Exodus


3h 40m 1960
Exodus

Brief Synopsis

A young Israeli activist fights to set up a homeland for his people.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Action
Historical
Adaptation
Release Date
Dec 1960
Premiere Information
World premiere in New York: 15 Dec 1960; Los Angeles opening: 21 Dec 1960
Production Company
Otto Preminger Productions
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Cyprus; Israel; Cyprus; Israel
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Exodus by Leon Uris (Garden City, NY, 1958).

Technical Specs

Duration
3h 40m
Sound
4-Track Stereo (35 mm prints), 70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.20 : 1
Film Length
28 reels

Synopsis

In 1947 on the British occupied island of Cyprus, American nurse and recently widowed Katherine "Kitty" Fremont witnesses the transport of Jewish refugees from the intercepted ship Star of David to a displaced persons camp in nearby Caraolos. Kitty visits Brig. Gen. Bruce Sutherland, a friend of her deceased news photographer husband, to learn details of his death. Kitty confides that after suffering a miscarriage and completing her duty with a public health organization in Greece, she remains unsure of her immediate future. Sutherland's aid Maj. Fred Caldwell arrives to complain that the arrival of the refugees has prompted a series of shortages. Sutherland asks Kitty if she would consider helping out at the camp infirmary, but Kitty declines, explaining that she knows nothing about the Jewish situation. When Caldwell escorts Kitty back to her taxi and makes a disparaging remark about Sutherland's penchant for helping Jews, Kitty abruptly changes her mind and declares she will assist at the camp. The next day, Caldwell takes Kitty to Caraolos where David Ben Ami welcomes her and introduces her to camp physician Dr. Samuel Odenheim. In the infirmary, Kitty is drawn to the calm maturity of fourteen-year-old orphaned German refugee Karen Clement Hansen, who is the only one able to contend with the bitter, distrustful teen Dov Landau, who is recovering from an escape attempt. The following afternoon in the nearby village of Famagusta, Ari Ben Canaan, a Palestinian-born agent of the Haganah underground military organization, his associate Reuben and David, meet with Cyprian businessman Mandria to request assistance in transporting six hundred Jews to Palestine. Ari explains that Jewish intelligence intends this bold operation as a symbolic act to coincide with the upcoming United Nations vote on the partition of Palestine to provide the Jews with their own state. That evening, Kitty attends a party at Sutherland's and expresses her interest in Karen and the general agrees to arrange for Kitty to take Karen out of Caraolos for a day. The next afternoon, Ari joins Mandria at the harbor to inspect a dilapidated freighter, the Olympia . Ari approves of the ship and asks Mandria to provide food, numerous radio speakers and a jeep in addition to several lorries. After spending a couple of days with Karen, Kitty informs Sutherland that she would like to take the girl to America, but later is disappointed when Karen asks for time to consider her offer. At Caraolos, Dr. Odenheim tells Kitty that Karen may not be an orphan and explains that the teen's father, Johann Clement, a well-known scientist, sent her to Denmark at the beginning of the war when she was six. After the war, Karen learned her mother and brothers had died in the Dachau concentration camp, but she could find no information about her father, whom she believes may be in Palestine. A couple of days later, disguised as British soldiers, Ari and a detachment arrive at the military base with forged orders to transfer the newly arrived refugees back to Europe. Through clever manipulation and playing to Caldwell's anti-Semitism, Ari gets the orders signed by the proper authorities. Later, Kitty visits Sutherland, who is meeting with Caldwell, to reveal anxiously that Karen has been included in the transfer. Sutherland soon realizes that the orders for the Olympia were falsified and that the ship is destined for Palestine. Moments after the Olympia 's departure, it is directed to return to dock, but Ari responds that the ship is wired with 200 pounds of explosives which will be detonated if it is boarded by the military. Informed of the threat, Sutherland prevails upon Kitty to board the Olympia under the pretense of speaking with Karen and try to find out as much as she can. Kitty is allowed on the Olympia , but Ari dismisses her concern for Karen, accusing her of caring about Jews "ten years too late." Although pleased to see Kitty, Karen is enthusiastic about going to Palestine to search for her father and explains that the Olympia passengers are her family. Sutherland arrives at the pier and assures Ari via radio that the ship will not be boarded, but the harbor will remain blocked. Ari announces the ship has been renamed the Exodus and tells the passengers that they were selected by Haganah to set an example. Led by Polish peasant Lakavitch, a group demands action over passivity and suggests the Exodus passengers go on a hunger strike to force their release. The passengers vote for the strike which instantly becomes world news and results in a delay of the UN vote on partition. After four days without food, several children on the Exodus grow weak and ill, and the next day, when Dr. Oddenheim collapses and dies from a heart attack, Ari reconsiders the situation. Upon hearing Ari's orders that all children under thirteen years of age will be returned to