THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL - Academy, K-B Crystal, Uptown and White Flint.

Nazis were ideal for the movies. In the days since World War II, numerous other incarnations of evil have been used - mad scientists, eerily controlled children, maniacs with eye fetishes, vampires.

But there was nothing like Nazis, with that chilling contrast between surface correctness and lurking fiendishness, the creepy mannerisms and the need for no motive but a devotion to the Party. With its historical connections, the character is easier to get across convincingly to an audience than any imaginative supernatural one that involves lots of background explanation.

"The Boys in Brazil" brings them back. Oh, one has seen them all along on posters for sadistic-pornographic films. But this one brings them back as Gregory Peck and James Mason, plotting the conquest of the world from an overgrown Brazilian hideaway.

Of course, a bit of time has elapsed, and these Nazis now affect jungle whites, omitting the monocle, although they still have that squinting problem. But you'd recognize them anywhere.

What's different in this film, and finely and subtly played, is what they perceive as the Jewish menace. It is, in the masterful person of Laurence Olivier, one fussy elderly Viennese Jew, once a famous Nazi-hunter but long since a bore and a burden to all who know him, who plays the detective. Singlehandedly - well, almost singledhandedly, his sister, played by Lilli Palmer, fusses over him, and there are those curly haired radical Jewish kids who keep attaching themselves to him - he foils the entire new Nazi conspiracy, which, while not as young as it used to be either, still vastly unnumbers him.

With all that, and such luxuries as good minor characters - Uta Hagan as a former Nazi guard, Bruno Ganz as a Viennese scientist - worldwide filming sites and Jerry Goldsmith's invigorating music, it got mucked up. This happened because it follows the plot of Ira Levin's book, which is really about the now-tedious cloning scare.

So in addition to the Nazis, there are also, in this film, the above-mentioned mad scientists, eerily controlled kids and maniacs with eye fetishes. It is, so to speak, overkill in the evil department. It's true that there are no vampires - but to make up for that, there are killer dogs.