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Marathon Man (BD)
Doc Levy (Roy Scheider) is an American secret agent who has been running interference between the US government and escaped Nazi war criminal Szell (Laurence Olivier). Believing that Doc has stolen a valuable cache of gems, Szell emerges from his South American hi ding place and heads for New York. He has Doc killed, then kidnaps Doc's in-the-dark brother Babe (Dustin Hoffman). Repeating the ph rase "Is it safe?" over and over, Szell, a onetime concentration camp dentist, tries to extract information from Babe by performing sadistic "oral surgery" upon him. Babe, who still doesn't know about the gems, escapes, breaking his own self-imposed rule of nonvio lence to defend himself against his pursuers. The fox becomes the hound when Babe overpowers Szell and forces the old man to swallow his valuable diamonds. Marathon Man traces Babe Levy's progression from pacifistic naif to cynical street-smart scrapper.]]>
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"Babe" Levy (Dustin Hoffman)lives a frugal life in New York as he puts together his doctoral thesis in political science. "Babe" gets drawn into a conspiracy involving a Nazi war criminal (Lawrence Olivier)working with "The Company" i.e., a clandestine U.S. intelligence organization. Babe's brother (Roy Scheider)acts as liaison between The Company which puts Babe in harm's way.
Directed by John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy [Blu-ray]), "Marathon Man" was Schlesinger's first thriller and he directs it with just the right mixture of paranoia and menace. Hoffman gives a terrific performance as Babe--a man who's past is tainted because his parents were targeted by Joe McCarthy and is lost because of this. Likewise, Scheider, William Devane, Marthe Keller and Fritz Weaver give strong, compelling performances.
The Blu-ray looks exceptionally good although there was some video noise evident in a couple of scenes but it shouldn't be that distracting. The 5.1 audio mix prepared for the previous DVD edition is imported over here as well and while quite discreet, it sounds nice.
As mentioned ALL the special features are imported over from the DVD special edition: We get the excerpt from the surviving rehearsal footage shot by director John Schlesinger; "Remembering 'Marathon Man'" the retrospective featurette running just under a half hour and the original vintage featurette as well as the theatrical trailer. All of the special features are in SD.
It's a pity that no commentary track was ever recorded for this featuring the surviving cast members when the DVD was issued. Only Hoffman and Devane of the original cast are still alive and I'm sure the pair would have made for a fun commentary track today.
A strong, paranoid thriller from a decade that produced some of the best thrillers, "Marathon Man" receives an exceptional good transfer.
Marathon Man was a financial and critical success when it was released in 1976. Lawrence Olivier, the evil Szell, is superb as the Nazi war criminal/dentist who tortures "babe" (Hoffman) in a scene that is particularly chilling and will never leave your memory. Hoffman is clearly the central character and star of the movie, and delivers a fine performance. A strong supporting cast includes Roy Scheider and William Devane.
This movie is listed by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 thrillers of all-time. They got that right.
Most recent customer reviews
"It starts slow but it gets good." I have heard this many times about many movies.Read more