Caraolos, two women with young children meet with Ari to insist that returning children will only demonstrate to the British that they are unresolved. Ari subsequently agrees to let the children remain. Following Kitty's report to Sutherland, he departs for London to meet with government officials about the Exodus . Moved by the passengers' determination, Kitty offers to stay on board to help and declares she will also refuse food, which impresses Ari. The following day, the British pronounce official permission for the Exodus to sail to Palestine. Upon reaching Haifa, Dov immediately attempts to contact members of the underground militant group Irgun, but is captured by the British military police. Meanwhile, the young people from the Exodus are bussed out to Gan Dafna youth camp where they are welcomed by Ari's father, Barak Ben Canaan, head of the Jewish Agency for Palestine. Barak encourages the newcomers to work hard to create a home, then introduces them to the muktar of the nearby Arab village of Abu Yesha, Taha, a childhood friend of Ari's. Verifying that Dov has arrived in Palestine legally, the British release him and he is picked up by Irgun member Yoav, who takes him to meet the organization leader, Akiva Ben Canaan, Barak's long-estranged brother. Dov undergoes grueling questions by Akiva about his experiences in the Warsaw ghetto and Auschwitz labor and death camp, where he became a demolitions expert. Under pressure from Akiva, Dov breaks down and admits he was forced to work as a "sonderkommando" for the Nazis, but reveals he was also abused by them. After his confession, Dov is sworn in as a member of the Irgun. A few days later, Ari arranges to meet Akiva, to argue with his uncle against Irgun's insistence on violence, but Akiva maintains that the British will never allow them a homeland through diplomatic negotiations alone. The next afternoon, Ari takes Kitty on a tour of the area, then introduces her to his parents, Barak and Sarah, and sister Jordana. In private, the couple admits their increasing attraction to one another. Visiting Karen at Gan Dafna later, Kitty is taken aback when the girl shows her a statue of the camp's namesake, Dafna, who was engaged to Ari in their youth before being brutally tortured and murdered by the Arabs. Uncomfortable with the growing awareness that she will always be an outsider in Palestine, Kitty tells Ari they should not become personally involved. Fulfilling a promise made to Karen, Ari locates her father and several days later meets Karen and Kitty at a Jerusalem hospital. Karen's excitement gives way to dismay, however, when Johann Clement, a devastated concentration camp survivor, remains unresponsive to her. As Karen, Kitty and Ari leave the hospital, they witness a distant explosion and when Ari realizes it is the British military headquarters at the King David Hotel he suspects Irgun. Soon after, the British arrest several Irgun members involved in the bombing, including Akiva, but Dov escapes. Akiva and his cohorts are quickly tried and sentenced to hang in two weeks. Learning of the sentences, Ari conducts a secret meeting with the top remaining Irgun members to suggest they unite with Haganah to free Akiva and the others from the grim Acre prison. Although suspicious, Yoav agrees to allow Dov to be captured to help coordinate the breakout from within. With assistance from Taha and the relatives of both Palestinian and Jewish prisoners, explosive material is smuggled into Acre and in a massive, synchronized assault, Akiva, Dov and dozens of prisoners escape. Evading a British military roadblock, Ari and Akiva are wounded and Akiva dies soon thereafter. Ari manages to reach Gan Dafna, where camp physician Dr. Lieberman performs emergency surgery on him before Taha smuggles Ari to a safe house, where Kitty nurses him. With political pressures mounting on Britain, the UN reschedules the partition vote and in December a majority agrees to the partition of Palestine, awarding a homeland to the Jews, with the British withdrawal set for the following May. A recovered Ari celebrates with Kitty, but Taha is despondent, lamenting that now his people are homeless. Despite Ari's opposition, Taha departs to meet with former Nazi, Von Storch, who is now advisor and messenger to the Arab Grand Mufti. Von Storch informs Taha that the Palestinian Arabs have agreed to make an assault on Gan Dafna and requests his aid. Taha returns to Ari at Gan Dafna to warn him to evacuate the camp in twenty-four hours, but asserts that he must remain with his people. That night, Ari leads a dangerous secret mission to transport the Gan Dafna children under thirteen to the safety of camp Beth Amal. With the Irgun now united with Haganah, Dov and several others guard the camp in Ari's absence and are joined by an armed unit of Jewish soldiers led by David. Karen slips out to visit Dov who tells her he will marry her when the conflict has ended. Unknown to anyone, on her way back to camp, Karen is seized by Arabs. The next morning, after returning from Beth Amal, Ari plans an assault to undercut the coming Arab attack. Realizing there has been no Islamic call to prayers from Abu Yesha, Ari takes a squad into the village and is horrified to find Taha hanged in front of his house with a star of David carved into his chest. Simultaneously, Dov is shattered to come upon Karen's body. The dead are taken to Gan Dafna and placed in a joint grave where Ari declares that the land on which Arabs and Jews have joined in death will one day be shared by them in peace and life.

