August 21, 2003
Dr. Christian Szell
Dr. Christian Szell (Lawrence Olivier) was once known as the "White Angel." It had to do with the large crop of bright white hair on his head, but had nothing to do with his skills as a doctor or dentist. During World War II, he ran the exexperimental camp in Auschwitz, and would bargain for the release of certain Jews in exchange for the gold in their teeth. Eventually, he would demand their entire fortunes - and diamonds - instead.
In 1945, he managed to escape Germany with his brother. While Szell laid low in Uruguay, his brother travelled to the US and stashed the diamonds. Years later, Szell learned that his brother was killed in a freak accident, so despite the efforts of authorities to locate him to prosecute him for his WWII hate crimes, he came to New York City to collect the family jewels.
In the middle of all this is Thomas "Babe" Levy (Dustin Hoffman), whose brother is a government spy involved with the efforts to find Szell. When his brother is killed by Szell, Babe is taken hostage by Szell because he needs to know what his brother told him, if anything. Szell simply wants to know if it is safe for him to go to his brother's safe deposit box to pick up the diamonds, and he goes to extreme torturous lengths to find this out. "Is it safe?" No, not with this maniac running around.
Ultimately, it's not the feds that Szell has to worry about, but the countless souls he tortured and mistreated in Germany all those years ago. After grabbing the diamonds, Szell is forced to run again after being spotted, but Babe Levy has unfinished business with him and his gang. Greed plays a big part in Szell's demise, and after a showdown with Babe, Jews everywhere can feel a little... safer.
INTELLIGENCE - 6: Szell has been patient for many years, but the recent events have forced him to make new plans very quickly.
POWER - 5: He's older and weaker, but still got tricks up his sleeve (literally).
VILENESS - 10: If the Nazis liked his torture methods...
SWAY - 9: Cold and stern, Szell is a frightening figure with a foreign accent.
PURITY - 9: Years removed from the concentration camps, he's still a ruthless killer and torturer.
PHYSICAL - 3: An old man with a permanent frown, and anyone that remembers him from Germany will give him away immediately.
Posted by Destro at August 21, 2003 09:22 AM