With two excellent antagonists in Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier, The Boys from Brazil presents a gripping, suspenseful drama for nearly all of its two hours – then lets go at the end and falls into a heap.
In a fine shift from his usual roles, Peck plays the evil Josef Mengele, a real-life character who murdered thousands of Jews, including many children, carrying out bizarre genetic experiments at Auschwitz in Poland. Olivier, slipping completely into the role of an elderly Jewish gentleman, is the Nazi hunter who brings him to bay.
With the aid of James Mason, Peck is out to assassinate 94 fathers around the world. In a brief but lively part, Steven Guttenberg discovers the plot and tips Olivier, who sets out to find how the killings fit together. His search turns up three identical lads, all played menacingly by Jeremy Black, who are more than triplets.
What they are and whence they came are plausibly developed in Heywood Gould’s script [from Iva Levin’s novel] and director Franklin J. Schaffner builds the threatening menace well.
1978: Nominaitons: Best Actor (Laurence Olivier), Editing, Original Score