Apr 7, 2016

Marathon Man




As far as film (sub)genres go, there is probably none that is more patently oxymoronic and outstandingly absurd than the “Jewish Thriller,” which is exactly how queer British-Jewish auteur John Schlesinger (Billy Liar, Darling) described his fairly commercially and critically successful film Marathon Man (1976) starring Dustin Hoffman as a somewhat unlikable Jewish doctoral candidate and legendary British master actor Laurence Olivier as a murderously greedy and vain Nazi criminal criminal who is forced to resume his favorite old pastime of elegantly torturing Israelites with his masterful Aryan dental skills. If Ronald Neame’s The Odessa File (1974), Franklin J. Schaffner’s badly botched Ira Levin adaptation The Boys from Brazil (1978) starring alpha-white-liberal Gregory Peck in the hilarious against-type role of Dr. Josef ‘Angel of Death’ Mengele, George Roy Hill’s The Little Drummer Girl (1984), Éric Rochant’s Les patriots (1994) aka The Patriots, Eytan Fox’s Walk On Water (2004), and Stephen Spielberg’s Munich (2005) are notable examples of the Jewish thriller than I can certainly completely do without the entire subgenre, yet somehow I found Schlesinger’s film to be strangely enthralling, especially for a highly commercial movie that was directed by an exceedingly effete Hebraic queen who was not exactly suited for such a film and who apparently mainly opted to take on the fairly masculine project because his previous film—the rather underrated cult flick The Day of the Locust (1975)—was an abject commercial and critical failure and, as source writer William Goldman once revealed, he was “terrified he was dead in Hollywood.”  Of course, Schlesinger made the right decision, as the film ultimately proved to be his last extremely successful cinematic work, though it has never really been considered a masterpiece and its popularity surely has dwindled as the decades have passed.  It should also be noted that, despite being an extremely Jewish film in many regards, Schlesinger's somewhat eccentric thriller is a rare Hollywood production that features various defective and even loathsome Hebraic characters.

While certainly a piece of sleekly stylized kitsch like most thrillers, Marathon Man has enough memorable idiosyncrasy and preternatural paranoiac energy to warrant modern day reexamining, even if the world is already contaminated enough with goyim-geared Zionist propaganda. Indeed, featuring a super sly blue-eyed Chinese hit men that gets in a homoerotic fight to the death with a macho gay Jew government secret agent, angry Auschwitz-esque German Shepherds that horrify the neurotic titular protagonist, scheming German shiksa spies, an unintentionally hilarious elderly Jew versus elderly Aryan road rage incident that is ignited by the extremely hostile and seemingly senile Hebrew and climaxes with both men dying in a mini urban holocaust after they accidentally crash their cars into an oil truck, and Laurence Olivier in the last great role of his career as a diamond-fetishizing Nazi war criminal that acts more like a stereotypical evil Jew than an evil Nazi, Marathon Man is a sort of conspicuously kosher Kafkaesque thriller that makes more allegorical references to the holocaust than Orson Welles’ rather dark masterpiece The Trial (1962), albeit in executed in a less abstract and more organic fashion that makes one realize that auteur Schlesinger has a deep-seated and visceral fear and hatred of both Nazis and Germans. In fact, in an interview with his mischling half-Dutch nephew Ian Buruma featured in the book Conversations with John Schlesinger (2006), the director confessed in regard to his Teutophobia, “We all have prejudices, of course, and one of mine is a hatred of all things German, as a result of the Holocaust […] Going to Germany after the war and even working there, in Berlin on Ian McEwan’s THE INNOCENT, made me very conscious of my anti-German feelings. I never suffered personally at their hands, but I do remember a relative in Holland named Martin Schuster, who was in a wheelchair. Martin, who was much older than me, had the same birth date as I did and always used to remember my birthday. Then suddenly the birthday cards stopped. I heard subsequently that he had been sent to a concentration camp and was exterminated. I find it awfully difficult to divorce all that from my basic anti-German feelings.”   In other words, like many modern Jews, Schlesinger seems incapable of differentiating between Nazis and Germans and sees them both as sort of perennial mortal enemies.  To Schlesinger's credit, his anti-Aryanism did not stop him from collaborating with Austrian master conductor and one-time Nazi party member Herbert von Karajan on a production of Giuseppe Verdi's classic opera Un ballo in maschera aka A Masked Ball.




 Despite his keenly kosher hatred of krauts, Schlesinger, who had three German-born grandparents, was somewhat ironically raised with a deep appreciation for German high culture and he has even expressed a deep appreciation for both antisemitic proto-Nazi composer Richard Wagner and (in)famous Third Reich filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, not to mention the fact he had an equal appreciation for English culture and the royal family, hence his fairly European sensibility as a filmmaker. Indeed, Marathon Man is what you might expect if the eccentric queer son of Jean-Pierre Melville and Ida Lupino made a respectable failed attempt to direct a big budget Mossad recruitment video disguised as a Hollywood thriller. Admittedly, as much as I would typically rather perform cunnilingus on the decaying corpse of an AIDS-ridden negress crack whore than watch another Zionistic celluloid turd, Schlesinger's film somehow manages to transcend the whole Israeli agitprop angle and becomes something more bizarre as a cinematic that seems more like an incriminating Hebraic horror film that exposes some of the more absurd forms of Judaic paranoia and thus actually somehow manages to enable less than philo-Semitic individuals like myself to empathize with the curious kosher plight of a Jewish doctoral student that proudly identifies as a liberal pacifist. Additionally, while he is not depicted absurdly shooting Jews for target practice while drunk with his beer belly hanging out from the comfort of his chateau balcony like the highly fictionalized Amon Göth featured in Spielberg’s Schindler’s List (1993, the Mengele-esque Nazi war criminal depicted in Schlesinger's film is easily the most enthrallingly evil and delightfully menacing Hollywood screen Nazi I have ever encountered, as a sort of mystifying and highly secretive National Socialist war criminal that is plagued with many of the highly stereotypical negative flaws of his Jewish enemies, namely a fiendish fetish for diamonds and material wealth. On the other hand, I have never seen a film that featured so many hordes of weird and creepy Jews flooding city streets that range from hysterical Yiddish-speaking holocaust survivors to slimy jewelry dealers to packs of yarmulke-sporting Orthodox pups. In short, sometimes Marathon Man feels like it could be renamed Dawn of the Judaics or Day of the Jews. Indeed, due to the film's sometimes cinéma-vérité style and various scenes featuring Jews in medieval orthodox garb crowding the streets of the overtly dirty and sleazy NYC diamond district, I sometimes felt like I was watching a Hollywood big budget remake of Fritz Hippler's Nazi agitprop piece Der Ewige Jude (1940) aka The Eternal Jew.  