Photo Collections

Exodus - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster (designed by Saul Bass) for Exodus (1960), produced and directed by Otto Preminger. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Action
Historical
Adaptation
Release Date
Dec 1960
Premiere Information
World premiere in New York: 15 Dec 1960; Los Angeles opening: 21 Dec 1960
Production Company
Otto Preminger Productions
Distribution Company
United Artists Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Cyprus; Israel; Cyprus; Israel
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Exodus by Leon Uris (Garden City, NY, 1958).

Technical Specs

Duration
3h 40m
Sound
4-Track Stereo (35 mm prints), 70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) (70 mm prints)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.20 : 1
Film Length
28 reels

Award Wins

Best Music, Original or Comedy Series

1961

Award Nominations

Best Cinematography

1960

Best Supporting Actor

1960
Sal Mineo

Articles

Exodus - Exodus


Based on the best-selling novel by Leon Uris, Exodus (1960) focuses on the birth of Israel after World War II. It follows Ari Ben Canaan, an Israeli resistance leader as he tries to help a group of 600 Jewish immigrants escape British-blocked Cypress for Palestine.

Otto Preminger, director of Exodus, was certainly no stranger to controversy and almost from the beginning his screen adaptation of the Leon Uris novel had its detractors. The first flare-up occurred when he decided to discard Uris's screenplay because Preminger claimed the author couldn't write dialogue. His remark ignited a feud between him and Uris for years. He then approached Albert Maltz, another blacklisted writer, to pen the screenplay but Maltz delivered a version that was 400 pages long. (The average screenplay runs 150 to 160 pages). Preminger then turned to another blacklisted writer, Dalton Trumbo, who was hired to write the screenplay for Exodus under his own name. About the same time, Kirk Douglas helped hire Trumbo to write Spartacus (1960). The reappearance of Trumbo's name in 1960 helped break the power of the blacklist.

Trumbo, one of the famed "Hollywood Ten," was blacklisted for refusing to answer questions of the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947. After serving a year sentence for contempt in 1950, Trumbo moved to Mexico and continued writing under pseudonyms. He received an Academy Award for his script for The Brave One (1956) under the name Robert Rich.

Paul Newman described his experience filming Exodus as "chilly." Newman and director Otto Preminger had very different styles of work. Newman enjoyed discussing character motivations with his director, but Preminger only wanted actors to do what they were told. The two men got off to a rough start when Newman arrived with several pages of notes for the director. Preminger thought they were interesting, but replied, "If you were directing the picture, you would use them. As I am directing the picture, I shan't use them."

The director's non-compromising nature was probably well suited to this particular production. There were arguments against the film by governing heads of Israel where it was shot on location, as well as leaders of terrorist groups, so Preminger had to face external pressure as well as criticism from within the production. In his autobiography, Preminger said, "I think that my picture...is much closer to the truth, and to the historic facts, than is the book. It also avoids propaganda. It's an American picture, after all, that tries to tell the story, giving both sides a chance to plead their case."

When Exodus was first released, a funny story circulated concerning comedian Mort Sahl. Supposedly, he stood up in the middle of a premiere screening of the film with Preminger present and shouted, 'Otto, let my people go' in reference to the interminable length of the film. Most critics, but not audiences, tended to agree with Sahl.

Exodus received an Academy Award for best music score. And Sal Mineo received a Golden Globe for best supporting actor.

