The Incident is an outstanding 1990 movie based on true events that happened with German POWS who were sent to the U.S. during WWII. This screenplay was written by the team of James and Michael Norrell, and was directed by Joseph Sargent, who also directed My Antonia, in which Norbert has the role of Otto. Norbert plays Reifensthal in this movie that also stars Harry Morgan, Walter Matthau, Robert Carrdaine, Peter Firth and Barnard Hughes. This presentation represents a very condensed version of this film. A spin-off website which goes into much greater detail is available at The Incident Movie. This website includes many behind the scenes photos from the cast and crew, an expanded synopsis, and and extensive history of German POWs in America. This website was a Platinum Remi Award winner at the Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival for Excellence in Web Design.
The story takes place during 1944 in Breman, a fictional, small town in Colorado.WWII is still raging when the town faces tragedy -- the town's only doctor, Doc Hansen, has been murdered at a local POW camp. Harmon Cobb (played by Walter Matthau) is a good friend of the Doc's. He is a local country lawyer who is given the unfortunate task of defending Geiger, the Nazi prisoner of war who accused of killing the doctor. His heart is not in the case as his son had just been killed in Europe while fighting the Germans. He is told by presiding US Judge Bell (Harry Morgan) that if he doesn’t take the case he will be dis-barred. Cobb proceeds to defend Geiger, and discovers a major cover-up out at the camp, which points to Geiger’s innocence. Reifensthal and his band of thugs are proven guilty and are sent to hand for their crimes. (Expanded story, screencaps and much more available on The Incident Movie website.)
Reifensthal is led into the courtroom where he paints an unsavory picture of the accused fellow prisoner Geiger. The truth is that Geiger is innocent and Reifensthal has framed him. Geiger was an obvious choice to have murdered the Doc as he was seen pushing him to the ground the day before.
Behind the scenes photo of Norbert on the set of the movie. Photo by Brent Berry of Brent Berry Arts (who was also an extra in the film). Many more photos like this are available on the Incident Movie website.
My ReviewI found The Incident enjoyable on many levels, in fact, this is one of my very favorite out of all of Norbert's films. There are manyfamiliarfacesforthoseofusofacertainage,andtheiralwaysdependableactingwasrightontarget.ThemovieiswellcastwithHarryMorgan,WalterMatthau,WilliamSchallertandtheothersdeliveringexactlytheinterpretationoftheircharacters you would expect of these veteran actors. A very pleasant surprise was Robert Carradine. He could have taken the pompous Harvard Law School lawyer aspect a little too far, but he plays his part exceptionally well, and his character is well-balanced andbecomesquitelikeable.EvenaveryyoungAriannaRichardsdeliversawonderfulperformance.Maybe I am just a little biased, but Norbert was utterly perfect for this role. As he has demonstrated in several of his movies, he is an absolute master at playing the perfect gentleman even though his character is really rotten to the core. He can deliver a wide-eyed, innocent performance, then instantly change direction with his character, only taking a split second to turn into someone who can flash an evil look at an enemy, and reveal the vile nature he has successfully concealed so well. In this movie, he manages to do this after the U.S. attorney has turned away when he is done questioning him, the judge is looking elsewhere, and Cobb is still convinced that Geiger is guilty so he isn't really paying much attention to what is going onaroundhim.It'sagreatmomentinthefilm.Joseph Sargent did an exceptional job as Director. The pace of this movie is perfect -- there is no rushing through any portion of the story. In my opinion, this allows the characters to become more familiar to the viewers through scenes with real substance and development. His vast experience as the man who directed the original Taking of Pelham One Two Three, James Michener's Space, many 60's television dramatic series, such as Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The Man from U.N.C.L.E, and too many movies and series to mention, comes through on all levels. This is a wonderful movie based on some measure of fact that is well worth watching. Again, this Emmy award winning movieisavailableonAmazon.Additionally, writer Michael Norrell is probably very familiar to many of us. He had a role in the series Emergency, as well as doing some of the writing for that show, and he also wrote for The Love Boat, and Nash Bridges, just to name a very few. His credits on IMDB are quite impressive.
In the opening scene, Norbert's character, Riefenstahl, is seen presiding over the funeral of a POW who died at the camp. He was the ranking NCO at the camp.Note: German POWs in America were provided flags and the materials to make crosses in order to honor those who died while being held prisoner.