Written by English actor Robert Shaw (yes, the Robert Shaw of Jaws fame), The Man in the Glass Booth was inspired by images of the trial, in Israel, of German war criminal Adolf Eichmann. Though it premiered in London, the play opened in New York in September 1968, directed by Harold Pinter.
Donald Pleasence starred in the title role as a wealthy New York developer, Arthur Goldman, accused of being the notorious Nazi war criminal Col. Adolf Karl Dorff. But as the case progresses, the identity of the man on trial becomes far less clear. Col. Dorff may well be a Jewish survivor of a concentration camp whose identity has been swallowed by the unimaginable scale of the Holocaust and recast at the agonized, human level of survivor’s guilt.
NOTE: New York Times critic Clive Barnes said of Pleasence: “The portrayal [of Goldman/Dorff] has the intensity of madness, it convinces against one’s intellect, and it thrills with its sheer, remorseless virtuosity.”