 When Schlesinger proudly referred to Marathon Man as a “Jewish Thriller,” he was not just trying to be cute, witty, or ironic, or as he stated himself to Buruma, “I always called it my Jewish thriller because that aspect of it was quite important. I remember asking Laurence Olivier whether it would be a good idea for him to grow a little [Hitler] mustache, and he said: ‘No, no, no. Don’t you think you should use to the maximum my mean little mouth?’ I could see his point.”  Of course, Schlesinger, star Dustin Hoffman, and novelist/screenwriter William Goldman are not the only Hebraic ingredients of the film, which was co-produced by Paramount Pictures studio head Robert Evans (real name Robert J. Shapera) and fellow Jew Sidney Beckerman (Kelly's Heroes, Red Dawn). Quite atypical in many ways for both a Hebrew and Hollywood studio head, Evans—a hardly humorless fellow that, at the mere age of 12, annoyed his family members by reinventing himself as a “Jewish Nazi” and playing a Nazi concentration camp colonel on “Radio Mystery Theater”—was, by most accounts, an extremely handsome, charming, likeable, loyal, and warm fellow that Peter Biskind once described as, “…very much the ladies’ man, a sharp dresser given to sartorial clichés like suede jeans and gold chains. Had he not had the good fortune to meet [Charles] Bluhdorn, he might well have spent his youth as a gigolo, squiring dowagers around the spas of Europe.” More or less a model turned brief reluctant actor turned studio head, totally inexperienced but quite eager go-getter Evans managed to totally revamp Paramount and its image and took it from being the ninth largest studio in Hollywood to the most successful during the 1970s as the man behind important and highly successful movies like Roman Polanski’s Rosemary's Baby (1968) and Chinatown (1974), Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude (1971), Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather (1972), among countless others. Despite hating the project and assuming it would be a major commercial failure (which it was), Evans still had the integrity to back Schlesinger’s artistic vision on The Day of the Locust, but more importantly the studio head was also the man responsible for giving Laurence Olivier back his dignity by securing him the main villain role in Marathon Man at a time when no one would hire the legendary British actor because he was considered uninsurable since he was cancer-ridden. In the end, not only did Olivier earn an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance, but his cancer also went into remission and he lived for another 13 years, with his final acting performance in any medium being that of a wheelchair-bound WWII war veteran in Derek Jarman's rather underrated Benjamin Britten adaptation War Requiem (1989). 




 In an opening sequence that somewhat seems like a sadistic overtly Jewish take on Grumpy Old Men (1993), an elderly 72-year-old ex-Nazi that looks Jewish named Klaus Szell (played by German-born vaudevillian performer Ben Dova, who was both a survivor and suspect in the explosion of the Hindenburg) and a equally old and disgruntled four-eyed German-hating Jew that looks like he could by Woody Allen's father get in a sort of pointlessly tragic slapstick road rage car chase that ultimately results in both of their deaths after they crash into a oil truck in New York City during Yom Kippur while tons of baffled orthodox Jews watch on. This literal holocaust will ultimately have tragic unexpected consequences for unwitting protagonist Thomas ‘Babe’ Levy (Dustin Hoffman), who is a self-proclaimed “liberal pacifist” that will have to face the wrath of shadowy fugitive Nazi war criminal named Dr. Christian Szell (Laurence Olivier), whose brother Klaus was the man that died in the car crash.  Indeed, Szell's brother's death acts as a catalyst to the film's entire plot. While Babe believes that his big brother Henry ‘Doc’ Levy (Roy Scheider) is a capitalist whore that works in the oil business, he is actually member of a highly secret and supremely morally bankrupt government agency called ‘The Division,’ which does dubious jobs that the FBI lacks the capacity to do and the CIA does not want to touch. While both a government agent and Jew, Doc is involved in an elaborate international network of couriers who transport diamonds that were stolen during World War II from wealthy Jews seeking to flee Germany for the benefit of Dr. Szell, who now lives a Mengele-esque life of luxury in South America on the wealth that he has acquired as a result of the jewels that he plundered from the Jews while working as a dentist in a concentration camp.  Initially becoming rich off the gold teeth that he would pull out of the mouths of Jewish prisoners, Szell eventually worked his way up to diamonds. As a result of his brother’s unexpected death, Szell has become paranoid that his couriers, especially Jew Doc Levy, intend on stealing his diamond stash, which he has locked away in a safe deposit box in Manhattan. Since his brother was the only other person that had a key to his fortune, Szell presumes that all his couriers are after his wealth and decides to begin liquidating them, even though he has nil concrete evidence to support his paranoid delusions. Unfortunately for Szell, he makes that mistake of beginning to go after Babe Levy who, although a self-righteous college doctoral candidate, has a lot of pent up rage and hatred because his father committed suicide after he lost his job and his reputation was ruined during the Communist witch hunts of the Joseph McCarthy era. Of course, in the end, destroying a Nazi war criminal and his entire operation becomes the ultimate form of redemption for left-wing Jew Babe, who seems to have been waiting his entire life for someone to blame for his kosher commie father’s self-inflicted death. 




