Weekend Rental Recs: Gripping Films About Geriatric Nazis

Octogenarian Osyp "Joe" Firishchak is a Polish Chicagoan facing

deportation, the

target="_blank">Chicago Sun-Times reports. 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

people.

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.

Marathon

Man (1976)

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

at Mr

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).

target="_blank">The Boys from Brazil (1978)

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.

Apt Pupil

(1998)

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.

Mother

Night (1996)

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

of Dexter

should note that Mother Night's director Gordon is now one of

the show's leading creators.

target="_blank">House on Garibaldi Street (1979),

target="blank">The Man Who Captured Eichmann (1996)

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

Duvall.