Sally Ogle Davis, a teenage television personality in Northern Ireland, chronicler of the famous and powerful in Hollywood, and activist in Jewish arts and synagogue life, died Dec. 11 in Seattle. She was 71.
It's a balmy night as we join those filing into the basement social hall of the venerable Libertad Synagogue in the heart of downtown Buenos Aires. It resembles any Friday night service crowd anywhere in the United States, except that it's standing-room only. An elderly man sings Yiddish songs in a still-strong tenor followed by a young duo on saxophone and clarinet playing selections from "Fiddler on the Roof."
"Attempts to find in the youngster 'the warped person within the murderous dictator' have proved unpersuasive. If we exclude our knowledge of what was to come, his family circumstances invoke, for the most part, sympathy for the child exposed to them."
-- Ian Kershaw,
"Hitler: l889-l936 Hubris."
Adolf Hitler is no stranger to big screen and small. Charlie Chaplin first parodied Adolf Schickelgruber in the 1940 movie "The Great Dictator," and since then Der Führer has become a part of screen history. Mel Brooks poked fun at him in the movie "The Producers" in 1968 which was robustly reincarnated as a musical on Broadway.
When Australian director Gillian Armstrong decided to make a movie from Sebastian Faulk's best-selling novel "Charlotte Gray," about a British woman spy who parachuted into wartime France to work with the resistance, Armstrong's knowledge of the period and the place was limited.
The new television season is upon us. African American and Latino groups are making the expected protests about the lack of people who look like them before and aft of the camera, and the Jews are -- as usual -- adding up their TV IQ on the fingers of one hand.
If there aren't many "brothers" out there, there are even fewer "Members of the Tribe," and those that are there are not particularly Jewish Jews, if you know what I mean.
One wet night 15 years after the end of World War II, in the student union of my university in Northern Ireland, I watched a documentary film made up of home movies taken by Soviet troops at the liberation of the concentration camps. Unlike some similar Allied footage, the Soviets, interested in the propaganda value of the material, had made no attempt to sanitize it for public consumption. They wanted the film to be every bit as hellish as the reality.
What a peculiar piece of work is "Bent." The film version ofMartin Sherman's play, first presented on the London stage in 1979,and later on Broadway, has taken almost 20 years to come to thescreen. It's not difficult to see why. Not only is it turgid stuff,with a paucity of unfilmable ideas, but in an industry that sometimesseems to specialize in specious history, it will be hard to matchthis one for irresponsibility.
What a peculiar piece of work is "Bent." The film version of Martin Sherman's play, first presented on the London stage in 1979,and later on Broadway, has taken almost 20 years to come to the screen. It's not difficult to see why. Not only is it turgid stuff,with a paucity of unfilmable ideas, but in an industry that sometimes seems to specialize in specious history, it will be hard to match this one for irresponsibility.
Let me be direct and come to the point right off the mark:
"Seven Years in Tibet," appropriately filmed in Argentina -- whereold Nazis go to be rehabilitated or to die, whichever comes first --is a turgid piece of filmmaking and as dishonest as, well, "TheDevil's Own," Brad Pitt's last outing on film.