shocker of our time.

Plot: Arthur Goldman is a rich Jewish industrialist, living in luxury in a Manhattan high-rise. He banters with his assistant Charlie, often shocking Charlie with his outrageousness and irreverence about aspects of Jewish life. Nonetheless, Charlie is astonished when, one day, Israeli secret agents burst in and arrest Goldman for being not a Jewish businessman but a Nazi war criminal. Whisked to Israel for trial, Goldman forces his accusers to face not only his presumed guilt--but their own.


My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? It's worth it but probably not.

I'm a HUGE fan of Schell's. What a fantastic actor! This is essentially his show. He's in every scene (nearly two full hours of them) and he's as eccentric as can be. For the first hour his strange behavior kept me wondering where they were going with it until "it" happens and then the film takes a tonal shift that makes all the sense in the world. That's when Schell's "Arthur Goldman" really kicks into high gear and he becomes VERY interesting...and fun. Then the final few minutes reveal something else that gives this picture the weight it's been building up to and it's a great, albeit tragic, payoff. Schell is brilliant. This might not be the picture you slap in just for the hell of it but you'll be glad you saw it. I am, at least. I knew absolutely nothing about this picture going in and I'm glad as hell I didn't so much as see the trailer. It was more effective that way.

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