The Judas Kiss

Norman Katkov, Author Dutton Books $21.95 (432p) ISBN 978-0-525-93366-3
This overblown epic by a Hollywood writer seems to have been crafted with an eye to the small screen. Katkov ( Blood and Orchids ) plucks his characters from their carefree lives in prewar Vienna and hurls them into the Anschluss. In 1937, Nick Gallanz, a young Jewish architect at the firm of Ernst Auerfeld, rescues beautiful, Aryan Carly Siefermann from a riot. They meet again at a party hosted by Ernst's glamorous Jewish wife, Magda. There Carly also captivates a handsome and jaded baron, Fritz Von Gottisberg. Nick's exploits at the Zwischentheatre (a forum for Cabaret -like satires of Hitler and the Nazis) thrill Carly, whose love for Nick obliges her to decline Fritz's proposal of marriage. But when Nazi thugs brutally attack Nick, Carly agrees to wed Fritz on condition that he use his Nazi connections to arrange safe passage for Nick and his family. Nick escapes, together with Magda and Magda's money, but his family is not so lucky. As Nick and Magda join Viennese refugees in Hollywood and Nick becomes an influential producer, Carly becomes a famous Resistance agent (a la the countess of Romanones). Vibrant Austrian and Hollywood scenery provide the perfect backdrop to this cinematic tale, right down to its melodramatic finale. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
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