Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Similarly Requested DVDs
Not so good a memory...
Daniel D. Vander Haar | Grand Rapids, Mi. USA | 08/16/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Storyline: man goes to Israel for first Holocaust Survivors reunion with the hopes of finding an old girlfriend from decades gone by, not knowing if she is dead or alive. Finds kind of a dog of a TV movie instead.
This is an odd film. Although it was released on dvd in early 2005, Amazon is selling it for just $4.99, and it gets the full $4.99 treatment. In light of that, here is a $5.00 movie review. No popcorn. No drinks.
There is no paper insert that lists the dvd chapters, there is no choice in sound quality, the video portion is closer to VHS quality, and then there is major Hollywood star Kirk Douglas in a movie surrounded by TV actors. I like Kirk Douglas, but his image as an actor is not so much one of drama, as it is of action. His best movie roles center around him as a foil for John Wayne, where his character has more than a bit of ego and flash, and who would rather mount a horse by jumping on it from behind rather than use the stirrups. But since the death of John Wayne in the late 1970s, good Douglas' movie roles seem to have died as well. You all know Kirk Douglas by the dimple in his chin, and he has been the good natured subject of many an impressionist, especially Rich Little.
I am not sure what Douglas is doing in this movie. His acting career goes back to the 1940s, and his best film roles include, "Spartacus," "Cast A Giant Shadow," "The War Wagon," and "20,000 Leagues Underneath The Sea." He is essentially an action actor, yet here he is playing off TV actress Pam Dawber (Mork and Mindy), with no guns, no fist fights, and no horses. Instead, he is treated like the elderly man that he is, and Pam Dawber wants to make sure he has everything he needs, like she is there to babysit him. This Kirk Douglas is not the same Kirk Douglas of by years gone by, but is a man who has slowed down, and in this movie at least he thinks more of memories than what he will do today or tomorrow. Perhaps what Douglas could have done is to play a more feisty character. As things stand, anybody could have played this role, and so why have a bunch of TV actors, and one big name star? Its not natural to see someone of Kirk Douglas' stature almost being dictated to by a TV director, where all Kirk Douglas has to do is speak a few lines. Kirk Douglas could have phoned in his lines.
Perhaps part of the reason Douglas took this role was a personal revival of his own Judaism. Even in his writings he has shown the Jewish reverence for God by leaving out all vowels, as in "G_D."
Pam Dawber still looks pretty good, and a lot of guys might still like to strip search her as she comes through the airport, but other than this she doesn't come off particularly well. She doesn't look like she can pull off any acting of depth. There is a sense that since this is a cheap made for TV movie, nobody really cared enough about it to push the actors for a deeper performance. And like all very attractive Hollywood women, she is still single, even though she would be at least in her late 20's. In real life, she would have been snatched up in high school. No one but no one lets such a nice looking woman get away from them for a good ten years or more, but then, this is Hollywood.
Robert Clary has an interesting role. You may remember him as Cpl. LeBeau from Hogan's Heroes. He plays himself in this movie, and introduces himself to Kirk Douglas' character and Pam Dawber as himself, Robert Clary, and Dawber says that she recognizes him from Hogan's Heroes. He is in real life, a Holocaust survivor, and mentions the actual time he spent in Buchenwald, one of the places I was able to visit. Together these three people and others are on a plane heading toward Jerusalem for the first ever Holocaust survivor's reunion. The main reason why Kirk Douglas' character is going is because he hopes to find out if his childhood love survived the Holocaust or not, and if she will even be at this gathering. Its been around thirty years or so since they had seen each other.
This is one of those kinds of topics that is best handled in a regular movie production, and not a made for TV movie. TV movies tend to try and look daring without actually being daring. And things tend to get sped up, so everything can fit into a time slot. So within hours of arriving in Jerusalem, Pam Dawber's character has already met a new boyfriend, and within hours they are in bed together, supposedly naked, except that Dawber has the sheets pulled WAY UP to her neck, and if she had a pimple on her neck, no one would see it, so what is the point of getting naked in bed if no one can see anything anyway? This is TV Land's version of Hollywood, and aside from hearing Dawber advance her acting career with a "hell" and a "dammit," Mork And Mindy is still the highlight of her life. And that series ended just as this movie was about to start. What has she done in the past 23 years?
