June 30, 2009, - 9:02 pm

Nazi Hunter Beate Klarsfeld: Farrah Fawcett’s Best–& Most Forgotten–Role

By Debbie Schlussel
Right now, I’m watching “This TV,” the digital TV channel, which airs in most cities (and you don’t need cable to watch it). Tonight’s prime time movie is the 1986 TV flick, “Nazi Hunter: The Beate Klarsfeld Story,” starring Farrah Fawcett. It’s based on the book of the same name by Frederic Hunter.
Amidst all the Michael Jackson death hype and the “Charlie’s Angels”-focused coverage of Fawcett’s death, I’d forgotten this role–Farrah’s best–in which the late star played the brave daughter of a Wehrmacht officer who demands justice against Nazi war criminals, on behalf of Holocaust survivors.

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While Farrah’s European accent isn’t the greatest, she plays the role quite well, and it’s pretty good . . . especially for a TV movie. Actor Tom Conti plays husband Serge Klarsfeld, a Holocaust survivor and her partner in Nazi hunting. I recall that, at the time the movie aired on TV (I was a freshman in college), Fawcett wasn’t taken seriously and came under attack as “too glamorous” and “beautiful” to play Klarsfeld. This was an utter insult to Klarsfeld, one of history’s great women. She may not have posed in a red bathing suit poster, but hunting down Nazis is very sexy. And frankly, watching it now, I think Farrah handled the role masterfully.
For those not in the know, Beate Klarsfeld dedicated her life to tracking down and demanding trial and punishment for Nazis, including Klaus Barbie. She travelled from Germany to France to Bolivia to do so. She suffered numerous arrests, jailings, beatings and torture, and death and bomb threats.
I can’t find it on DVD, but if you ever get a chance to see it on TV, it’s entertaining and worthwhile.
And, like I said, it’s the late Farrah Fawcett’s best work . . . and sadly most unsung and forgotten.
The death of Farrah Fawcett is a stark reminder of another death: the death of great made-for-TV movies on important subjects worth reliving on the small screen. I’d take Farrah as Beate Klarsfeld any day–especially over reality TV and “The Bachelorette.”
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7 Responses

Debbie:
Do you think they’d make a movie like that today?
Follow up question: Have you ever seen the movie SADAT? Do you think they’d make a movie like that today?
[TINSC: NO, THEY WOULD NOT MAKE THAT TODAY. AS I NOTED, THE GREAT TV MOVIE AND THE MINISERIES DIED, TOO--WELL BEFORE FARRAH. NOT SURE IF I'VE SEEN "SADAT," B/C I SAW A MOVIE ABOUT HIM, BUT NOT SURE IF IT'S THE SAME MOVIE. DS]

There is NO Santa Claus on June 30, 2009 at 9:24 pm

We’ve yet to see one docudrama produced about 9/11 – since the one that aired on ABC five years ago and this is a subject TV could cover well – except the Islamopandering whitewashing and political correctness would get in the way of depicting the truth. History can’t be honestly covered on film today, whether its on the big screen or on the tube.

NormanF on June 30, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Debbie a bit on This TV, it’s a joint effort between MGM and Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting. And it is carried on a digital sub-carrier channel of a TV station. I know of no channel in the NYC area that has it, but in CT, one of WTXX-CW 20’s sub channels has This TV; Boston’s WHDH-7 has it as well. The highest market to have it–LA and KTLA.
Instead of the unreliable Wikipedia, I thought I would let you find out about Weigel’s history via the website of the station that started Weigel’s reign…WCIU-TV 26 or The U as they call it.
http://www.wciu.com/about.php
And also here is a list of schedules on Weigel’s stations…click on a tab to see what goes on
http://www.wciu.com/schedule.php
One other thing, they also own a Milwaukee station–Channel 49 WJJA which became WBME-TV adopting the MeTV format of classic TV. WBME is licensed to Racine, WI home of (SC) Johnson Wax, the long time sponsor of one of golden age radio’s favorite programs Fibber McGee and Molly.
And that is your broadcasting history lesson for the day.

NEPatriot on July 1, 2009 at 6:36 am

I will be sure to catch this film today on THIS TV. Yesterday, I caught Farrah playing Diane Downs in “Small Sacrifices” and she did very decent job in it, too.
I never took her seriously since Charlies Angels! Too bad for me.

GOLDENMIKE4393 on July 1, 2009 at 2:13 pm

I think she also did “The Burning Bed” which was pretty serious shiz.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087010/
Yeah, she did.

Richard on July 1, 2009 at 3:12 pm

As far as t.v. docudramas go, “the flight that fought back” about flight 93 on 9/11 and “taking Chance” with Kevin Bacon about a fallen Marine are both good. Taking Chance is on HBO, and The Flight that Fought back is shown on the Discovery Channel, usually around the 9/11 anniversary

mindy1 on July 1, 2009 at 7:34 pm

Yesterday, I got home at 5 pm and this film was just starting. Farrah did a wonderful and the film was equally great.
Too bad her career decision for cheese cake charlie dulled an otherwise shining star.
PS I am still shaken by her performance as Diane Downs eeeeeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkkkk

GOLDENMIKE4393 on July 2, 2009 at 6:39 pm

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