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Marathon Man (1976)

Director John Schlesinger’s super-charged thriller is about Babe Babington (Dustin Hoffman), a Jewish Columbia University graduate student who, for reasons he cannot understand (his brother was a secret agent), is pursued and tormented by Szell (Laurence  Olivier) – a surviving Nazi who is also a former dentist.

In fact, Olivier tortures Hoffman in two ways; a) by performing unnecessary cavity work and b) by being a better actor than him.

marathonman

“Is it safe?” No, it bloody isn’t!

The film is paradoxical – At times generating a tension that is nearly unbearable and then providing moments of intense excitement.

It’s crammed with brutal killings, bone-chilling torture, and triple crosses. Yet it’s all wrapped in a murky and confusing plot that hardly makes much sense.

Still, the final showdown where Hoffman forces the old man to eat his diamonds before shooting him dead is a blinder.

The screenplay was written by William Goldman from his own best-selling novel, and Hoffman, Olivier, and the rest of the cast are in fine form.

Just one thing . . . Babington could have solved all of his problems in a second. Phone the police, Dustin!

Babe Babington
Dustin Hoffman
Szell
Laurence Olivier
Doc
Roy Scheider
Janeway
William Devane
Elsa
Marthe Keller
Professor Biesenthal
Fritz Weaver
Karl
Richard Bright
Erhard
Marc Lawrence
Babe’s Father
Allen Joseph
Melendez
Tito Goya
Szell’s Brother
Ben Dova
Rosenbaum
Lou Gilbert
LeClerc
Jacques Marin
Chen
James Wing Woo
Nicole
Nicole Deslauriers

Director
John Schlesinger