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Maximilian Schell dies, leaves us war and post-war classics

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Oscar winning and twice more nominated actor Maximilian Schell died Saturday February 1 at the age of 83. Schell was born in Austria just eight years before the Nazi anschluss ravished his homeland. That no doubt had much to do with the great film performances he leaves us behind that often concerned Nazi Germany. The four films below are among his must-see work.

"The Young Lions" (1958) was Schell's first Hollywood movie. Three Oscar nominations went to this examination of the effects of the war on a German soldier (Marlon Brando), a Jewish-American soldier (Montgomery Clift) fighting ani-semitism among his fellows and an American entertainer (Dean Martin) coasting through his service. Schell got noticed in this powerhouse company as Brando's captain.

1961's star-studded war crimes trial classic "Judgement at Nuremberg" received 11 Oscar nominations and won two, including Schell's Best Actor award. As German defense attorney Hans Rolfe, he became the first actor to win an Oscar for a role he originated on TV. He had played it just two years earlier for a "Playhouse 90" production.

1974's "The Odessa File cast him opposite his sister, Maria Schell, and Jon Voight in this adaptation of Frederick Forsyth's novel. He plays a former concentration camp commander hunted by a journalist played by Voight.

Schell received a Supporting Actor nomination as a man trying to smuggle funds to Germany to help fight the Nazis in 1977's "Julia." He and the title character (Vanessa Redgrave) turn to American playwright Lillian Hellman (Jane Fonda) for assistance. The movie won three Academy Awards out of 11 total nominations.


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