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Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Ambassador (movie released in 1984) - Starring Robert Mitchum, Ellen Burstyn and Rock Hudson

Directed by British film director, J. Lee Thompson (King Solomon’s Mines) The Ambassador is a romantic-political thriller. The story’s is loosely sourced from the novel 52 –Pick Up by Elmore Leonard. Notable for having a cast which was aged, yet well known for its acting prowess, the film tells of the US Ambassador Peter Hacker (Robert Mitchum) and Head of Security Frank Stevenson (Rock Hudson) head out to the Middle East, as it suffers yet another diplomatic set back concerning Israel and Palestine. They have brokered a peace deal with the PLO, and are going to meet a group of young Israelis and Palestinians in the midst of the Judean Desert-only to have the meeting disrupted by the Israeli Armed Forces, both the Ambassador and Head of Security are apprehended.
Unbeknownst to the Ambassador, his wife Alex (Ellen Burstyn) is having an affair with Mustapha Hashimi (Fabio Testi). On one of their trysts in Jerusalem, they are followed and the rendezvous is videographed, anonymously. Frank’s role in the apprehension in the Desert is suspect, as he reports to a superior that Hacker is unfit to be envoy, after the two meet with the Israeli Defense Minister Eretz (Donald Pleasence), who reaffirms his commitment to the peace process.
Alex, very much besotted with her lover, chooses to create a drunken scene at a diplomatic-do, going off in a frustrated huff to meet Mustapha. She calls him from a booth in front of his apartment, when an explosion injures her, killing several others. Hacker and Stevenson are clueless with regard to her whereabouts, a phone call alerts the Ambassador to come to a movie theater all by himself. When he enters the building, the recorded images of Alex and her lover are played out on the screen- Frank, who was close at Hacker’s heels- witnesses this as well.
The Ambassador is informed that his wife is alive, and being cared for in a hospital. When the two men visit her, Alex tells her husband she would like to leave Israel and return to the US.




Back in his office, Peter is privy to a phone call which warns him that if he doesn’t pay ‘hush money’, the videographed events will be mailed to the President of the US. Hacker refuses, saying he would do no such thing, and tells Frank that he suspects foul play. That night, Peter tells Alex he is aware of her affair and that she is pawn in a dangerous game.
Heartbroken and shocked, Alex wants to find out Mustapha’s real identity. She learns he is a prominent member of the PLO and a wealthy businessman. The film, it appears, was made by the Mossad, to be used in case of ‘protection of its interests’. But as luck would have it, the Palestinians steal it from them. Stevenson is able to crack the case, unearthing the identity of the blackmailers as well- who had managed to get $500,000 from Hashimi. The two men also reveal that the KGB has sent a man called Stone to assassinate the Ambassador.
Peter sets up a meeting with Mustapha, confident that he can once more embark on the path of peace. He meets Israeli and Palestinian students in the outskirts of Tel Aviv, the talks are successful, but tragedy strikes when the students are ambushed by Palestinian terrorists, it ends in a massacre, and the tragic killing of Mustapha Hashimi.
On their return to the Embassy, Frank foils an assassination attempt to kill Hacker by KGB hireling-Stone, shooting him in the back of the head. Peter, overwhelmed and saddened by the chain of events that has been wrought, despite his best intentions, wants to retire, but Alex bids him not to, and the film ends with Hacker, looking misty eyed as group of Israeli students hold a peace rally, still optimistic that someday the Conflict would be resolved.

The Ambassador (movie released in 1984) - Starring Robert Mitchum, Ellen Burstyn and Rock Hudson

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