The Man Behind the Monster

Debonair and demonic in Schindler's List, Ralph Fiennes wins Oscar's notice, and everyone else's

Amon Goeth, commandant of the Plaszow death camp, strides into the basement of his barracks mansion and sees his maid, the lovely Jewish internee Helen Hirsch (Embeth Davidtz). He had chosen her as window dressing for the mausoleum he runs, but her strength and grace have touched him. For a crucial moment, on the face of actor Ralph Fiennes, evil pauses to consider itself. Could I have a decent feeling? Could I love this base creature, this beautiful thing, this Jewess? Just as quickly, and subtly, Fiennes' face tells us no. Goeth's fists flail out, not so much at Hirsch as...