Director/Producer: Otto Preminger
Screenplay: Dalton Trumbo, Leon Uris (novel)
Cinematography: Sam Leavitt
Music: Ernest Gold
Art Direction: Richard Day, William Hutchinson (associate)
Principal Cast: Paul Newman (Ari Ben Canaan), Eva Marie Saint (Kitty Fremont), Ralph Richardson (General Sutherland), Peter Lawford (Major Caldwell), Lee J. Cobb (Barak Ben Canaan), Sal Mineo (Dov Landau), John Derek (Taha), Hugh Griffith (Mandria)
C-208m. Letterboxed.

by Deborah L. Johnson
Exodus  - Exodus

Exodus - Exodus

Based on the best-selling novel by Leon Uris, Exodus (1960) focuses on the birth of Israel after World War II. It follows Ari Ben Canaan, an Israeli resistance leader as he tries to help a group of 600 Jewish immigrants escape British-blocked Cypress for Palestine. Otto Preminger, director of Exodus, was certainly no stranger to controversy and almost from the beginning his screen adaptation of the Leon Uris novel had its detractors. The first flare-up occurred when he decided to discard Uris's screenplay because Preminger claimed the author couldn't write dialogue. His remark ignited a feud between him and Uris for years. He then approached Albert Maltz, another blacklisted writer, to pen the screenplay but Maltz delivered a version that was 400 pages long. (The average screenplay runs 150 to 160 pages). Preminger then turned to another blacklisted writer, Dalton Trumbo, who was hired to write the screenplay for Exodus under his own name. About the same time, Kirk Douglas helped hire Trumbo to write Spartacus (1960). The reappearance of Trumbo's name in 1960 helped break the power of the blacklist. Trumbo, one of the famed "Hollywood Ten," was blacklisted for refusing to answer questions of the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947. After serving a year sentence for contempt in 1950, Trumbo moved to Mexico and continued writing under pseudonyms. He received an Academy Award for his script for The Brave One (1956) under the name Robert Rich. Paul Newman described his experience filming Exodus as "chilly." Newman and director Otto Preminger had very different styles of work. Newman enjoyed discussing character motivations with his director, but Preminger only wanted actors to do what they were told. The two men got off to a rough start when Newman arrived with several pages of notes for the director. Preminger thought they were interesting, but replied, "If you were directing the picture, you would use them. As I am directing the picture, I shan't use them." The director's non-compromising nature was probably well suited to this particular production. There were arguments against the film by governing heads of Israel where it was shot on location, as well as leaders of terrorist groups, so Preminger had to face external pressure as well as criticism from within the production. In his autobiography, Preminger said, "I think that my picture...is much closer to the truth, and to the historic facts, than is the book. It also avoids propaganda. It's an American picture, after all, that tries to tell the story, giving both sides a chance to plead their case." When Exodus was first released, a funny story circulated concerning comedian Mort Sahl. Supposedly, he stood up in the middle of a premiere screening of the film with Preminger present and shouted, 'Otto, let my people go' in reference to the interminable length of the film. Most critics, but not audiences, tended to agree with Sahl. Exodus received an Academy Award for best music score. And Sal Mineo received a Golden Globe for best supporting actor. Director/Producer: Otto Preminger Screenplay: Dalton Trumbo, Leon Uris (novel) Cinematography: Sam Leavitt Music: Ernest Gold Art Direction: Richard Day, William Hutchinson (associate) Principal Cast: Paul Newman (Ari Ben Canaan), Eva Marie Saint (Kitty Fremont), Ralph Richardson (General Sutherland), Peter Lawford (Major Caldwell), Lee J. Cobb (Barak Ben Canaan), Sal Mineo (Dov Landau), John Derek (Taha), Hugh Griffith (Mandria) C-208m. Letterboxed. by Deborah L. Johnson

TCM Remembers Paul Newman (1925-2008) - Important Schedule Change for Paul Newman Tribute
Sunday, October 12


In Honor of Paul Newman, who died on September 26, TCM will air a tribute to the actor on Sunday, October 12th, replacing the current scheduled programming with the following movies:

Sunday, October 12 Program for TCM
6:00 AM The Rack
8:00 AM Until They Sail
10:00 AM Torn Curtain
12:15 PM Exodus
3:45 PM Sweet Bird of Youth
6:00 PM Hud
8:00 PM Somebody Up There Likes Me
10:00 PM Cool Hand Luke
12:15 AM Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
2:15 AM Rachel, Rachel
4:00 AM The Outrage


TCM Remembers Paul Newman (1925-2008)
Paul Newman, with his electric blue eyes and gutsy willingness to play anti-heroes, established himself as one of the movies' great leading men before settling into his latter-day career of flinty character acting. Born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, in 1925, Newman studied at the Yale Drama School and New York's Actors Studio before making his Broadway debut in Picnic.

