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The Boys from Brazil (1978) Poster

Trivia

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Gregory Peck was upset by the extremely negative reactions to his performance. He later said, "I felt, Laurence Olivier felt, friends of mine like Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon felt, that I was good in this part. Some critics seem unwilling to accept actors when they break what they think is the mold or the image."
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The fight between Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier had to be filmed very carefully, due to the 70-year-old Olivier's fragile health.
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Publicity for this movie stated that this was the first villainous role of Gregory Peck's career. Peck felt that his portrayal of Nazi war criminal Dr. Josef Mengele was the only completely unsympathetic role he ever performed. However, Peck's characters in Duel in the Sun (1946), Moby Dick (1956), and The Bravados (1958) have often been described as villains.
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Laurence Olivier was in poor health during filming, having recently undergone surgery to remove kidney stones.
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Laurence Olivier received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his role in this movie, playing a Jewish man who hunts Josef Mengele and other Nazi war criminals. His most recent Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role prior to this, was for Marathon Man (1976), in which he played Dr. Christian Szell, a Nazi war criminal based on Dr. Josef Mengele. For this film, Olivier received his tenth and final Academy Award nomination, making him the most nominated actor up to that point. His record was later surpassed by Jack Nicholson, with twelve nominations.
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Bruno Ganz (Dr. Bruckner) played Adolf Hitler in Downfall (2004).
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For his role as a notorious Nazi, Gregory Peck had his famous "widow's peak" hairline shaved off, his eyebrows cropped, put on a little Hitler mustache, dyed his hair with black shoe polish, and then had added white face paint make-up. Publicity for this movie stated that Peck bore an uncanny resemblance to photographs of the real Dr. Josef Mengele, which had, at the time, been recently smuggled out of South America.
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James Mason reportedly was not interested in the script for this movie, until he found out that his friends "Greg" and "Larry" were already signed-up. "Greg", of course, was Gregory Peck, and "Larry" was Laurence Olivier.
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Gregory Peck replaced George C. Scott. Scott was cast as Dr. Josef Mengele, but pulled out before principal photography began.
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Producer Lew Grade and Director Franklin J. Schaffner clashed bitterly over the amount of on-screen blood used in the film, as Grade was eager to get a PG rating, and it would also be easier to sell it for television distribution around the world.
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"Ezra Liebermann" was called "Yakov Liebermann" in the original book. Laurence Olivier patterned his performance on Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal.
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Austria's The Kölnbrein Dam doubled for the Swedish dam where an assassination sequence occurs. The dam was under construction at the time of principal photography, and was then not as yet a functioning dam.
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This film featured the only performance of Jeremy Black (Jack Curry).
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The movie was filmed in four countries: Austria, Britain, the U.S., and Portugal, with the latter doubling for Paraguay.
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When Ezra Leiberman (Laurence Olivier) first visits the first home on the list and gets welcomed at the door by the adopted boy, the camera moves to the mirror in the hallway which shows multiple reflections of the same child. The multiple images echo the appearance of the same child actor, who goes on to play each of the adopted boys.
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The film takes place from November 1978 to February 1979.
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Gregory Peck and The Big Country (1958) co-star Charlton Heston played the infamous Nazi war criminal Dr. Josef Mengele. Peck played him in this movie, and Heston played him in Rua Alguem 5555: My Father (2003).
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The director Franklin J. Schaffner and Sir Laurence Olivier (Ezra Lieberman) died only nine days apart: Schaffner on July 2, 1989 and Olivier on July 11, 1989.
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In a promotional interview with Roger Ebert, James Mason explained that he'd hoped to get either Olivier's or Peck's role, and was disappointed to be offered neither, but then was contacted about the subsidiary role of Seibert: "They'd found that when Dr. Mengele was in Paraguay, he had no one to talk to. So they fleshed out the other Nazi, and he fell into my lap. It was convenient, it was acceptable, I could even make sense of the character, and besides, it was four weeks work in Portugal, where I'd never been before."
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The commands for the Dobermans are all filming terms: "Cut" means "stop", "Action" means "attack", and "Print" means "kill".
