Octogenarian Osyp "Joe" Firishchak is a Polish Chicagoan facing
target="_blank">Chicago Sun-Timesreports. Frankly, it
sounds like he's getting off easy, that is, if the allegations are
true. In 2005, the US Department of Justice Office of Special
Investigations produced testimony to a federal court accusing Firishcak
of being a Nazi war criminal, who, while working for the Ukrainian
Auxilary Police, was partially responsible for executing up to 100,000
At the same time, Firischchak is 88-f'ing-years old. And according
to the Tribune, his Jewish neighbors don't buy any of the
allegations against him.
It brings a lot of classic cinema to mind, and I can't help opine
that the Elderly War Criminal film has become a genre of its own. Your
rental recs this weekend: movies about capturing geriatric Nazis.
alt="" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"/>Is it safe? ...
Is it safe? ... Is it safe? ...Marathon Man, obviously,
contains one of the most tense, brutal, nerve-wracking torture scenes
ever crafted for the screen, and most of the torment is in the
repetitive dialogue delivered by Laurence Olivier playing a character
composite based on Dr. Josef "Angel of Death" Mengele. It's odd to look
Magorium's Wonder Emporium and remember that Dustin Hoffman
was once a method actor (training hard for his runner role) in this
pitch-black suspense film. Written by one of the American screenplay
masters, William Goldman, the ultimate message of the film is that even
irrational hate is always about money (or, in this case diamonds).
alt="" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"/>Two years after Marathon
Men Laurence Olivier would return to the screen as a Nazi hunter
who discovers that Mengele is planning a major Nazi-cloning operation
in South America. According to Wikipedia,
X3 and Prison Break pilot director Brett Ratner is
set to direct the remake.
alt="" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"/>Call it Bryan
Singer's second lost film, the first being his pre-Usual
Suspects indie production Public
Access. Ian McKellen, before he'd really established himself
as the ultimate old-guy actor in the US, plays a Nazi in hiding who's
encouraged to dig up his long-forgotten swastika armband in order to
tutor a new prodigy. In addition to the Elderly War Criminal category,
this film also fits firmly in the non-supernatural Stephen King
adaptation genre. It's also worth noting that in this film, McKellen is
pulling an Olivier: playing a Nazi first, before playing a Holocaust
survivor in the X-Men series.
alt="" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"/>I may be begging
unnecessary controversy with this recommendation (or, indeed, with this
entire article), but I genuinely feel that Keith Gordon's Mother
Night is the best Kurt Vonnegut adaptation to date. Perhaps it
wasn't as culturally significant as Slaughterhouse-Five, but
to those who caught it in the theater, it was certainly more
artistically complete and morally engaging. Nick Nolte plays an
American radio propagandist for the Third Reich, who decades later, is
caught and imprisoned. The twist: he was actually an American spy. Fans
should note that Mother Night's director Gordon is now one of
the show's leading creators.
alt="" align="left" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"/>The Nazi War
Criminal story that's fascinated me most is how Israeli secret agents
were able to track down and capture Adolf Eichmann, Hitler's right-hand
man and the concentration camp mastermind, and sneak him out of Brazil
for trial. A television miniseries was produced in 1979, but, like
Eichmann, it might be difficult to find (and horrible if you succeed).
A better bet is The Man Who Captured Eichmann starring Robert