April 16, 2010

For The Love of Peter O'Toole: Night of the Generals

Film: Night of the Generals (Anatole Litvak, 1967)
Role: General Tanz

Night of the Generals is one of those films with a better premise than execution. The premise is that there are a series of murders of prostitutes in Nazi-occupied countries (Poland, France, etc.) and a German officer Major Grau (Omar Sharif) is tasked with investigating them. He runs into trouble however when a witness claims he saw the murder was wearing a the uniform of a General. There are three suspects: General Tanz (O'Toole), General Kahlenberge (DonaldPleasence), and General von Siedlitz-Gabler (Charles Gray). It's not much of a mystery, however, because we learn early on that Tanz is the killer; Grau just doesn't know it yet. Tanz employs a low-ranking Corporal Hartmann (Tom Courtenay) to act as his driver, much in the same way it is speculated Jack the Ripper employed a coachman to drive him from murder to murder and act as an alibi should he need one. In the film's most riveting scene, Tanz effectively frames Hartmann for the murder he's committed just seconds before. O'Toole is at his icy, crazy best in this scene and Courtney matches him beat for beat. If only the entire movie had the forcefulness and suspense shown here:

No comments:

Post a Comment