Odessa File, The (1974)

The Odessa File (1974), directed by Ronald Neame.

Pursuing a story that begins the day of the JFK assassination in 1963, a German journalist discovers a dead man's death camp diary. Tracking down the camp commandant, an escaped war criminal, he enters a dangerous thicket of lies and espionage.

ODESSA, the organization that protects former SS members, has people in the police and even in the government offices which are supposed to investigate and prosecute war criminals. Who do you trust? Suppose you wanted to penetrate ODESSA: how dangerous would that be?

The first half is methodically developed and paced, a sort of hunt-the-war-criminal procedural plot. This style can sometimes seem slow and unnecessarily detailed, but it has its appeal. The film becomes more action-oriented and improbable in the second half.

This is Jon Voight after Deliverance (1972) and before Coming Home (1978). Also with Maximilian Schell as the chief baddie. Voight's love interest is Mary Tamm who I remember as the First Romana in the Tom Baker years of the original Doctor Who series.

According to the wikipedia article, the consensus among historians is that ODESSA did not really exist. Many dispute that: The SS (Schutzstaffel): Organization of Former SS Members (ODESSA).

From Frederick Forsyth's novel. Score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, cinematography by Oswald Morris.

Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal is listed as "documentary adviser" and an actor portrays him in the film.

Available on Blu-ray with ugly subtitles on a black background stripe.