The film begins in Paraguay, where a resourceful young American Jew, Barry Kohler (Steve Guttenberg), tracks down several Nazi war criminals living in exile and stumbles across a conference during which infamous Nazi surgeon Dr Josef Mengele (Gregory Peck) outlines a plan to murder nearly 100 seemingly innocuous 65-year-old men living throughout the world in order to activate dozens of clones made from Adolf Hitler’s DNA.
Barry transmits his initial findings to ageing Jewish Nazi-hunter Ezra Lieberman (Laurence Olivier) who is initially sceptical.
Meanwhile, Mengele discovers Barry’s spying and has the young man killed, initiating a cat-and-mouse game – can Mengele execute his evil scheme before Lieberman brings the notorious “Angel of Death” to justice?
There are moments of suspense here and there, but the shaky story, based on Ira Levin’s best-selling novel, lapses into silliness and the leading performances are so over the top as to border on camp.
Gregory Peck always portrayed virtue by being stiff and condescending. Here, he portrays evil by being stiffer and even more condescending.
Dr Josef Mengele
Jack Curry/Simon Harrington/Erich Doring/Bobby Wheelock
Raul Faustino Saldanha