Robert Mitchum plays a controversial U.S. ambassador to Israel who tries to solve the Palestinian question while being criticized by all factions, which takes a turn when his wife begins having an affair with a PLO chief. Rock Hudson (in his last theatrical movie role) plays Mitchum’s chief security officer who saves his life in an assassination attempt and tries to help him resolve the conflicts around them.
The Ambassador is a 1984 American thriller film directed by J. Lee Thompson and stars Robert Mitchum, Ellen Burstyn and Rock Hudson. The political thriller was based on the 1974 crime novel 52 Pick-Up by Elmore Leonard. This is the first movie adaptation of Leonard’s novel; Cannon Films remade it in 1986 under its original title, 52 Pick-Up, this time directed by John Frankenheimer. Leonard’s book is about a Detroit businessman named Harry Mitchell being blackmailed by men who kidnap his mistress; there are no ambassadors in it. This was the last theatrical release starring Rock Hudson before his death in October 1985.
About the Story
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Peter Hacker (Robert Mitchum) and head of security Frank Stevenson (Rock Hudson) are en route to a secret location in the Judean desert to meet with representatives of the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization). It is part of Hacker’s secret plan to have young Jews and Muslims begin a peaceful dialogue. An armed Israeli helicopter locates and disrupts the meeting by firing on it causing several deaths. Hacker and Stevenson survive and are apprehended by Israeli ground soldiers.
Alex Hacker (Ellen Burstyn), the ambassador’s troubled and lonely wife is in Jerusalem where she is secretly meeting her lover. However, she is followed and their tryst is caught on videotape by an unknown entity. Hacker and Stevenson are taken to the office of Israeli Defense Minister Eretz (Donald Pleasence) who confronts them for not informing him on the meeting and reiterates his opposition to Hacker’s peace efforts. Upon returning to the American embassy Stevenson makes contact to a secret superior where he also voices his concerns and wishes to see an end to Hacker’s assignment as ambassador.
At a diplomatic function later that night Alex is drunk and making a scene. She leaves early by taxi to meet with her lover once again. While calling him from a phone booth in front of his apartment an explosion goes off injuring her and killing several others. Hacker and Stevenson head back to the ambassador’s residence, not knowing Alex’s whereabouts. Hacker is telephoned by an unknown man telling him to make contact at a movie theater, alone. After his arrival he enters the damaged building where the film of his wife’s infidelity plays on a movie screen. Stevenson, who is not far behind, shares in the discovery.
The Ambassador (1984)
Directed by: J. Lee Thompson
Starring: Robert Mitchum, Ellen Burstyn, Rock Hudson, Fabio Testi, Donald Pleasence, Fabio Testi, Chelli Goldenberg, Michal Bat-Adam
Screenplay by: Max Jack
Production Design by: Yoram Barzilai
Cinematography by: Adam Greenberg
Film Editing by: Mark Goldblatt
Costume Design by: Emily Draper, Tami Mor
Art Direction by: Yoram Barzilai
Music by: Dov Seltzer
Distributed by: Cannon Group
Release Date: December 20, 1984