 As the title of the film somewhat hints, pint-sized yet strong-willed Marathon Man protagonist Babe is an avid runner and he is especially obsessed with Ethiopian double Olympic marathon champion Abebe Bikila as indicated by photographs of the African champ hanging on his apartment wall and stock footage of the proud barefoot runner featured at the beginning of the film. Babe is also somewhat of a paranoiac who almost seems to suffer a mental breakdown when he witnesses a German Shepherd attempting to bite a fellow runner at a local park, as if the canine gives him visions of Auschwitz, even though he is not a holocaust survivor.  Of course, as someone whose father committed suicide after having his career ruined due to highly political reasons, Babe has a special sensitivity when it comes to signs of imminent danger and conspiracy.  Although apparently a fairly intelligent individual as one of  only four individuals that was selected for a history Ph.D. seminar that had 200 applicants, Babe seems to lack common sense and lives like a virtual bum in an extremely dirty, trash-covered studio apartment in a city ghetto where he is routinely mocked and called names like “creep,” “chicken,” and “twinkle-toes” by local criminally-inclined deadbeat Puerto Rican thugs. Of course, being a stereotypical passive-aggressive Jewish intellectual, Babe does not dare to defend himself against the exceptionally swarthy Hispanic quarterons, octoroons and quintroons that lurk around his less than luxurious neighborhood. Indeed, it is only when his sole brother is murdered and his own life becomes extremely endangered that Babe develops the sort of testicular fortitude it takes to take serious action and defend himself like a man. 



 One day while studying at a table in the library at Columbia University, an extremely beauteous blonde babe with a Germanic accent named Elsa Opel (Swiss actress Marthe Keller of John Frankenheimer’s Black Sunday (1977) and European arthouse works like Romuald Karmakar’s Nightsongs (2004)) asks Babe a question about extremely corrupt 19th-century NYC politician William M. ‘Boss’ Tweed, but then abruptly exits the building after arousing protagonist’s attention, thus hinting that she is a serious cocktease. Luckily, Babe thinks fast and steals one of Elsa’s self-addressed books before she leaves, thus giving him a reason to chase her down and hit on her. While Babe demonstrates that he has about as much charisma as a wet paper bag, Elsa reluctantly agrees to go on a date with him and, somewhat improbably considering the protagonist's lack of looks and wealth, a hot and heavy romance begins between the two. Indeed, somehow a short and dorky Jew-boy and a tall and statuesque Aryanness prove to be both quite emotionally and sexually compatible, or so it initially seems. Of course, unbeknownst to Babe, Elsa is a Mata Hari-esque hired-whore of sorts who was contracted by Dr. Szell to spy on him. In fact, when his brother Doc eventually comes to town and provides irrefutable proof that Elsa has been lying to him and thus probably has unsavory ulterior motives, hopelessly lovestruck bitch-boy Babe still refuses to believe that he has been emotionally cuckolded by a conniving kraut cunt who hardly has his best interests in mind. Somewhat intriguingly, Elsa ultimately proves to be a somewhat reluctant secondary femme fatale whose cold and calculating deceptions are ultimately put to shame by an inordinately well dressed and groomed male government agent with a somewhat questionable sexual persuasion. 



 After being nearly killed by a blue-eyed Chinaman named Chen (James Wing Wong) while in Paris, Doc realizes that his clock is ticking and that it is only a matter of time before Dr. Szell has him exterminated, thus he decides to immediately fly to NYC and pay a visit to his little baby brother Babe. Of course, unbeknownst to Doc, Szell is already monitoring Babe’s behavior via hired whore Elsa. In fact, while romantically strolling in a local park, Babe and Elsa are mugged, beaten, and robbed by two well dressed middle-aged men that hardly resemble the sort of ghetto thugs that typically mug people. Not surprisingly, these two suavely dressed muggers, Karl (Richard Bright of The Godfather trilogy) and Erhardt (blacklisted Jewish communist Marc Lawrence in a most ironic role), are eventually revealed to be Dr. Szell’s two foremost Nazi henchmen. When Doc arrives in NYC, he plays a sort of sick trick on his little brother by breaking into his apartment in the middle of the night while he is asleep and playfully smothering him with his own pillow like he is trying to kill them. While the two estranged brothers are quite happy to see one another, Doc becomes immediately annoyed when Babe attempts to show him research documents proving that their suicidal leftist intellectual father was innocent and angrily states to his little bro, “You think he wanted you to be throwing your life away on this shit? […] Nothing you write is going to change anything. It’s over. Forget it.” When Babe asks him if he should become a “corporate hustler” just like him, Doc exposes his glaring sense of hopelessness and despair by replying, “No. My life’s throw away, anyway.” Of course, Doc does not dare reveal that he is a secret government agent who works for a Nazi war criminal that is trying to kill him.  Naturally, when Babe reveals to him that he and Elsa were mugged by two elegantly dressed men that wore similar suits to his own, Doc immediately suspects Dr. Szell's involvement, though he makes the mistake of saying nothing to his brother.



