Fact based story about a former Greek Olympic boxer who was taken as a prisoner during World war II and placed in the Auschwitz prison camp. There he was permitted to survive as long as he ... See full summary »
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Edward James Olmos,
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Edward James Olmos,
Fact based story about a former Greek Olympic boxer who was taken as a prisoner during World war II and placed in the Auschwitz prison camp. There he was permitted to survive as long as he fought for the amusement of his captors. His father and brother were also held as insurance that he would continue to fight. Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The movie shows the end phase of life in Auschwitz and the forced death march as the camp is evacuated. Salamo Arouch is sent to work in the Sonderkomando in the crematorium where suddenly he witnesses the uprising and destruction of what is clearly crematorium II or III. In reality, the uprising occurred in October 1944, months before the evacuation. The SS dismantled the crematoriums over the preceding months and the forced death march evacuations occurred in late January. (In addition, the evacuation occurred in the middle of winter, the movie shows a nice sunny day, where in reality there would have been snow on the ground.) See more »
Listen, I'm only going to say this once. For those who can hear me tell the rest. First come the SS, our lord and masters. Then comes our block health manager, Kyr. Then come the assistants, Otto and me. Then come the rats. Then come the lice... and then come you.
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The true story of Greek boxer and Holocaust survivor Salamo Arouch mercifully avoids the Rocky-goes-to-Auschwitz game, but it does make the tactical error of turning life in a Nazi death camp into little more than a tear-jerking melodrama. The against-the-odds implications of the title (a clever inversion of Leni Riefenstahl's 'Triumph of the Will') are also misleading, since outside of a few token bouts for the entertainment of German officers the ironies of the fight-to-survive boxing scenario are all but ignored.
The film's principle distinction is that was shot on location at Auschwitz-Birkenau, unhappily so, because the disturbing authenticity of the setting only emphasizes the superficiality of the story. No amount of watered down histrionics could ever communicate the true horror of the Holocaust, and in real life there was no stirring, Dolby-stereo music score to accompany the prisoners into the gas chambers, and no tactful cutting away to the next scene at the last moment. Sincere intentions only make it a bogus David vs. Goliath fable, set (and photographed) in Hell.
Note: see 'The Boxer and Death' (1963, Czechoslovakia) for a more honest, ambiguous, and compelling treatment of essentially the same story.
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