Saturday, June 15, 2013

An Outtake From “Music Box”

An outtake from the 1989 Costa-Gavras film, “Music Box”.

In the film, an American attorney (Jessica Lange) defends her father (Armin Mueller-Stahl) against Office Of Special Investigations proceedings alleging that Lange’s father had committed crimes against humanity during World War II and must be denaturalized and deported.

A real-life “Music Box” situation is playing out right now in Minneapolis, where a 94-year-old man, long-time resident of Minnesota, is alleged to have committed crimes against humanity in Poland and The Ukraine during the war.


The Office Of Special Investigations, no longer extant, was a very small unit of the U.S. Department Of Justice. Its work was to identify persons that had made false statements in order to gain entry to the U.S. in the immediate post-war years. OSI would seek to strip such persons of their citizenships and deport them to their countries of origin (often not a clear-cut question). OSI, not in a position to prosecute persons for war crimes since the U.S. lacks jurisdiction over events that transpire outside U.S. territory, had available only the remedies of denaturalization and deportation.


In the film, the American attorney initially believes that her father is a victim of mistaken identity. However, after months of legal proceedings, proceedings in which she prevails on her father’s behalf, she comes across old photographs showing that her father had committed inhumane acts during the war—she finds the photographs in an old music box—and she mails the photographs to the Office Of Special Investigations in the film’s final scene.

“Music Box” is a very fine film, but it did not fare well at the box office, probably because its subject matter was gloomy.


Jessica Lange was born and raised in Cloquet, Minnesota.

The 1918 Cloquet Fire started in Cloquet. One of North America’s greatest all-time natural disasters, The 1918 Cloquet Fire raged for days and spread all the way to Duluth on the shores of Lake Superior. It destroyed 38 towns and burned out 250,000 acres of forest and farmland.

At least 453 persons lost their lives in The 1918 Cloquet Fire.


In 2006, we ran into Armin Mueller-Stahl at Hamburg’s Museum Of Arts And Crafts. Mueller-Stahl was examining the Hall Of Mirrors, the former ballroom of Budge-Palais, when we ran into him.


In her youth, Lange, briefly, had been a professional dancer with Paris’s Opéra-Comique.

In his youth, Mueller-Stahl, briefly, had been a professional concert violinist.

No comments:

Post a Comment