Hoffman reteamed with John Schlesinger in this thriller scripted by William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid). He plays Babe, who is drawn into a world of duplicity, betrayal, and stolen diamonds when his brother Doc (Roy Scheider) incurs the wrath of fugitive Nazi war criminal Dr. Christian Szell (Laurence Olivier). The film contains an infamous scene in which Szell tortures the luckless and completely ignorant Babe, all the while asking, “Is it safe?” Marathon Man is also the source of an amusing story about Hoffman: after describing his detailed preparation for a particular scene, Olivier asked him, “Why don’t you just try acting?”
(Notes by Kevin Coyne.)
Screening as part of our Dustin Hoffman Retrospective – June 10th-25th.