Adapted by William Goldman from his own novel, this thriller is quite effective in its basic set pieces, even if the overall thrust seems a trifle ponderous. Hoffman plays a graduate student catapulted into a confrontation with grim former concentration camp Jew-killer Szell (Olivier, giving a rather circumscribed if impeccable performance). The pointlessly obscure construction and numerous loose ends make the triviality of the plot all the more annoying, and Schlesinger should have resisted the grossly over-used Central Park locations. Best moment is a compelling night sequence centering on the use of dentistry as a grisly method of torture.
Cast and crew
Dustin Hoffman Laurence Olivier Roy Scheider William Devane Marthe Keller Fritz Weaver Richard Bright Marc Lawrence