 When Doc takes Babe and Elsa out for lunch at a fancy French restaurant where the sloppy protagonist becomes annoyed when the waiter forces him to wear a tie, it does not take long for the naturally suspicious secret government agent to figure out that his little bro’s ladylove is a femme fatale who he presumes works for Dr. Szell. Indeed, Doc exposes the fact that Elsa is lying about her identity and background by tricking her into claiming that she grew up near an imaginary mountain in Switzerland that he simply made up. When Doc reveals she is German instead of Swiss and accuses her of having ulterior motives, Elsa somewhat dubiously cries in her defense, “Why don’t you ask me if I care for him?” and then runs out of the restaurant like an embarrassed child. While Doc tries to warn Babe, “She’s a phony. She’s after something. Can’t you see it?,” the pathetically pussy-whipped protagonist replies, “Why don’t you stay out of it?” and then also leaves the restaurant.  Later that night, Doc shows up late to a meeting with Dr. Szell and his henchmen and immediately accuses the old Nazi of trying to assassinate him. Naturally, Doc also berates Szell for getting involved with his brother, stating, “It is a violation. We do not involve family. We never involve family,” to which the deceptively mild-mannered old Aryan replies, “Think of it as a warning, nothing more.” Needless to say, Doc makes a big mistake when he slaps Szell to the ground and states “Think of that as a warning and nothing more.” Of course, Doc makes an even bigger mistake when Szell asks him if he can be trusted and he replies “No” and then adds, “Can I be candid? I couldn’t give a fuck about your—Uhh!” Rather unfortunately, Doc does not get to finish what he says because Szell abruptly fatally stabs him in the gut with a large retractable blade that he has concealed under his sleeve. 




 While Doc manages to stumble all the way back to Babe’s apartment before completely croaking, he is unable to warn his quite unwitting brother that he is in grave danger and simply succumbs to his wounds while saying the protagonist’s name.  Thankfully, in terms of both the film's tone and storyline, things only get all the more bizarre from there. Indeed, in an eerily Kafkaesque scene that screams neurotic Hebraic paranoia, Babe practically suffers a total mental breakdown when police come by his apartment and question him about his brother’s somewhat dubious death.  While on the verge of crying hysterically in front half a dozen or so exceedingly stoic cops that seem totally unimpressed with the protagonist's histrionics, Babe accuses them of trying to interrogate like he is a criminal. Needless to say, when Doc’s coworker Peter Janeway (William Devane) shows up and reveals to the protagonist that his brother was not a “corporate hustler” after all, but instead a government secret agent, he is left all the more shocked and confused. As Janeway states to Babe in regard to his employer, “Now, when the gap gets too large between what the FBI can handle effectively and what the CIA doesn’t want to deal with, that’s where we come in...The Division.” Janeway also informs Babe that the same people that killed Doc will also probably go after him and that he wants to use him as “possible bait” to catch his brother's killer(s). Of course, as fits the sometimes Kafkaian logic of the film, Janeway is actually a dirty double agent that is working with Szell. To make matters all the more bizarre, despite betraying him and ultimately playing a role in his death, Janeway was also tough guy Doc’s secret gay lover, though this is never made all that overt in the film like it was in the source novel. In fact, the only part of the film that hints of the secret gay love affair between the two secret agents is a scene early on in the flick where Doc talks to some unidentified person on the phone while in Paris and states to them in an aggressively salacious fashion, “Janey. Well, London was hectic, but I’m fair. Just fair. Listen, why don’t you hop into a cab and get your ass over here? I’ve got plenty of room. Oh, screw appearances. I miss you […] Listen, Janey, why don’t you finish what you’re doing and get your ass over here.” Of course, ‘Janey’ is Doc’s poof pet name for Janeway and the duplicitous double agent was probably reluctant to meet up with his boy toy because he felt guilty since he was involved with plotting to have him killed. In that regard, Janeway is in some ways more despicable and loathsome than Szell. 



 In what literally feels like only minutes after Janeway leaves and his brother’s corpse is taken away in a body-bag, Dr. Szell’s dapperly dressed neo-Gestapo goons Karl and Erhardt break into Babe’s apartment while he is bathing and daydreaming about his father's suicide and then proceed to begin drowning the protagonist in his own bath water until he is knocked unconscious. When Babe eventually regains consciousness, he finds himself strapped to a chair in a large, brightly lit, and mostly empty warehouse room where he is eventually visited by Dr. Szell, who begins repeatedly asking the protagonist: “Is it safe?”  Naturally, poor Babe has no clue who Dr. Szell is or what he wants from him.  Although initially proclaiming that he has no idea what Dr. Szell is talking about when he asks him if it is safe, Babe’s inner arrogant passive-aggressive Jewish comedian eventually emerges and he states, “No, it’s no safe. It’s…very dangerous. Be careful.” Of course, Dr. Szell does not find Babe’s comment to be funny and reacts to it by whipping out some rather intimidating dental tools and proceeding to look at the protagonist’s teeth and rebuking for not taking care of them properly since he has a cavity. When Babe refuses to answer whether it is “safe” or not after he is asked a couple more times, Szell proceeds to torture Babe by digging into his cavity with one of dentistry tools, though the good doctor soon relieves the protagonist pain by applying oil of cloves to his tooth and then gloats, “Isn’t that remarkable? Simple oil of cloves, and how amazing the results. Life can be that simple. Relief…discomfort.” After the interrogation, Babe is brought to a sort of makeshift cell where he is soon abruptly rescued by Janeway, who ostensibly kills both Karl and Erhardt. 



