Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA, 1960. Otto Preminger Films. Screenplay by Dalton Trumbo, based on the novel by Leon Uris. Cinematography by Sam Leavitt. Produced by Otto Preminger. Music by Ernest Gold. Production Design by Richard Day. Costume Design by Rudi Gernreich, Hope Bryce. Film Editing by Louis R. Loeffler. Academy Awards 1960. Golden Globe Awards 1960.
Otto Preminger’s three hour-plus presentation of the forming of the state of Israel has some great moments, but could definitely afford to be a lot shorter. It begins with European Jewish refugees stuck aboard an immobile ocean liner waiting for permission to land on the British-controlled shores of Cyprus, through to the subsequent fight over the land of Israel that continues to this day. Paul Newman is awkwardly miscast as a Jewish freedom fighter, while Eva Marie Saint fares much better as a volunteer trying to contribute help to those suffering from the effects of conflict. Ernest Gold’s beautiful score is probably the best thing about this epic drama, plus a marvelous supporting performance by Sal Mineo as a kid too young to know the major danger he’s getting himself into when he decides to be a soldier. It’s a story that should be told, especially as most people know very little about what happened to Holocaust survivors after the war, but more thrift in the telling would have been appreciated.