Between his daily, painstaking shit list revisings, Steven Spielberg finds time to make some of the most critically and commercially successful movies of our time. But does his latest effort, Munich, borrow too heavily from an 1986 HBO film based on the same source material called Sword of Gideon? The Wall Street Journal reports that Gideon's producers are suggesting exactly that:
To a large extent, this is to be expected: Both movies are based on the same 1984 book, "Vengeance," by Canadian author George Jonas. But there are some scenes in the new movie that are staged similarly to those in the older movie. For example, in recreating the bloody last moments of the Munich crisis, when Palestinians fire on Israeli Olympians held captive in a helicopter, both movies use the same camera angle — from the perspective of the hostages. And both "Sword" and "Munich" feature a noteworthy scene that doesn't appear in the book: a shot of a pensive Avner picking up the tobacco pipe of a fallen team member in a London hotel room. (In the book, there's no mention of Avner picking up the pipe.)
Robert Lantos, producer of "Sword of Gideon," says some parts of the current film are "almost re-enactments" of his 1986 work. "It's a testament to the cunning and foresight of Spielberg's publicity machine that 'Sword of Gideon' has not made it onto anyone's radar," he says.
While a reasonable argument could be made that there are only so many ways to shoot a smokey room with fluorescent lighting filled with swarthy Israeli generals screaming bloody murder, a cursory independent Defamer investigation into the matter (i.e, the back-to-back viewing of both movies' trailers and some stills), the results of which are above (click the image for a larger view), indicates that Lantos may be onto something here. Nearly identical, brooding Golda Meir doppelgangers alone are enough to bring on an accute case of the Jewish assassin deja vus.