Tag Archives: michael douglas

Simon Wiesenthal Film Collection

simonwiesenthalSimon Wiesenthal passed away in 2005. He was a Jewish Austrian Holocaust survivor and became well-known for his unrelenting work as a Nazi hunter.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Moriah Films collection of documentaries, which features narrations by Morgan Freeman, Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock and others, is now available as a DVD set worth owning.

The collection includes two Academy Award winning documentaries: The Long Way Home, featuring Freeman’s narration; and Genocide, the 1982 best documentary Oscar winner narrated by Elizabeth Taylor and Orson Welles.

The Long Way Home takes an in-depth look at post-WWII and the survivors of the Holocaust. It also includes the voices of Edward Asner, Sean Astin, Martin Landau, Miriam Margolyes, David Paymer, Nina Siemaszko, Helen Slater, and Michael York. The film won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1998.

The story focuses on the contemptible state of affairs for Jewish refugees in Europe after the war. Antisemitism was still predominant and destitution was common. The movie indicates how emigration to the British Mandate of Palestine developed into a goal for many. Yet, the British immigration rules often concluded with them being in custody in camps on the island of Cyprus. The eventual formation of the State of Israel results based on the debates at the White House between Palestinian Jews, President Harry S. Truman, and the United Nations.

Genocide follows the courage and torture of the Jewish people before and during World War II. Elizabeth Taylor’s simple voice reads letters from fatalities of the Nazis. The letters are heart wrenching hearing the farewells to friends and other loved ones.  First-hand accounts of horrifying images.  On one particular read is about someone who observed a massacre. I was shocked and disheartened, which is the aim of the movie.

Other narrators in the collection include Whoopi Goldberg, Michael Douglas, Sir Ben Kingsley and Christoph Waltz.

The documentaries are available in DVD case with Simon Wiesenthal on the cover. Susan Margolin, president of Docurama, streaming service for documentary movies, called the collection “historically rich and profoundly important.”

 

Beyond the Reach

beyondthereachBeyond the Reach is a remake of another TV movie called Savages (1974) starring Any Griffith and Sam Bottoms. Both movies follow the same storyline based on the book Deathwatch by Robb White.

Directed by French filmmaker Jean-Baptiste Leonerri, Michael Douglas plays a wealthy, cocky businessman Madec. Early one morning he drives into a small town in the Mojave Desert. He makes quite an impression with his Mercedes G63 AMG 6×6 asking the sheriff for an expert hunting guide. The sheriff refers him a young, though experienced guide named Ben played by Jeremy Irvine. Ben is poor, and his long term girlfriend just left him to go study in out-of-state college. Ben takes the job, but he is suspicious of Madec and his “big-money” talk. The two men end up in the middle of Mojave Desert, and Madec fatally shoots another man by accident. The incident tests the limits of the two men.

The movie is about survival with Douglas playing a very dark character in a cat-and-mouse game across a barren and brutal desert. If you are a Michael Douglas fan, you know he plays dark, evil characters very well.

The special features include an audio commentary with Michael Douglas, director Jean-Baptiste Leonerri and producer Robert Mitas, and a featurette called “Six Wheeling: Inside and Outside the Ultimate Ride” featuring the Mercedes from the movie.