Wednesday, 21 May 2008

1948 - 2008 - STATE OF ISRAEL - 60th ANNIVERSARY



Exodus is a 1960 epic war film made by Alpha and Carlyle Productions and distributed by United Artists. It was produced and directed by Otto Preminger from a screenplay by Dalton Trumbo from the novel, Exodus, by Leon Uris. The Super Panavision 70 cinematography was by Sam Leavitt. The music, including the frequently covered title theme, was written by Ernest Gold.


The film is based on the events that happened on the ship Exodus in 1947 and dealing with the founding of the state of Israel around 1948.

Nurse Katherine (Kitty) Fremont (Eva Marie Saint) is an American volunteer nurse at the Karaolos detention camp in Cyprus, where thousands of Jews - Holocaust survivors - are being held, as they have no homeland to return to. They sit in anticipation of the day they will be liberated. Ari Ben Canaan (Paul Newman), a Haganah rebel who previously was a Captain in the Jewish Brigade of the British Army in World War II, obtains a cargo ship and is able to smuggle 611 Jewish inmates out of the camp for an illegal voyage to Palestine before being found out by military authorities. When the British discover that the refugees are in a ship in the harbor of Famagusta, they blockade the harbor. The refugees stage a hunger strike, during which the camp's doctor dies; then the British relent and allow the Exodus safe passage.

Meanwhile, Kitty has grown very fond of Karen Hansen (Jill Haworth), a young Danish-Jewish girl searching for her father, from whom she was separated during the war. She has taken up the Zionist cause, much to the chagrin of Kitty, who had hoped to take young Karen to America so that she can begin a new life there.

Meanwhile, opposition to the partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states is heating up, and Karen's young beau Dov Landau (Sal Mineo) joins the Irgun, a radical Jewish underground network, led by Ari Ben Canaan's uncle Akiva (David Opatoshu). Because of his activities, Akiva has been disowned by Ari's father, Barak, who heads the mainstream Jewish Agency trying to create a Jewish state through political and diplomatic means. He fears that the Irgun will damage his efforts, especially since the British have put a price on Akiva's head. When the bombing of the King David Hotel in an act of terrorism leads to dozens of fatalities, Akiva is arrested and sentenced to hang. Meanwhile, Karen's father has been found, but he is suffering from clinical depression and does not recognize her. Karen has gone to live at Gan Dafna, the Jewish kibbutz near Mount Tabor at which Ari was raised.

Kitty and Ari have fallen in love, but Uncle Akiva's imprisonment is an obstacle, and Ari must devise a plan to free the prisoners.

Dov Landau, who had managed to elude the arresting soldiers, turns himself in so that he can use his knowledge of explosives to rig the Acre prison and plan an escape route. All goes according to plan; hundreds of prisoners, including Akiva, manage to escape. But Akiva is fatally shot by British soldiers while evading a roadblock set up to catch the escaped prisoners. Ari, who was driving, is badly wounded. He makes his way to Abu Yesha, an Arab village where his lifelong friend, Taha, is the mukhtar. Kitty is brought there and treats his wound.

An independent Israel is now in plain view, but Arab radicals commanded by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem plot to attack Gan Dafna and kill its villagers. Ari receives prior warning of this attack from Taha, and he manages to get the chidren of the town out in a mass overnight escape. Karen, ecstatic over the prospect of a new nation, searches and finds Dov(who was patrolling outside the town) proclaims her love for him, and traveled back to Gan Dafna, only to be captured and killed by a wandering Arab radical.In the morning, Dov and a patrol group finds her lifeless body. That same day, the body of Taha is found hanging in his village killed by Arab extemists with a Star of David symbol carved on his body. Karen and Taha are buried together in one grave. At the Jewish burial ceremony, Ari swears on their bodies that someday, Jews and Arabs will live together and share the land in peace. The movie then ends with Ari and a Palmach contingent entering trucks and heading toward battle.


Paul Newman on Exodus DVD cover

Paul Newman - Ari Ben Canaan
Eva Marie Saint - Kitty Fremont
Ralph Richardson - Gen. Sutherland
Peter Lawford - Maj. Caldwell
Lee J. Cobb - Barak Ben Canaan
Sal Mineo - Dov Landau
John Derek - Taha
Hugh Griffith - Mandria
Gregory Ratoff - Lakavitch
Felix Aylmer - Dr. Lieberman
David Opatoshu - Akiva Ben-Canaan
Jill Haworth - Karen
Marius Goring - Von Storch
Michael Wager - David
Paul Stevens - Reuben
Victor Maddern - Sergeant
George Maharis - Yoav


Director Otto Preminger helped to end the stigma of the Hollywood blacklist by hiring Dalton Trumbo to adapt the screenplay for the film
John Gielgud turned down the role of General Sutherland.

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

The music score, written by Ernest Gold won the Academy Award for Best Original Score at the 1960 Oscars. The main theme from the film has been widely remixed and covered by many artists such as Ferrent and Teicher, whose version went all the way to number 2 on the Billboard Singles Chart, Other version were recorded by Mantovani, Peter Nero, Connie Francis, and the Duprees, who sang the theme with lyrics written by Pat Boone, Other artists (such as piano player Anthony Burger for the Homecoming titled "I Do Believe"), remixed by techno-crossover pianist Maksim, even being used as the sample for the T.I. song Bankhead, and the original version was used as theme song for professional wrestler "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig. Trey Spruance of the Secret Chiefs 3 rescored the theme for "surf band and orchestra" on the album 2004 Book of Horizons. Another professional wrestler, Bill Goldberg, used a version of the main theme as his entrance music while in WCW as a nod to his Jewish heritage. Furthermore, Howard Stern tends to use it for comedic effect when discussing aspects of Jewish life.

The film was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Sal Mineo) and for Best Cinematography (Sam Leavitt)

Sal Mineo won the Best Supporting Actor Award

Ernest Gold won Best Soundtrack Album and Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards of 1961 for the soundtrack and theme to Exodus respectively. It is the only instrumental song to ever receive that award to date. Oddly, the first notes of the great dramatic theme are identical to the opening theme of a somewhat obscure orchestral piece by Quincy Porter, New England Episodes, premiered in 1958 in Washington, DC.

Popular Culture

In "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues," Bob Dylan sings: "To my knowledge there's just one man that's really and truly an American, that's George Lincoln Rockwell: I know for a fact he hates Commies 'cause he picketed the movie Exodus." Despite the fact that Dylan performed this song in the early 60s, it wasn't officially released until a live version appeared on 1991's Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series 1-3.

See also

External links
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