It’s a pity that Jerry Schatzberg’s most recent picture–and one of his very best–has had to wait two years for its Chicago premiere. Adapted by Harold Pinter from a novel by Fred Uhlman, and shot in ‘Scope by Bruno De Keyzer, this French-English-West German production is a story about a Jewish lawyer in New York (Jason Robards) who’s returning to Stuttgart, Germany, after a 55-year absence to discover what happened during the early 30s to his best friend (Samuel West)–an ambassador’s son who didn’t share the racism of his aristocratic family. Most of the story is told in flashback (Christien Anholt plays the hero as a youth), and much of what’s impressive about its unfolding is the meticulous re-creation of Germany during the rise of Nazism (the superb production design is by the great Alexandre Trauner, who appears in a cameo in a warehouse office), as well as a sensitive (and perhaps timely) depiction of how the gradual changes in national thinking were reflected in everyday life. It’s a story that’s been told before, but seldom with such feeling for detail and nuance; one has to adjust to the curious mix between English dialogue and street signs in German, but the performances–including those by Francoise Fabian, Maureen Kerwin, Barbara Jefford, and Bert Parnaby in small parts–are impeccable (1989). (Facets Multimedia Center, 1517 W. Fullerton, Friday and Saturday, April 12 and 13, 6:45 and 9:00; Sunday, April 14, 5:15 and 7:30; Monday, April 15, 9:00; and Tuesday through Thursday, April 16 through 18, 6:45 and 9:00; 281-4114)