By Robin E. Simmons
Directed by Academy Award winner Terry George (“Hotel Rwanda”) and based on a true story, this heartfelt and unflinchingly honest film is about the barbarian Ottoman Turks murder of 1.5 million Armenians in World War 1. In addition, nearly a million Greeks and Assyrians were marched out of the Turkish Empire with the Armenians and exterminated along the way. Armenia was – and is — a Christian nation and the cold-blooded massacres were a fanatical Islamic act that has yet to be acknowledged by Turkey. The roots of religious hatred have hardly subsided in our time.
It began with the arrest and murder of intellectuals in Constantinople on April 24, 1915. Subsequently, the men were forced to serve in the Turkish army then killed. The women, children, and elderly left behind were raped, pillaged, and slaughtered by the Turkish soldiers, villagers, and criminals let out of prisons with specific orders to annihilate them. This premeditated extermination would later be used by Nazi Germany as an idealized model to exterminate Jews.
The Turkish government continues to deny the killing of nearly two million Armenians took place and has funded a very well-organized campaign to discredit attempts to recognize the genocide in films dating to the 1930s when MGM was pressured into abandoning a planned adaptation of Frank Werfel’s novel The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, starring the none other than Clark Gable.
Musician and activist Serj Tankian, who contributed a modern rendition of the Armenian folk song, Sari Saroun Yar to the evocative soundtrack, served as the film’s executive music consultant, providing input from the very first draft of the screenplay years ago to the final cut. It’s been an honor to be an impartial ear and eye to the film, Tankian said. “The best way to counter high budget disinformation campaigns by the Turkish government is to move people with the truth via the arts. I’ve been doing it for years with music and wanted to help do it through film somehow.”
Shot in Spain, Portugal and Malta, the film features an outstanding international cast including Golden Globe nominee Oscar Isaac, Academy Award winner Christian Bale, Charlotte Le Bon, Angela Sarifyan and Jean Reno. The production team ultimately only succeeded in hiring two Turkish actors to join the diverse ensemble as many others refused, admitting they feared for their jobs and future careers.
If movies can make a difference in the way we think and feel, than perhaps this finely crafted film about a painful subject offers hope for us all. Without compassion, honesty and the understanding that we are all one human with the same basic needs, we are indeed doomed.
NEW BLU FOR THE HOME THEATER:
Nominated for 9 Academy Awards© including Best Picture, Director and 5 acting honors! This lavish Cinemascope version of Grace Metalious’ phenomenally successful and scandalous best-seller about the secretive, hot-blooded residents of what at first appears to be a tranquil and respectable New England town debuts on gorgeous hi-def with a bounty of generous Special Features.
When this was originally released, people came out in droves to experience the sweep and grand style of the sordid story with its shocking plot complications that came thick and fast. Under Mark Robson’s glossy direction, each performer delivers a topnotch portrayal; especially Diana Varsi’s is rebellious teen Allison.
The cast, led by established star Lana Turner who was at the time suffering her own real-life melodrama, is studded with memorable turns from relative newcomers including Varsi, Hope Lang, Lee Phillips, Terry Moore and Russ Tamblyn. An extraordinary score from the brilliant Franz Waxman further enhances the movie.
Special features: Audio commentary with actors Russ Tamblyn and Terry Moore; on location in Peyton Place, Hollywood Backstory: Peyton Place, plus a vintage Fox Movietone Newsreel.
This limited edition consists of only 3,000 units that will quickly disappear. For more info go to: twilighttimemovies.com