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The White Raven (1998)

The White Raven is a huge diamond that was used to ransom a young girl from a German concentration camp during the war. When the camp was liberated, the diamond disappeared and the camp ... See full summary »

Directors:

Jakub Z. Rucinski (as Jakub Rucinski), Andrew Stevens

Writers:

Michael Blodgett (novel), Michael Blodgett (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ron Silver ... Tully Windsor
Joanna Pacula ... Julia Konneman
Roy Scheider ... Tom Heath
Hannes Jaenicke ... Dockmonish
Elizabeth Shepherd ... Hannah Rothschild
Jan Rubes ... Markus Strand
Jack Recknitz Jack Recknitz ... Inspector Zielinski
Doug Lennox ... General Dodd
Larry Poindexter ... Lieutenant Kreister
Agnieszka Wagner ... Zofia
Monika Switaj Monika Switaj ... Wanda
Jerzy Zydkiewicz Jerzy Zydkiewicz ... Uncle Boy
Joanna Kasperska Joanna Kasperska ... Mildred
Wladyslaw Byrdy Wladyslaw Byrdy ... Lou
Jerry Flynn Jerry Flynn ... Alain Levon
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Storyline

The White Raven is a huge diamond that was used to ransom a young girl from a German concentration camp during the war. When the camp was liberated, the diamond disappeared and the camp commander was imprisoned, but not hung, as he knew the whereabouts of the White Raven. But now he is dying and will only talk to an American journalist by the name of Tully whose grandfather was a sadistic guard at the camp. With different groups looking for the Raven, Tully becomes the key as he must crack the riddle as to the location of the diamond before everyone, including Tully, is eliminated. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, language and brief sexuality | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 December 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bialy kruk See more »

Filming Locations:

Toronto, Ontario, Canada See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Ultra Stereo

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

[All trivia items for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Soundtracks

Baby You Done Me Wrong
Written and Performed by David Wurst
Courtesy of CSS Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Genuine Old-Fashioned International Thriller!
20 March 2009 | by curlew-2See all my reviews

I admit to having found The White Raven a good "little film". A return to the sort of B-list thrillers studios used to churn out on a regular basis. The title refers to an enormous diamond hidden during World War II. The last man to know of its whereabouts (played with barely restrained menace by the imposing Hannes Jaenicke) is in a European prison and is dying. He reveals a vital clue to Tully Windsor, a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor, and Windsor suddenly finds himself the target of several groups competing for possession of the diamond.

No, The White Raven definitely wasn't Foreign Correspondent or Ministry of Fear, or even Beach Blanket Bingo. But, thanks to directors Jakub Rucinski and Andrew Stevens, it carried enough nice touches to make at least one viewing a worthwhile pursuit.

Chief among these was the late Ron Silver as Tully Windsor. After a career of playing slimy villains, Silver took on a heroic role and made it pay off. His usually sinister features easily metamorphosed into a cool, calculating James Bond-like expression, and he moved from crusading reporter to MAC-10 wielding hero without missing a beat.

Silver was one of a small handful of domestically recognizable faces within the cast of the film. Elizabeth Shepherd especially shone as Hannah Rothschild: one of the people hunting for the White Raven. She wore the matronly European power-broker role well, reminding us that she was originally considered for the role of Mrs. Peel in The Avengers.

Elsewhere, Roy Scheider practically slept through his role of Silver's boss within the Christian Science Monitor. Along with Scheider there was Doug Lennox as a somewhat stereotypical corrupt American military officer. The remaining cast of The White Raven read like an Eastern European phone directory, which was actually one of the film's major strengths. After years of enduring small films continually set in either New York City or Los Angeles, it was refreshing to encounter new faces and foreign locales. I had mentioned James Bond earlier. In many ways The White Raven stands as sort of a James Bond film with a reduced budget.

Back to the cast. I had already mentioned Hannes Jaenicke: playing Hannibal Lector as a WWE wrestler. There was also Jack Recknitz as one of those former Nazi concentration camp guards who miraculously managed to take on a high-level Eastern European law enforcement job after the war. Besides these worthies we also had Joanna Pacula . . . veteran of numerous television and film appearances . . . as a sculptress who becomes involved in the plot (and, subsequently, takes on the role of romantic interest for Silver). She does well, especially since she has to make the audience suspect that Not Everything Is As It Seems Here.

Which brings us back to one of the problems of the film. Michael Blodgett's adaptation of his book tends to confuse whoever we're supposed to be rooting for in the course of the picture. It becomes difficult for Silver's character (and by default, the audience) to identify positively with anyone because we're never sure who is with who at any one point. Was Recknitz's character associated with the Paris-based group run by Elizabeth Shepherd? Was Lennox working independently? Was Balboa fond of bananas? Who put the bomp in the bomp-shu-bomp-shu-bomp? Who is John Galt? (The situation isn't helped by the fact that people end up being killed left and right to the point where keeping a scorecard might be handy. You watch the film and almost wish someone would live longer than five minutes simply so that they could deliver some useful information.) And speaking of action, while parts of it did work in the film, others didn't succeed as well. For instance: while I was aware that Silver was the hero of the picture, I felt he managed to escape too easily from many of the tense situations he found himself in. Since he wasn't going up against Imperial Stormtroopers from Star Wars (perhaps the worst shots and stupidest searchers in all of motion pictures), then the average viewer could be forgiven for raising an eyebrow. In one instance Silver manages to escape a group of pursuers through the simple act of hiding in a doorway and standing still . . . which would've worked if he'd been Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton, but he wasn't. Rucinski and Stevens did an overall remarkable job with what they had, but what the film needed for such scenes was a director like John McTiernan; someone who has a feel for actually inflicting suffering on a hero and setting up genuine fear for his survival.

But the pendulum swings both ways and the film builds nicely in other directions. Especially at the denouement, when the location of the diamond is finally revealed (as well as revealing how a large diamond can be smuggled out of a Nazi concentration camp). As with many other jewels, The White Raven possessed its own unique flaws, but it also managed to occasionally shine brightly.


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