Holcroft Covenant [1985]

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
The 1980s weren't too kind to John Frankenheimer, but this film stands out as a top-notch spy thriller. A Nazi pact to steal a fortune from the Third Reich to aid Holocaust survivors results in a bizarre inheritance 40 years later, with architect Michael Caine having to come to terms with his father's past and the terrifying prospects of a Fourth Reich. The whole thing becomes a metaphor for a witches' covenant. It's exciting and well-paced and full of precious little moments (though Caine and Victoria Tennant fall short of being interesting characters). Supporting actors Mario Adorf, Michael Lonsdale, and Bernard Hepton really shine. The film was based on Robert Ludlum's bestseller and coscripted by George Axelrod (The Manchurian Candidate). Terrific audio commentary by the director provides valuable insight--for instance, allowing Lonsdale to carry a long exposition scene through his commanding presence. --Bill Desowitz

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