Monday, May 26, 2014

The Holcroft Covenant (1985)

Director: John Frankenheimer

Writers: Robert Ludlum, George Axelrod, Edward Anhalt, John Hopkins

Composer: Stanislas Syrewicz

Starring: Michael Caine, Anthony Andrews, Victoria Tennant, Lilli Palmer, Mario Adorf, Michael Lonsdale, Bernard Hepton, Richard Munch, Carl Rigg, Andre Penvern, Andy Bradford, Shane Rimmer, Alexander Kerst, Michael Wolf, Hugo Bower

More info: IMDb

Tagline:Noel Holcroft is suddenly heir to one of the greatest fortunes in history.  Now, all he has to do is stay alive to collect it.

Plot: Noel Holcroft is a foreign-born American citizen working in New York as an architect. In Geneva he meets with a respected Swiss banker who tells him he has been designated to be executor of a huge 4 1/2 billion dollar trust fund designed to make reparations for the war crimes of the Nazis. Holcroft's father, who committed suicide in 1945, was a key Hitler financial advisor who became conscience-stricken about German war atrocities, turned against the Fuehrer, and covertly diverted Nazi funds to a secret Swiss account. Under the terms of the covenant Holcroft must locate the sons of his father's two associates so they can jointly activate their fathers' account. They battle the sinister forces seem to be trying to prevent them from signing the document as it is believed that it will be used to establish a Fourth Reich.

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again? Aw, hell, no.

Wow.  This is downright embarrassing.  When you consider the talent surrounding this picture it's staggering that it's so undercooked and amateurish.  All of the screenwriters and Frankenheimer are far better than this.  There are some bright spots with some of the cast. Caine does a fine job as usual.  I guess you could say he comes off best.  And you've got two James Bond alumni with Michael Lonsdale and Shane Rimmer.  Nice.  And how about Mario Adorf?  Yes!  The music score is horrendous.  It's low-grade slasher horror synthesizer nonsense and most of it (it did get better in the last twenty minutes, really, it got better only in the final minutes of the picture) is pretty awful.

Probably the most hilariously bad scene is the press conference.  It's so unrealistic and goofily handled I couldn't help but laugh.  Where does the bad stem from?  Is it Ludlum's novel?  Is it that bad that it was this difficult to translate onto the screen?  It's a simple story made more complicated than it needed to be as if to take a paint-by-numbers kit and attempt to turn it into a photo-realistic painting or as if Bozo the Clown wanted to be taken seriously as an actor.  They tried too hard with too little and it's too bad for us.

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