Michael Caine (The Ipcress File) and legendary director John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate, Ronin) team up for an explosive action/thriller jam-packed with heart-stopping suspense and international intrigue. Based on the best-selling novel by Robert Ludlum (and scripted by George Axelrod, Edward Anhalt and John Hopkins), the adventure unfolds "with a crispness that suggests acid etching a nightmare on glass" (Los Angeles Times). Noel Holcroft (Caine) is a New York architect who receives an unexpected inheritance from his ex-Nazi father: $40 billion in funds stolen from the Third Reich, now intended to aid Holocaust survivors. But as Holcroft delves into the treasure's mysterious history, he is thrust into a pulse-pounding adventure in which he alone stands in the way of a plan that is moving inexorably toward its terrifying conclusion: the rise of an all-powerful Fourth Reich!
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The 1980s weren't too kind to John Frankenheimer, but this film stands out as a top-notch spy thriller. A Nazi pact to steal a fortune from the Third Reich to aid Holocaust survivors results in a bizarre inheritance 40 years later, with architect Michael Caine having to come to terms with his father's past and the terrifying prospects of a Fourth Reich. The whole thing becomes a metaphor for a witches' covenant. It's exciting and well-paced and full of precious little moments (though Caine and Victoria Tennant fall short of being interesting characters). Supporting actors Mario Adorf, Michael Lonsdale, and Bernard Hepton really shine. The film was based on Robert Ludlum's bestseller and coscripted by George Axelrod (The Manchurian Candidate). Terrific audio commentary by the director provides valuable insight--for instance, allowing Lonsdale to carry a long exposition scene through his commanding presence. --Bill Desowitz
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