Review: ‘Marathon Man’

Film spends literally half of its length getting some basic plot pieces [from the novel by William Goldman] fitted and moving. By which time it's asking a lot if anybody still cares why Dustin Hoffman's brother Roy Scheider is a mysterious globetrotter; why Laurence Olivier as an ex-Nazi disguises his appearance to leave a jungle hideaway to go to NY; why US secret agent William Devane seems in league with Olivier and his goons, Richard Bright and Marc Lawrence; why Marthe Keller throws herself at Hoffman; why the memory of Hoffman's dishonored professor-father, a victim of the McCarthy era, relates to anything.

Film spends literally half of its length getting some basic plot pieces [from the novel by William Goldman] fitted and moving. By which time it’s asking a lot if anybody still cares why Dustin Hoffman’s brother Roy Scheider is a mysterious globetrotter; why Laurence Olivier as an ex-Nazi disguises his appearance to leave a jungle hideaway to go to NY; why US secret agent William Devane seems in league with Olivier and his goons, Richard Bright and Marc Lawrence; why Marthe Keller throws herself at Hoffman; why the memory of Hoffman’s dishonored professor-father, a victim of the McCarthy era, relates to anything.

Hoffman, you see, is stuck in the role of a bewildered man-in-the-middle about whom bodies fall like flies; eventually he gets into the swing of things and kills a few on his own.

1976: Nomination: Best Supp. Actor (Laurence Olivier)

Marathon Man

Production

Paramount. Director John Schlesinger; Producer Robert Evans, Sidney Beckerman; Screenplay William Goldman; Camera Conrad Hall; Editor Jim Clark; Music Michael Small; Art Director Richard MacDonald

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1976. Running time: 125 MIN.

With

Dustin Hoffman Laurence Olivier Roy Scheider William Devane Marthe Keller Fritz Weaver
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