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Genres: Drama , Thriller
Actors: Jon Voight , Maximilian Schell , Maria Schell , Mary Tamm , Derek Jacobi , Peter Jeffrey , Klaus Löwitsch , Kurt Meisel , Hannes Messemer , Garfield Morgan , Shmuel Rodensky , Ernst Schröder , Günter Strack , Noel Willman , Martin Brandt
Director: Ronald Neame
Country: United Kingdom, West Germany
Year: 1974
IMDB Rating: 6.9/10 (4950 votes)

After reading the diary of an elderly Jewish man who committed suicide, freelance journalist Peter Miller begins to investigate the alleged sighting of a former SS-Captain who commanded a concentration camp during World War II. Miller eventually finds himself involved with the powerful organization of former SS members, called ODESSA, as well as with the Israeli secret service. Miller probes deeper and eventually discovers a link between the SS-Captain, ODESSA, and his own family. Written by Anthony Hughes In 1963, freelance journalist Peter Miller is given the diary of an old man, Solomon Tauber, who had recently committed suicide. The diary deals with Tauber’s incarceration at the Riga concentration camp. Miller becomes quite interested in the camp’s commander, Eduard Roschmann, who he learns vanished after the end of the war. His enquiries with the police are not well received and he is warned to be careful, something he takes quite seriously after someone tries to kill him by pushing him in front of a moving train. He learns there is an organization known by the acronym ODESSA which assists former members of the SS to obtain new identities and evade the authorities. The secret organization has infiltrated all levels of German society and will apparently stop at nothing to protect its members. Israeli intelligence is also keen on infiltrating ODESSA and satisfied that Miller isn’t an impostor, assist him in going undercover as a former SS camp guard needing assistance. Miller is soon found out by those who run the organization but he manages to locate Roschman nonetheless. Miller, it turns out, has his own very personal reasons for having wanted to find him. Written by garykmcd In 1963, young Peter Miller is working as a freelance journalist in Hamburg. He happens upon the diary of Salomon Tauber, an elderly German Jew who just committed suicide. The diary details Tauber’s stay at Riga Concentration Camp during World War II under the sadistic command of S.S. Captain Eduard Roschmann, who Tauber saw alive from afar only three weeks prior in Hamburg. The sighting of Roschmann was the reason for Tauber’s suicide. After reading the diary, Peter becomes obsessed with finding Roschmann. He soon learns that many of the S.S. were assisted in escaping following the war by a group called ODESSA, which is still active in advancing the ideals of Nazi Germany. ODESSA has become secretly ingrained in all aspects of power in Germany. One of the current ODESSA projects is perfecting biological warfare rocket attacks in order to annihilate Israel, the work for which is being conducted by an unknown but legitimate German company whose workers are unaware of their task. For their mutual benefit, the Israeli Secret Service co-opts Peter into going undercover to infiltrate ODESSA, Peter agreeing only on the understanding that he will deal with Roschmann in his own way. As Peter gets deeper in his investigation, he places his life and that of his girlfriend, Sigi, in danger.

Film Review

You could do a lot of worse things than spend two hours indulging in the ODESSA file. This 1974 production was the second of Frederick Forsyth's trilogy of books that were put onto the big screen in the 70's. Although made in1974 the events meant to be are depicted are supposed to be about 10 years earlier. ODESSA was an organization created by Nazis to help former high profile Germans and members of the SS escape accountability after Germany's defeat in WW II. You would be given false papers, new identities, passports etc and many of them made their way to South America . The most popular destination was Argentina, whose Peronist regime made no secret of it's admiration for Hitler and the Nazi way of thinking. (This only made Argentina's defeat at the hands of the British in the 1982 Falklands war that much more satisfying)! It's a docu/thriller movie lead by actor John Voight who had been elevated to stardom by "Midnight Cowboy" and "Deliveranc…

This film is remarkable on many levels, but two stand out: 1) the realistic portrayal of the events in Riga, wherein thousands of Jews were massacred by the Nazis, and 2) the fact that the "butcher" of these events in the film was not a fictional ploy but an actual SS officer named, as in the film, Rosschmann. The latter point is of interest, since the film provoked a world wide hunt for this murderer, who was located in South America, and who then fled to Paraguay where he died in 1977. The first part of the film is near perfect, though it gets more melodramatic in the latter part, with a number of unconvincing dramatic events added. One example: the journalist(Voight)attacking the burly professional hit man sent to kill him, and then actually winning a hand to hand struggle with him.

It is interesting that the movie opens with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963 in Dallas, a date and name that may mean nothing to young people today, or to non-Americans.Spoiler alert:The Odessa File is about a vast Nazi conspiracy, about Nazis who have infiltrated every level of government, police and business in post-war Germany. Some believe there was also a high-level conspiracy behind the killing of JFK. Is the movie suggesting a parallel?This is a great movie that holds up well to repeat viewings over the years. History can gain greater meaning as we age, if we take the time to study it. With greater familiarity of World War 2, this movie takes on added strength. The extraordinary ending still has power. The Odessa File has a slower pace than most thrillers, but this allows for creating a sense of atmosphere and gives the movie life and realism. Perhaps this is one reason it holds up well in repeat viewings.This pace and naturalistic direction is al…


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