Night of the Generals, The (1967)

The Night of the Generals (1967), directed by Anatole Litvak.

A murder mystery in an unusual setting: a prostitute is horrifically murdered in 1942 Warsaw and three German generals are suspects. One (Peter O'Toole) is an obvious psycho. (Coincidentally, the other two, Charles Gray and Donald Pleasence, both played James Bond's nemesis Blofeld).

Omar Sharif is a German officer who won't let go of the case, as dangerous as that may be ("I have a zealous nature, sir. I can't help it.") Everyone involved is together again in Paris in 1944, when there is an identical murder. We have parallel developments 23 years later. The murders have still not been solved, but an INTERPOL inspector is closing in.

It's well done but leisurely paced at 2h28m. A long section involves the bomb plot against Hitler. Christopher Plummer appears briefly as Rommel.

The characters discuss an interesting point: can civil law function in an occupied country during wartime? Even among the nazis? They never really work that out: justice of a sort is finally done, but not until years after the war.

Maurice Jarre score.

No one did wild-eyed crazy better than O'Toole. Michael Caine wrote about those days: Never go out drinking with Peter O'Toole. You'll black out, wake up three days later in an unknown location, and he'll tell you not to ask how you got there, it's better not to know.