 While driving away in the getaway car after escaping from Dr. Szell’s warehouse, Janeway ultimately reveals to Babe all the things that he has probably wanted to know since his brother was killed, stating to the discernibly startled protagonist, “Those two guys I just wasted worked for a man named Christian Szell […] He ran the experimental camp at Auschwitz, where they called him the ‘White Angel,’ the ‘Weisse Engel,’ because he had this incredible head of white hair. He’s probably the wealthiest and most-wanted Nazi left alive, and he’s hiding out somewhere in Uruguay. In 1945, Szell let it be known around Auschwitz that he could provide escape for any Jew who was willing to pay the price. He started out with gold, naturally, but very quickly worked his way up to diamonds […] Szell saw the end early and he snuck his brother into America with his diamonds. They’re right here, in New York, in a safe deposit box. Szell’s brother had the key. The only other key was kept by Szell in Uruguay. And now if he has to come out of hiding to use it, he’s gonna expose himself to incredible risk. Well, everything worked out fine, until his brother got killed in a head-on collision with an oil truck.” At this point, Babe realizes that the demented dentist that tortured him is actually the ‘Weisse Engel’ that Janeway just told him about, albeit with a shaved head. When Babe asks Janeway if his brother worked for Szell, Janeway gets somewhat agitated in a somewhat phony smart-ass fashion and excitedly replies, “No! He worked for us. Everything we do cuts both ways. Szell ratted on all of his buddies. He kept track of all the old Nazis throughout the world. Whenever we wanted to bring one of them in, we went to Szell.” Unfortunately, Babe is in for quite the shock when Janeway drives him back to Szell’s warehouse after he fails to tell the government agent what he wants to hear when he asks if he brother told him any important information before he died. Indeed, aside from the fact that he had no idea that Janeway is a double agent, Babe becomes shocked to the point of suffering a hysterical fit upon seeing that Karl and Erhardt are still alive and then begins screaming at his dead brother’s treacherous ex-beau while in a state of complete and utter shock, “I saw you kill them! You killed them! You killed them! You killed them! You fucking killed them! You killed my brother!” 




 Needless to say, after being delivered back to the warehouse, Dr. Szell immediately begins torturing Babe again and does so by drilling a healthy tooth in the protagonist’s mouth since it is “infinitely more sensitive” in comparison to a decaying tooth. After the unnerving dental torture session, Szell becomes completely convinced that little Babe knows nothing and states to Janeway, “He knew nothing. If he had known, he would have told. Get rid of him.” While Szell tells his men liquidate Babe since he knows too much about the Nazi fugitive, the protagonist manages to break free from his enemies and after a long chase he manages to outrun Karl, Erhardt, and Janeway due to his trusty marathon runner skills, as if all of his obsessive training was leading up to this one quite critical life or death situation. After giving a shady negro taxi driver his dead brother’s expensive Rolex watch for a ride back to his apartment and a dime, Babe uses the latter to call Elsa on a payphone at 5:00am to tell her to pick him up at drug store at 51st and Broadway in a hour. Since he does not want to be detected by Janeway and Szell’s men, Babe offers a Puerto Rican thug named Melendez (Tito Goya of Andy Warhol's Bad (1977) and the prison cult flick Short Eyes (1977)) all his personal belongings in his apartment to break into said apartment and retrieve the handgun that his father used to kill himself with. While Elsa picks up Babe, the protagonist begins to suspect that she is one of Szell’s employees when she drives him to a remote country house that ultimately proves to have been owned by Szell’s deceased brother. Not long after Babe takes Elsa hostage at gunpoint after getting her to admit that she works for Szell, Janeway, Karl, and Erhardt show up in a car and the protagonist threatens them by lying and telling them that he has called the cops and that they are on their way. Of course, it is not long before one of Szell’s men attempts to whip out a gun and shoot the protagonist, but luckily Babe somehow manages to magically shoot and kill both Karl and Erhardt before they can kill him. At this point, Janeway pretends to offer Babe a peace offering of sorts by declaring “I’ll give you Szell for your brother” and then telling him where he can find the murderously miserly Nazi war criminal.  Not surprisingly, when Babe turns around and begins to leave, Janeway makes a cowardly attempt to shoot him in the back, but luckily Elsa warns the protagonist. While Babe manages to shoot and kill Janeway before he can kill him, the double agent has time to shoot and kill Elsa as revenge for warning the protagonist.  Indeed, Elsa might have been a lying whore, but she ultimately becomes a martyr of love in the end.




 In what ultimately has to be a particularly paranoid Nazi war criminal’s worst nightmare, Dr. Szell finds himself in a sort of super surreal Jewish diamond ghetto that feels like some sort of of kosher purgatory and is flooded with hordes of both Orthodox and assimilated Jews, including extremely aggressive jewelers that naturally annoy the shit out of the elderly Aryan dentist. Somewhat magically, not one but two holocaust survivors manage to recognize Dr. Szell, including an elderly Jewess who causes a huge scene after nearly getting hit by a car while attempting to chase down her former tormentor while hysterically screaming “White Angel” in German. When an elderly Hebrew with a foggy memory begins to recognize Szell after briefly meeting him at a jewelry store, the good doctor pretends he is a fellow holocaust survivor that fled Germany for London in 1933. When the old Jew's memory eventually comes back and he realizes that Szell is actually the dreaded White Angel, he chases him down and attempts to make a citizen's arrest, so the old Nazi is forced to slit his rather wrinkly throat. Unfortunately, Dr. Szell is not so lucky when it comes to young chosenites, as Babe pulls a gun on him soon after he gleefully retrieves his diamonds from the safety deposit box that he had them stored in. Demonstrating that he is not completely humorless, at least when it comes to tormenting his enemies, Babe states upon surprising Dr. Szell from behind, “It’s not safe” and then forces him at gunpoint to walk to a somewhat ominous water treatment plant in Central Park.

