Jewish Journal

‘Imagining Israel’

by William Yelles

Posted on Apr. 30, 1998 at 8:00 pm

The Skirball Cultural Center, in association withthe Museum of Television and Radio, presents "Imagining Israel: American Visions," a film series of American-made movies and televisionprograms that aims to examine how Hollywood's vision of Israel hasevolved over the past half century. (Sally Ogle Davis dissects thisat length, on page 38.) Screening with each film or program will benewsreels of Israeli events.

Leading things off, on Tuesday, May 5, will be the1949 picture "Sword in theDesert," with Dana Andrews, about a seacaptain who smuggles Jewish refugees into pre-Israel Palestine andfinds himself drawn into the struggle between British occupationforces and Jewish independence fighters.

June 9 brings "TheJuggler," directed by Edward Dymytryk andstarring Kirk Douglas as an Auschwitz survivor who can't handleadjusting to his new life in Israel. Douglas returns to the Skirballscreen on June 23 in the 1966 fictional biography "Cast a Giant Shadow." He playsMickey Marcus, an American military lawyer recruited to help Israelestablish its army. John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Yul Brynner and AngieDickinson round out the cast.

"Exodus," OttoPreminger's 1960 epic version of the Leon Uris novel about Israel'sfounding, will show on July 14. Paul Newman and Eva Marie Saint arefeatured. Three weeks later, on Aug. 4, the Skirball presents"Victory at Entebbe," the all-star re-creation of the Israeli commando raid onthe Uganda airport to free Jewish hostages imprisoned by thehijackers of an Air France plane. Burt Lancaster and Anthony Hopkinsstar as Israeli Defense Minister Shimon Peres and Prime MinisterYitzhak Rabin, respectively. Although not as good as another TV moviemade the same year -- "Raid onEntebbe," with Charles Bronson anddirected by Irvin Kershner (who would go on to make "The EmpireStrikes Back" -- it's still worth seeing, largely for thecast.

Closing out the festival, on Aug. 18, will be theearly Tom Hanks dramatic vehicle "EveryTime We Say Goodbye," with Hanks as awounded American World War II pilot who falls in love with aSephardic girl in Jerusalem (photo above).

The film series is being held in conjunction with"Fifty Years of Friendship: America andIsrael," exhibitions and programs thatexplore the historic relationship between the two nations. Includedare the current exhibits "On Moral Grounds:President Harry S. Truman and the Birth of the State of Israel,""Homecoming to the Holy Land: New Work byMoshe Zabari," and "Israel Through AmericanEyes: A Century of Photographs."

Film series subscriptions as well as individualtickets are available by calling (213) 660-8587. The SkirballCultural Center, located at 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., can be reachedat (310) 440-4500.

Tom Hanks and Cristina Marsillach in "EveryTime We Say Goodbye"


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