So anyway, Kirk Douglas does find the woman of his youth, and almost instantly they take up where they left off decades earlier--they even sleep together, but that woman took some lessons from Pam Dawber, as she too had that bed sheet clinging to her neck, and so once again what is the point of getting naked in bed with a 66 year old man if you are going to cover yourself up, and glue the bed sheet to your person? Wasn't there any way over a thirty year period that Douglas could have tracked down this long lost love--no government to write to, no Holocaust survivors group with information? He found her in Jerusulem, and if I was looking for a long lost Holocaust love, Jerusulem would have been the first place I would have looked. Oh well.
In the end, since the woman is married, she thinks it best to leave the past in the past, and both go their separate ways. There is a small plot twist, but no time is given to develop that part of the movie, so I won't even bring it up.
This movie is not a complete waste of time--parts were apparently filmed in Jerusulem--but paying much more than $5.00 for it might not be money well spent. Here is the main fault of this story. What do you do with best friends and people you haven't seen in 30 years? You sit down and catch up on old times, and spend hours just talking. Add to this a life defining moment--no matter if it is a Holocaust experience, a military experience, being trapped in a burning building, or whatever--and a special bond is created that anyone who was not there cannot understand. Here are these Holocaust survivors who have four days before the official reunion begins, and what do they do? Nothing. Hugs and tears are almost nonexistent, except for one brief moment. And only during one brief moment do they share a story about the tattoo on their arm that they were given at the Concentration Camps. If we were not told that this was a reunion of Holocaust survivors it might just as well have been an Amway Convention. We are told in this movie that many Holocaust survivors still had trouble sleeping at night, yet here they are with smiles on their faces, and there is nothing but jokes and laughter.
I can understand Kirk Douglas' character wanting to go to this convention to try and find an old girlfriend that he lost during the Holocaust, but that Holocaust experience was just one of many experiences that he had. What about the thousands of people he had during his time in a camp? Yet, he goes to this reunion, and like everyone else around him, is basically alone. No one recognizes him, and hardly anyone else recognizes anyone else. If I went through such an experience, as much as I may have wanted to go find a long lost love, when I arrived at the site of the reunion, I would also want to hear and share stories--hear of other people's experiences in other camps. This would take hours. Instead, Kirk Douglas is sitting alone by himself outdoors having a drink.
What might have worked better would have been to have these Holocaust survivors sit around and tell stories of their experiences in the concentration camps, and use this as a back drop to this decades old love story. Maybe more time could have been spent in flashbacks, but as things stood, even the Nazis in this movie didn't sound too confident of their ability to speak German. Instead, what we get is a brief celebration of survival and a ritual of remembering in ways that are foreign to most viewers. There was no real peak in this movie, from which things wound down. Rather, there was a gently sloping curve. Its like going on a roller coaster expecting a big drop, but instead all you get is a slight increase in speed. Oh well. With Kirk Douglas in it, it was not a total waste.
The Holocaust deserves better stories than this one, and like this one there are modern Holocaust stories that are not graphic in any way. Left Luggage is one example of an infinitely better modern day Holocaust film. But the question is, people like Kirk Douglas and Robert Clary have been in the entertainment business for decades, and here is a great opportunity to say something about either their faith or a personal experience. Why couldn't they have said something to give this film greater drama? If Kirk Douglas can produce a major film like Spartacus, one of the all time great Hollywood epics, why wasn't his opinion sought on this little made for TV type movie?
Have a nice flight back to the States."
Bring Your Kleenex
Loves Blue Gems | Sedona, AZ | 01/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Oh my God, this story is beautiful and you will cry. Kirk Douglas is supurb in his role. Let's face it he is the King of Actors and one of the best and most handsome on the planet. But this role is a low-key, sensitive one that he plays, not a tough-guy type that we all know and love. He is a Holocaust survivor, and is searching for his long-lost love from years and years ago when they were both imprisoned in a concentration camp. He goes back to visit Israel, and decides to try to find out what happened to her. If you have a soft spot in your heart for this era this will be a beautiful film for you."