While Szell is delighted when Babe tells him that he has no interest in keeping his diamonds, he gets somewhat offended when the protagonists tells him that he can keep as many of the expensive rocks that he can swallow and then forces him to eat one. While all this is going on, Babe sadistically taunts Szell by throwing handfuls of diamonds at him, which are ultimately lost in water below them. After having trouble swallowing just one diamond, Szell refuses to eat anymore, stating in a somewhat aristocratic fashion, “No. You’ll have to shoot me.” At this point, Szell proceeds to accuse Babe of being too much of a coward to shoot him, stating just before rudely spitting in his face, “You’re too weak. Your father was weak in his way, your brother in his, now you in yours. You’re all so predictable.” Naturally, Babe becomes quite upset at this point and proceeds to lunge at Szell and ultimately drops his gun in the process. After dropping his gun, Szell reveals the large blade he has hidden under his sleeve and proceeds to attempt to strike Babe, who opts to throw an open briefcase containing the remaining diamonds down a stairwell that leads to water. Of course, Szell instantly forgets about his fight with Babe and dives down the stairwell, only to absurdly commit accidental suicide in the process as a result of tripping after impaling himself with his own blade. Indeed, in what is arguably the mostly seemingly unintentionally ironic and insanely improbable conclusion in film history, a young Jew chooses personal integrity over a life of fortune and guaranteed financial security and in the process accidentally causes a sinisterly parsimonious Shylock-esque Nazi war criminal that is greedier than kosher swindler Bernie Madoff to kill himself, thus giving him his much desired revenge but also leaving him completely free of the guilt of killing an elderly man. In the end, Babe also demonstrates that he has gotten over his Oedipal hang-ups, as he tosses his father’s pistol into a river.  Undoubtedly, in Babe's mind, causing the demise of Dr. Szell and his henchmen was a sort of therapeutic means for him to feel like he had avenged his father against the supposedly antisemitic McCarthyites that ruined both his life and career and, in the process, destroyed both the protagonist's childhood and overall mental well-being.




 Notably, apparently as a result of Herr Hoffman, who at that point in his career was already acting like a supreme primadonna, being dissatisfied with the original ending of the source novel, which involves Babe sadistically tauting and killing Dr. Szell and thus in the process becoming just as sadistic and inhumane as his Nazi enemy, perennial script doctor Robert Towne (another member of the tribe whose real name is Robert Bertram Schwartz) was brought in by Robert Evans to rewrite the ending and came up with the patently preposterous idea of a young Jew forcing a Nazi war criminal to eat diamonds. Somewhat humorously, source novelist and screenwriter William Goldman, who felt his whole Nietzschean theme of, “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you,” had been ruined, was quite vocal about his disgust for the film's the new Hollywood-esque ending.  In fact, in the featurette Going the Distance: Remembering 'Marathon Man' (2001), Goldman states of Towne's fairly phony and uniquely improbable ending, “I thought it was Hollywood horseshit,” which is certainly a more than charitable way to describe it.  Indeed, as virtually all Jewish holidays and the constant attacks against both Germans and Europeans/European-Americans in contemporary Hollywood and the mainstream media clearly demonstrate, there is nothing quite like the venomous and oftentimes craven ruthlessness of Jewish vengeance, yet Marathon Man concludes with an unintentionally absurd feel-good cop-out ending where the inordinately principled Jewish liberal pacifist protagonist gets so lucky that he accidentally causes the death of his brother’s killer while simultaneously humiliating and degrading the once highly powerful Nazi war criminal, thereupon completely keeping his much cherished moral principles intact, as if such an obscenely ideal outcome has anything to do with real-life (of course, in his superior films Midnight Cowboy and Sunday Bloody Sunday, Schlesinger would clearly demonstrate that he is not exactly an optimist).

Thankfully, the moral and philosophical hypocrisies of ostensibly pacifistic left-wing Jewish intellectual types are exposed throughout the film in somewhat subtle ways, not least of all in a scene where the protagonist’s brother Doc states to him, “For a liberal pacifist, you’ve got some sense of vengeance.”   Indeed, Babe may lack the testicular fortitude to physically fight and confront people, but his entire life is driven by a deep-seated desire to avenge his disgraced father, even if he refuses to admit it himself, hence why he initially neglects to admit to his Judaic professor Biesenthal that his dissertation on “The use of tyranny in American political life” will focus on the McCarthy witch-hunts that destroyed his father. Notably, Biesenthal, who was a protege of the protagonist's father, states to Babe regarding his father's demise, “I think he was guilty. I think he was guilty of being arrogant and brilliant and of being naïve. He was guilty of not being able to cope with the humiliation of being dismissed. But of the charges, I know he was innocent. And, if it matters, Levy, I wept the day he died.”  Of course, Babe, who seems to suffer from the same sort of self-deceptive arrogance and naivety as his father, seems to ignore Biesenthal's kind critique of his dead daddy as he wants to remember his progenitor as a total innocent, hence his remark to the professor, “Sir, I don’t have to worry about clearing him because he was innocent.”




 Of course, Marathon Man is not only a thinly veiled act of quasi-artistic vengeance against Germans and Nazis, but also U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy and so-called ‘McCarthyism,’ which has been the object of incessant ridicule and scorn by Hollywood ever since at least the release of half-Hebrew John Frankenheimer noir-ish suspense-thriller The Manchurian Candidate (1962). Indeed, good little shabbos goy actors and filmmakers like George Clooney demonstrate their allegiance to Judaic leftists by directing wholly worthless and absurdly artless big budget agitprop pieces disguised as serious filmic art like Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), which are predictably honored with tons of awards and award nominations simply because of their asinine anti-McCarthy messages.  Not surprisingly, Marathon Man even goes so far as to compare the United States Government and U.S. Government secret agents with the Third Reich and members of Schutzstaffel. Indeed, during one particularly notable scene in the film that takes place right after the protagonist is tortured by the Nazi villain, double agent Janeway remarks to Dr. Szell after being accused of using underhanded tactics, “I’m just doing my job. I believe in my country” and the old National Socialist stoically replies, “So did we all,” though the viewer suspects that neither of them really cares about their country and instead has exploited powerful positions for solely opportunistic reasons.  After all, as a closest homosexual who lives a constant life of deception, Janeway probably has no loyalty to anyone or anything and has merely exploited his keen survival instincts as a secret member of a much maligned sexual minority to get ahead in life.  Of course, history has demonstrated this is not an uncommon phenomenon among homosexuals. In fact, director Schlesinger was well acquainted with the story of the British double agents of Cambridge Spy Ring as recruited by NKVD officer and Soviet scout Arnold Deutsch, who was incidentally the cousin of prominent English Jewish movie theater chain owner Oscar Deutsch. In fact, Schlesinger considered An Englishman Abroad (1983)—a 60-minute BBC TV production written by English queer playwright Alan Bennett about gay Cambridge Spy Ring member Guy Burgess, who was also the subject of Marek Kanievska's critically acclaimed Julian Mitchell adaptation Another Country (1984) starring Rupert Everett—to be one of his personal favorites of the films he had directed. Rather revealing, Kanievska's Another Country points to so-called homophobia as being one of the reasons as to why Burgess opted to betray his country and spy for the commie cause, even though homosexuality was a serious crime in the Soviet Union.

