Plot: What’s it about?
Dr. Josef Mengele (Gregory Peck) has been hiding out in South America after the end of the Nazi reign, to avoid capture and trial, but he is about to once again make his presence felt. Mengele has assembled some of his old cohorts, with the intention of creating clones of Adolph Hitler. Can you imagine like a hundred little Hitlers running around? Geez. This type of project doesn’t stay silent for long, and the secret is leaked, with a man by the name of Bill Kohler (Steve Guttenberg) ending up with the information. Kohler contacts Ezra Lieberman (Laurence Olivier), a veteran Nazi hunter, to inform him of the events shaping up, but before he can fully parlay the message, he passes away. As Mengele’s plans go further into fruition, it’s up to Lieberman to shut the operation down before it goes too far.
If you ask me, the concept of cloning a bunch of Hitlers is a fantastic idea for a movie. What makes this an even better concept is that the story is based, albeit loosely, on fact, the real life Mengele was alive and well when this movie was released. The movie features some excellent cinematography, and even better casting, but the World War II fallout is what attracted me to the movie. I am always interested in movies that contain stories involving the second World War, especially ones that deal with the effects afterwards, like this one. If you’re looking for a drama to fill an evening, this will more than fill that slot. It has great performances and a great storyline, and the disc is a nice treatment as well.
As I mentioned above, this film is filled with outstanding performances, the casting is perfect with this movie. Gregory Peck is amazing here as Mengele, and I feel it is one of his finest acting turns. Peck (The Sea Wolves, The Guns of the Navarone) plays Mengele with a controlled passion, very subtle but still powerful. In somewhat of a surprise, Steve Guttenberg actually gives a good performance, something he doesn’t do often. Guttenberg (Police Academy, Cocoon) is usually a comedic actor, but he shows some dramatic spark here. Master thespian Laurence Olivier adds yet another superb performance to his career list, perhaps one of his best. Olivier (Sleuth, Marathon Man) is known for his incredible acting turns, and certainly he lives up to that reputation here. Also appearing are Rosemary Harris (Tom & Viv, My Life So Far), James Mason (Heaven Can Wait, Salem’s Lot), Anne Meara (Kiss of Death, Awakenings), and Lilli Palmer (Operation Crossbow).
Video: How does it look?
The Boys From Brazil is presented in non anamorphic widescreen, with an aspect ration of 1.85:1. The image is very strong, with a good looking print, free from all but minor flecking and other wear signs. Colors look vivid, but the age of the print does cause some muting, although it is minor and not an issue. Black levels are correct, with no shadow layering problems and high visible detail levels. The disc is free from compression errors as well.
Audio: How does it sound?
The disc uses a mono track for audio, and aside from the obvious limitations of the format, the audio comes through quite well. Even though a remastered and remixed surround track would have deepened the total sound, this track shows some nice separation and clarity. The dialogue sounds crisp and at a decent volume, and the other elements are consistent as well.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The disc contains production notes, talent files, and two theatrical trailers. The trailers aren’t easy to find, you have to navigate to the last page of the production notes, then the trailers appear. The production notes and talent files are very extensive, worth a read for sure.