When I first started covering FIFA’s 2014 World Cup in Brazil, it became apparent that perhaps the biggest favorite besides the hosts and perhaps their rivals, Argentina, were the Germans. What immediately sprung to my mind was the late 70’s film, Boys From Brazil; and now, as German players expound upon their confidence and the grasping of destiny, and Rio de Janeiro braces for this all-Adidas-clad German and Argentinian invasion, Fortuitously, we have the film in FilmOn’s free VoD service allowing one to entertain all your conspiracy theories…
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This 1978 Boys From Brazil was based the novel by the same title by Ira Levin, whose work had already been most famously adapted for Rosemary’s Baby (1967), and The Stepford Wives (1975). Boys tells a similarly nefarious tale, involving a plot eugenetically engineered in the depths of the Brazilian jungle by notorious fugitive Nazi prison camp doctor Joseph Mengele (played wonderfully against type by Gregory Peck in the film) to restore and improve Hitler’s legacy for a superhuman race. Sir Laurence Olivier (flipping sides from his evil 1975 Marathon Man turn) plays a famous Nazi hunter, drawn into fighting the plot by a pre-Diner/Police Academy Steve Guttenberg.
An international all-star cast of classic actors supports, including James Mason (Odd Man Out, North By Northwest, Lolita, Cross of Iron to name a few), Bruno Ganz (The American Friend, Wings of Desire), Walter Gotell (General Gogol from the Bond films, who gets a classic scene presaging 1995‘s GoldenEye), and Michael Gough (Alfred from the Tim Burton-generated Batman film series). Even Günter Meisner, the menacing Slugworth from the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) joins in the evil fun.
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For director Franklin J. Schaffner, Boys capped a decade-long run of wide-screen classics that included the original Planet of the Apes (1968), Patton (1970), Papillon (1973), and for those who would also like to look ahead to the next FIFA World Cup in Russia, Nicholas and Alexandra (1971). One of his favorite composers, Jerry Goldsmith (the Flint films, Ballad of Cable Hogue, Alien, Poltergeist) contributes a typically classy score that combines Teutonic intrigue with tasteful yet surprising tropical garnishes. By the way, in the end the Germans don’t win, but they still kind of get away with it….
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