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Playing a Nazi in this Twentieth Century Fox movie was James Mason, who had been well-known for portraying General Rommel in Twentieth Century Fox's The Desert Rats (1953) and The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel (1951).
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The three main stars all appeared in films directed by Alfred Hitchcock: Sir Laurence Olivier in Rebecca (1940), Gregory Peck in Spellbound (1945) and The Paradine Case (1947) and James Mason in North by Northwest (1959).
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This movie was released two years after its source novel had been published.
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Franklin J. Schaffner previously directed Patton (1970) which won several Academy Awards including the Oscar for Best Picture. This was the only other movie related to World War II that Schaffner directed.
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The nickname of Dr. Josef Mengele was "The Angel of Death".
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In the scene in which it is discovered that they are recording Mengele's instructions to the Nazi criminals, and the search for the transmitter begins, while they are reviewing the entire room, an autographed photo of Argentine President Juan Domingo Perón, along with the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, can be seen on a table.
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The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, but failed to win any statuettes. Ironically, it was Laurence Olivier playing the Nazi hunter, and not Gregory Peck in the meatier lead role, who was nominated for Best Actor.
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James Mason (Eduard Seibert) and Wolfgang Preiss (Lofquist) both previously played Field Marshal Erwin Rommel: Mason in The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel (1951) and The Desert Rats (1953) and Preiss in Raid on Rommel (1971).
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The cast includes two Oscar winners: Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier; and three Oscar nominees: James Mason, Denholm Elliott and Rosemary Harris.
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Jeremy Black received an "introducing" credit. He never starred in another movie, but has had a long theatrical career.
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When Dr. Josef Mengele and two others get out of the Mercedes at the ball, all three doors close exactly in sync with the orchestra music.
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Anton Diffring was offered a role.
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The story combines two genres that were popular in the 1970s: the conspiracy thriller involving escaped Nazi war criminals (The Odessa File (1974), Marathon Man (1976), The Formula (1980), Goldengirl (1979)) and the horror and science fiction movie involving dangerous children altered by supernatural or scientific means (The Exorcist (1973), The Omen (1976), which also starred Gregory Peck, and The Brood (1979)). The "evil child" genre arguably started with Rosemary's Baby (1968), which was also written by Ira Levin.
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Gregory Peck starred in The Omen (1976). In both movies, a child associated with evil (and conceived via unnatural methods) is protected by fierce black dogs.
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The partial line "to the screams of the mutants he was creating" is also featured in the Slayer song "Angel of Death."
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Laurence Olivier and Gregory Peck played General Douglas MacArthur in separate films: Peck in MacArthur (1977) and Olivier in Inchon (1981).
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In the Spanish dubbing, Mengele was named "Mengela".
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This is one of two films where Gregory Peck is attacked by savage dogs, the other being The Omen (1976). In both films, the plot revolves around a boy, and he is the one that sets the dogs on Peck.
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In 2006, Director Brett Ratner announced that he would be directing a remake of The Boys From Brazil (1978). As of 2019, the project has not moved forward.
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The age of the ninety-four old men targeted for killing, was sixty-five.
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Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

The film ends in February 1979, shortly after the death of Dr. Josef Mengele (Gregory Peck). When the film was made, the real Mengele was still alive in São Paulo, Brazil. In a bizarre coincidence, the film accurately predicted the month of the real Mengele's death. He died on February 7, 1979 at the age of 67, only four months after the film was released. Mengele drowned after suffering a stroke while swimming at a coastal resort in Bertioga, Brazil. Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, the real-life inspiration for Ezra Lieberman ( Laurence Olivier), continued to hunt Mengele for several years afterwards, not knowing he was dead. In 1985, German authorities located several friends of Mengele in Brazil, who led them to Mengele's grave, where he had been buried under the name "Wolfgang Gerhard." The body was exhumed and was positively identified as Mengele's by forensic pathologists. This identification was later confirmed by DNA testing in 1992.
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