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The theme is the founding of the state of Israel. The action begins on a ship filled with Jewish immigrants bound for Israel who are being off loaded on Cyprus. An Intelligence officer succeeds in getting them back on board their ship only to have the harbor blocked by the British with whom they must negotiate. The second part of the film is about the situation in Israel as independence is declared and most of their neighbors attack them. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Paul Newman later regretted starring in this film. Newman was a left-wing Democrat who frequently disagreed with the Israeli government. He was also very disappointed with the finished film. See more »
General Sutherland tells Kitty that Tom should not have gone on what became his fatal photojournalist assignment because it was a minor border incident where Jews blow up some bridges. Kitty shows the General the last photo taken by Tom of a fighter strafing the truck the General and Tom were riding in taken by Tom from an obviously dangerous vantage point. The Jews had no fighter aircraft. See more »
The island of Cyprus, madame. World famous for beauty, and long, tragic history. Been conquered many times, conquered by Phoenicians, Assyrians, Persians, Macedonians; also conquered by Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Turks. Purchased from Turkey by your esteemed self, the British Empire. All Cyprus most wanted the British.
I'm an American.
Fond of Americans, also; we Cypriots are fond of everybody.
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Opening credits shown over a background of flames. See more »
Growing up in Brooklyn in the Fifties and Sixties, I can tell you that every Jewish household seem to have a copy of Herman Wouk's Marjorie Morningstar and Leon Uris's Exodus. The characters in Exodus among the people I grew up with became as known as family members. So when Otto Preminger made the film, he had a built in audience, almost in the same way that every Star Trek movie has.
But we're not talking about a mythical future. The novel is about Israel's founding, but the issues still remain and Exodus should be required viewing for all who wonder about the need for a Jewish state. Wouldn't hurt to read the book either.
Exodus got only one Oscar, but there was really no competition there. Ernest Gold's musical score is one of the great ones done for the cinema. I remember how much it was played back when I was a lad. It's a vigorous and uplifting melody and like so many other good film scores it carries the viewer along in what is a lengthy movie.
Paul Newman and Eva Marie Saint are capable enough leads, but it is the supporting characters that really make this film. Two of my favorites are David Opatoshu as Akiva Ben Canaan, an Irgun leader and Gregory Ratoff as Lazavitch who was the rabble rouser on the ship Exodus. You will remember both of these people after viewing Exodus. Why the Academy overlooked either of them for nominations is beyond me. But that was a year rich in supporting performances.
Making this film must have been the highlight of the career of David Opatoshu. He was a leading actor in the Yiddish Theater and to be in this film must have been a dream come true. Seeing him in various roles, Opatoshu never gave a bad performance in his career.
Sal Mineo as Dov Landau was nominated for Best Supporting Actor,the young concentration camp survivor who joins the Irgun. Sal had some stiff competition that year. Other nominees were Chill Wills for The Alamo, Jack Kruschen for The Apartment, and Peter Falk for Murder, Inc. Groucho Marx made a public declaration that his vote was for Sal Mineo after an appalling campaign appeal was started for Chill Wills. But the winner was Peter Ustinov for Spartacus.
According to a new biography of Sal Mineo, he was very jealous of Ustinov's victory and would curse him out if his name was even casually brought up in conversation.
I'm convinced that Leon Uris in writing Exodus was influenced by the Diary of Anne Frank in creating the character of Karen played in the film by Jill Haworth. Funny also that the film version of the play came out the year before Exodus. It was as if Anne Frank had survived the camps and had come to the birthing of Israel. She's an innocent child who still retains her faith in people like Anne Frank did, making what happens to her all the more tragic. If you've read the book before seeing the film, Haworth's performance was all the more poignant.
Unfortunately Exodus is not history because the war is still being fought by the Jewish people against those who would wish and do evil upon them. Would that it were just history.
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