Naturally, one of the reasons McCarthy is still so ruthlessly attacked by Hollywood is because he was right about commie infiltration as demonstrated by the fact that America has degenerated into a anti-Christian multicultural shithole where a Zionistic Jewish Trotskyite like Bernie Sanders, who belonged to the Young People's Socialist League (YPSL) and volunteered at volunteered at Sha’ar HaAmakim kibbutz in northern Israel, could be considered an ideal presidential candidate among largely university educated young people who do not even realize that the pseudo-intellectual twaddle that they were brainwashed with while in college was largely inspired by the vengeful anti-European theories of highly scornful and resentful Jewish émigrés of the Frankfurt School like Herbert “Father of the New Left” Marcuse, Max Horkheimer, and Theodor W. Adorno who had committed their life's work to destroying Occidental Civilization because Uncle Adolf kicked them out of Europe and sent their family members to concentration camps (though it should be noted that they were all already well committed to the anti-Aryan cause long before the Nazi takeover). Undoubtedly, after obtaining his doctorate in history, the protagonist of Marathon Man would probably dedicate his life to writing hardly historically accurate swill about how innately evil, racist, sexist, and homophobic Europeans are and how the United States is an evil fascistic empire that is run by psychopathic WASPs.  As for Schlesinger, he had good reason to loathe McCarthy, as the U.S. Senator linked communism and homosexuality with mental instability and even once hilariously stated to a reporter, “If you want to be against McCarthy, boys, you've got to be either a Communist or a cocksucker.” Of course, considering the close intersecting ties of the political homos and dykes of the LGBT movement, colored crybabies of the Black Lives Matter movement, and countless left-wing Jewish groups, it seems that McCarthy was quite prophetic and that, if anything, he actually underestimated his enemies and the sort of corrosive effect that they would ultimately have on the United States.




 Somewhat ironically, it was sod director John Schlesinger that ultimately opted to obscure the gay subtext of Marathon Man, though it was apparently for largely artistic reasons. Indeed, as Schlesinger told his nephew Buruma in regard to an important revelational scene that he decided to cut from the film where the protagonist learns that his macho brother is actually a homo, “There was a wonderful moment in MARATHON MAN, the final sequence, when he had a very long speech, which was lifted from the boo, in which he [Olivier] said to Dustin Hoffman: ‘There are things that you must know about your brother. Your brother was a HOMOSEXUAL!’ And it was sort of shouted out in such a hammy way that I had to cut it.” Of course, it was also probably to the commercial benefit of the film that the gay subtext was dropped, even if said gay subtext was not exactly pro-gay (incidentally, Schlesinger was criticized by gay groups when Midnight Cowboy was released because they felt that the film featured an unflattering portrayal of homosexuals).

 Undoubtedly, with the exception of his assumedly lost documentary Israel: A Right to Live (1967)—a Zionist propaganda piece that was written by London Jew Wolf Mankowitz and produced by kosher Canadian Herschel Saltzman that was apparently screened a couple times and then quickly fell into obscurity (though, according to William J. Mann in his bio Edge of Midnight: The Life of John Schlesinger (2005), the director never actually completed the film “due to 'creative differences' with the BBC”)—Marathon Man is surely Schlesinger’s most overtly and shamelessly Jewish film. To be fair, Schlesinger was a more ‘humanistic’ filmmaker than a ‘political’ one and he was quite vocal about the fact that he most enjoyed directing more personal gay-themed works like the quite autobiographical Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), which depicts the somewhat pathetic life of a middle-aged gay Jewish doctor who suffers much heartbreak and loneliness as a result of having to share his young goy boy toy boyfriend with a bitchy divorced bourgeois broad in her mid-30s in what ultimately proves to be a decidedly doomed bizarre love triangle. 


