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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Robert M. Young
Edward James Olmos,
John E. Coleman
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 <email@example.com>
Director Robert M. Young was initially hesitant to take on this project when given the original script. He felt that the subject was too voluminous to be incorporated into one movie. He later agreed when presented with a revised script that focused only on one small element in the death camp, or in Young's own words "like a cork, bubbling on the surface of the sea." See more »
In the movie, Salamo Arouch was depicted as having married "Allegra" shortly before being sent to Auschwitz. In reality, Arouch met her for the first time after they had both been liberated from Auschwitz in 1945 and were subsequently married. Furthermore, "Allegra" was a name used by the writers for artistic reasons, his wife's real name was Marta Yechiel. 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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When Greece was invaded, its Jews were sent to Auschwitz. Among them was boxing champ Salamo(Dafoe, determined) and his family. When it is discovered that he can fight, he is put in the ring for the entertainment of the SS officers. This doesn't mean that they're safe, not even with him making a contact with a gypsy(Olmos) who is also granted a temporary "tolerance". Based on a true story.
This is among the most detailed, authentic and gripping pictures about its subject that I know of. The sheer volume of awful events, ways to be singled out and murdered and lies told by Nazis to avoid panic is impressive for being fit into the 1 hour 51 and a half minute running time. Production values are high. Acting is great for all concerned, with numerous subtle performances.
Going to great lengths to avoid being exploitative, this has few on-screen deaths, piles of dead and little naked skin. And yet, so much is communicated. Some recurring images convey far more than gore ever could. A reaction shot of conveys the horror inside the crematorium. And we know exactly what it means when we see the smoke from its chimney, or a train pulling in to, as my father solemnly put it as we watched it together, "the end of the line".
There is a lot of disturbing, and some bloody, content in this. I wholeheartedly recommend this to everyone old enough to handle the material. 7/10
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