Reading the SF Encyclopedia, One Random Entry At A Time: Boys From Brazil, The

A some-what appropriate entry given the world-wide rise of Antisemitism and the Hamas attack on Israel.

This entry is for the film that starred Gregory Peck as Dr. Josef Mengele, the concentration camps’ notorious “Angel of Death”, who conducted horrific and largely unscientific “experiments” on camp prisoners.

I can’t imagine a more villainous character to be played by an actor.

The movie wasn’t terrible and the novel, by Ira Levin, slightly better, if my memory serves.  (My father was very much into spy and technothrillers, especially if they featured a swastika on the cover, so this was read quite some time ago, probably when it first came out in 1976, when the premise of the story – BOTH the acquisition of genetic material from A. Hitler and the possibility of cloning him, SEEMED more plausible.

However, in both the novel and the film, I think the most striking aspects are the lengths to which Mengele and crew went to recreating the boyhood experiences of their cloned Adolfs.

I’m sure that in our conspiracy-laden world, some still believe that Hitler is alive and  well, and so are his clones.  (See the movie Iron Sky for more on this mythic conspiracy.)

The SFE’s entry states in part:

“Like the novel on which it is based, this is an absurd but entertaining concoction of pulp-thriller conventions with some rather interesting scientific conjecture about environment and heredity. Joseph Mengele (Peck), the notorious Nazi doctor, is discovered to be alive in the Brazilian jungle, where he is manufacturing Clones of Adolf Hitler.”

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