 While a sometimes shameless piece of action-packed big budget kosher kitsch where Schlesinger has some fun by subtly subverting and ultimately sodomizing genre conventions by portraying the most pernicious femme fatale a duplicitous crypto-cocksucker and including an interracial homoerotic fight scene (indeed, in the film’s gayest fight scene, an almost completely naked Roy Scheider wrestles and ultimately breaks the neck of a blue-eyed Chinaman that attempts to strangle him to death with a garrote wire in a scenario that almost resembles Born to Raise Hell-esque sadomasochistic sod porn), Marathon Man is important in that it is rather incriminating as a rare mainstream movie that exposes a lot of things about the highly temperamental, paranoid, and vengeful people that operate in Hollywood, academia, and the government, especially those of the Judaic sort. Indeed, in many ways it is quite symbolic but also ironic that the film begins with a seemingly half-deranged old Jewish guy acting as an unwitting catalyst to a series of political murders and conspiracies after becoming enraged and acting like a villain in Death Race 2000 because an equally elderly German guy is blocking his way on a Manhattan street. After all, had the savagely senile Semite controlled his tyrannical Hitler-esque temper and primal Teutophobia, he would have not only prevented himself from perishing in a mini-Shoah, but he would have also prevented the deaths of at least one gay Jew (Doc) and at least one holocaust survivor (the elderly Jew with the concentration camp tattoo who identifies Szell near the end).  It should be noted that the elderly Jewish, who totally initiates the road rage scenario, calls Szell's brother a “kraut meathead” and “limburger-loving schmuck” immediately upon realizing that he is German, but then has the hyper hypocritical gall to accuse the elderly Teuton of being an “anti-Semitic bastard” when he retorts by simply calling him a “Jude.”  Of course, this extremely hilarious racially-charged name-calling scenario can be seen as a sort of metaphor for the history of antisemitism and reminds me of the Polish proverb, “The Jew Cries Out in Pain as He Strikes You.”  Another great irony of the film is that the Nazi war criminal villain also proves to hardly be a real Nazi at all (at least as far as his ideals and actions prove), but instead an opportunistic traitor with stereotypically Jewish character flaws who ratted out all of his Nazi friends and who has no problem working with Jews in the diamond world. After all, aside from helping Jews to escape concentration camps if they provided him with their gold teeth and ratting out his own fellow Nazi war criminal friends to protect himself, Szell relied on Jews and homosexuals to act as couriers for him in his international black market diamond smuggling operation. In that sense, Szell is somewhat of a Hans Landa type figure, albeit without the sense of humor and propensity for childlike joy.  Of course, also like Landa in Inglourious Basterds (2009), Szell is easily the most intriguing and intimidating character featured in Marathon Man.


 Undoubtedly, one of the greatest ironies of Marathon Man is that one of the reasons that it is so captivating and though-provoking is because it is such a hopeless mess of a movie that is full of plotholes and loose ends that allow the viewer to use their imagination and fill in the blanks when it comes to the more curious aspects of the film (for example, Szell mentions Babe's fathers like he knew him, though it is never made clear how he knew him), thus making it nearly unwatchable for younger audiences who are used to being spoon-fed contrived movies where everything is spelled out for them and tied up in a neat package in the end. Indeed, ultimately the film is the quixotic result of an extremely effete gay European arthouse director attempting and failing to direct a highly accessible blockbuster for the unthinking masses. Of course, while Schlesinger had the honor of directing the only X-rated film ever to win the Academy Award for ‘Best Picture’ with Midnight Cowboy (1969), he tended to fail horribly when attempting to create contrived genre-oriented trash like the unintentionally hokey horror turd The Believers (1987) and his miserable mainstream gay swansong The Next Best Thing (2000) starring alpha-fag-hag Madonna and prince of the British screen poofs Rupert Everett. Despite his self-admitted hatred of Germans, Schlesinger belonged to the last generation of cultivated Jews with a deep respect and admiration for real European culture and not the prepackaged post-postmodern multicultural swill that pollutes the continent nowadays. Indeed, it is no coincidence that virtually all of the great Jewish filmmakers of film history, including Fritz Lang, Erich von Stroheim, Ernst Lubitsch, Max Ophüls, and Josef von Sternberg came from Austrian and German backgrounds, as Jews have no real culture of their own, hence the overall cultural and artistic poverty of contemporary Hollywood (one also cannot forget that Kubrick deeply immersed himself in European culture and more or less transformed himself from a lower-middleclass Brooklyn Jew into a cultivated Englishman, not to mention the fact that he married and reproduced with the niece of one of the greatest filmmakers of the Third Reich).


 Although innately flawed and sometimes convoluted, Marathon Man is what I see as the ideal Hollywood thriller as a consistently enthralling roller-coaster of a movie that is equipped with just enough sophistication and eccentricity to appeal to serious cinephiles that care more about nuanced cinematic art than the sort of grandiose and bombastic blockbuster farts that culturally retarded anti-auteurs like Michael Bay and J.J. Abrams unleash on the worlds.  If The Day of the Locust—a film that, like the 1939 Nathanael West novel of the same name that it is based, is a scathing and even sometimes grotesque satire of Hebraic Hollywood from a Hebraic perspective—unequivocally demonstrated that Schlesinger saw Tinseltown as sort of a vaudevillian brothel city, Marathon Man reveals that the auteur and probably a good percentage of his kinsmen, see antisemitism (and, to a lesser extent, homo-hating), especially of the Nazi oriented sorts, as the ultimate real-life Kafkaesque nightmare.  Indeed, the film may fail in many regards, but it indubitably succeeds in expressing the seemingly inborn pathological fear, paranoia, and obscene obsession that members of god's (seemingly forsaken) chosen tribe have for their enemies.  Undoubtedly, I have seen more Nazi and holocaust themed films than I care to admit, yet Marathon Man is the only one where I felt like I was able to actually understand the sort of crippling primordial fear and paranoia that seems to epitomize a lot of post-WWII Jews.  While Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds exposes the sort of sadistic bloodlust that the more Zionistic of Jews have for their enemies, Marathon Man exposes in a sort of psychodramatic form the sort of internal hell that plagues the mind of a Jewish intellectual when he thinks of having to personally confront his enemies.  Indeed, more than just a fictional Nazi war criminal, Laurence Olivier's Dr. Szell is like a composite of all the gentiles that Jews fear, including the stoic aristocrat, Nazi doctor, ruthless businessman, and evil goy genius.  In other words, not only is Marathon Man that ultimate Jewish thriller, but it is also arguably the greatest Hebraic psychological horror flick, thus making it all the more fitting that it was produced by an inordinately masculine and handsome member of the tribe who once described himself as a “Jewish Nazi.”



-Ty E

No comments: