zeph’s pop culture quiz #52
Who is dead?
Simply leave a comment with your educated guess—you can ask for additional hints, too. [Leaving a comment is easy; just click the ‘Leave a comment’ at the end of the post and fill in the form. If it’s the first time you post a comment, it will be held for moderation. But I am constantly checking, and once I’ve approved a comment, your next ones won’t be held, but published immediately by the system.]
UPDATE 1 (07 December 2012):
As nobody seems fit to guess anything when Google’s image search fails, here’s another hint. I also could’ve asked: Who is meeting in front of that church? No, the painter from the first screencap doesn’t meet anyone there. He already is dead by the time. But the two people meeting there are intertwined with the story of his death.
UPDATE 2 and solution (08 December 2012):
Mona cleverly ↵solved the riddle and correctly answered both questions. The first one by ↑citing the New York Times: ‘an elderly Russian, who may or may not have been a Nazi war criminal,’ and the second one directly: ‘Kojak [Telly Savalas] meets Elissa Barak [Betsy Aidem].’
The movie is ‘Kojak: The Belarus file’ (Markowitz 1985) which originally aired in the US on 16 February 1985. An alternate title is ‘The Return of Kojak’ [aptly chosen, as zeph’s pop culture quiz began with Kojak], because this television movie, running 95 minutes, was made seven years after the famous original TV-series had ended.
Compared to the latter, the atmosphere of ‘The Belarus File’ is much darker, more serious, menacing even—I definitely would describe it as ↑neo-noir. The saxophone soundtrack induces a matching mood. Engulfed by that soundscape, created by Joseph Conlan and Barry de Vorzon, you’d hardly be surprised if ↑Mike Hammer would walk around a corner and onto the scene. An associative connection to Germany, and in consequence to the Third Reich, is accomplished by Max von Sydow impersonating Peter Barak, one of the leading characters.
The whole cold war plus Third Reich heritage story is a bit reminiscent of ‘The Odessa File’ (Neame 1974), based on Frederick Forsyth’s novel of the same name (1972), ‘Marathon Man’ (Schlesinger 1976), based on William Goldman’s novel of the same name (1974), and ‘The Boys from Brazil’ (Schaffner 1978), based on Ira Levin’s novel of the same name (1976). But in contrast to these movies, ‘The Belarus File’ is based on a non-fiction book, John Loftus’ controversial ‘The Belarus Secret’ (1982)—the text on its cover reads:
The first full account of an extraordinary clandestine operation carried out in direct defiance of presidential orders: How certain government agencies, in the aftermath of World War II, smuggled into the United States hundreds of Nazi collaborators from Eastern Europe—and have continued to protect them from investigation and deportation