Marathon Man

D: John Schlesinger
Paramount (Robert Evans & Sidney Beckerman)
US 1976
125 mins


W: William Goldman [based on his novel]
DP: Conrad L. Hall
Ed: Jim Clark
Mus: Michael Small

Dustin Hoffman (Babe Levy), Laurence Olivier (Szell), Roy Scheider (Doc Levy), William Devane (Janeway), Marthe Keller (Elsa), Fritz Weaver (Prof. Biesenthal), Marc Lawrence (Erhard)

Not a biopic about an Olympic champion that the title might suggest, but a gripping thriller with more nerve-jangling scenes than most of the modern day offerings.
A Nazi war profiteer returns to America from Uruguay in search for stolen diamonds which were in the possession of his (now dead) brother. He turns his attentions to those who he believe have clues to where they are hidden, an American agent and his younger brother, a long distance runner.
Dustin Hoffman, Roy Scheider & Marthe Keller are all very good, but the movie is remembered mostly for Laurence Olivier's crazed performance, the embodiment of sheer evil as Dr. Szell.
The dentistry torture scene is an iconic scene of motion picture history and worth watching the film for alone.

Laurence Olivier & Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man
Laurence Olivier & Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man