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Friday, November 26, 2010

Last Embrace (1979)

After a CIA agent (Roy Scheider) is caught in a double cross set up in which his wife is killed, he has a breakdown and is committed to a sanitarium. When he is released, he receives a mysterious death threat in Hebrew and an investigation reveals a sinister backstory in which the sins of the fathers are visited upon their children. Jonathan Demme won an Oscar for the classic thriller SILENCE OF THE LAMBS but 12 years earlier directed this Hitchcockian exercise. Demme's homage includes inspiration not only from PSYCHO and VERTIGO but even in the stunning music score by Miklos Rozsa (who won an Oscar for Hitchcock's SPELLBOUND). Scheider remarkably brings so much to an underwritten part and Janet Margolin, in her best role since DAVID AND LISA, plays the mousy museum worker who holds the secret to the conspiracy. It's an accomplishment that goes beyond mere style or homage but, not unlike his SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, into the very darkness of moral corruption. The cast includes Christopher Walken, Mandy Patinkin, Sam Levene, John Glover, Charles Napier and Marcia Rodd.

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