Newman's breakthrough in films came in Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), in which he played boxer Rocky Graziano. He quickly reinforced his reputation in such vehicles as The Rack (1956) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), for which he won the first of nine Oscar® nominations as an actor.

In 1958, while shooting The Long Hot Summer (1958) - which earned him the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival - in Louisiana, he became re-acquainted with Joanne Woodward, who was the film's female lead. The two soon fell in love, and after divorcing Jackie, Newman and Woodward were married in Las Vegas in 1958. The couple appeared in numerous films together and had three daughters, which they raised far from Hollywood in the affluent neighborhood of Westport, CT.

The 1960s was a fruitful decade for Newman, who starred in such hits as Exodus (1960), Sweet Bird of Youth (1962) and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969); and scored Oscar® nominations for The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963) and Cool Hand Luke (1967).

Newman's political activism also came to the forefront during the sixties, through tireless campaigning for Eugene McCarthy's 1968 presidential campaign. His association with McCarthy led to his being named on future President Richard Nixon's infamous "Opponents List;" Newman, who ranked #19 out of 20, later commented that his inclusion was among the proudest achievements of his career.

Newman's superstar status - he was the top-ranking box office star in 1969 and 1970 - allowed him to experiment with film roles during the 1970s, which led to quirky choices like WUSA (1970), Sometimes a Great Notion (1971), Pocket Money (1972), and The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972) - all of which he also produced through First Artists, a company he established with fellow stars Sidney Poitier and Barbra Streisand.

After coming close to winning an Oscar® for Absence of Malice (1981), Newman finally won the award itself for The Color of Money (1986). He also received an honorary Oscar® in 1986 and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1994. A producer and director as well as an actor, Newman has directed his wife (and frequent costar) Joanne Woodward through some of her most effective screen performances [Rachel, Rachel (1968), The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972)].

He remained active as an actor in his later years, playing the Stage Manager in Our Town on both stage and television, lending his voice to the animated features Cars (2006) and Mater and the Ghostlight (2006). Off-screen, Newman set the standard for celebrity-driven charities with his Newman's Own brand of foods, which brought $200 million to causes, and the Hole in the Wall Gang camp for seriously ill children.

TCM Remembers Paul Newman (1925-2008) - Important Schedule Change for Paul Newman Tribute Sunday, October 12

In Honor of Paul Newman, who died on September 26, TCM will air a tribute to the actor on Sunday, October 12th, replacing the current scheduled programming with the following movies: Sunday, October 12 Program for TCM 6:00 AM The Rack 8:00 AM Until They Sail 10:00 AM Torn Curtain 12:15 PM Exodus 3:45 PM Sweet Bird of Youth 6:00 PM Hud 8:00 PM Somebody Up There Likes Me 10:00 PM Cool Hand Luke 12:15 AM Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 2:15 AM Rachel, Rachel 4:00 AM The Outrage TCM Remembers Paul Newman (1925-2008) Paul Newman, with his electric blue eyes and gutsy willingness to play anti-heroes, established himself as one of the movies' great leading men before settling into his latter-day career of flinty character acting. Born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, in 1925, Newman studied at the Yale Drama School and New York's Actors Studio before making his Broadway debut in Picnic. Newman's breakthrough in films came in Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), in which he played boxer Rocky Graziano. He quickly reinforced his reputation in such vehicles as The Rack (1956) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), for which he won the first of nine Oscar® nominations as an actor. In 1958, while shooting The Long Hot Summer (1958) - which earned him the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival - in Louisiana, he became re-acquainted with Joanne Woodward, who was the film's female lead. The two soon fell in love, and after divorcing Jackie, Newman and Woodward were married in Las Vegas in 1958. The couple appeared in numerous films together and had three daughters, which they raised far from Hollywood in the affluent neighborhood of Westport, CT. The 1960s was a fruitful decade for Newman, who starred in such hits as Exodus (1960), Sweet Bird of Youth (1962) and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969); and scored Oscar® nominations for The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963) and Cool Hand Luke (1967). Newman's political activism also came to the forefront during the sixties, through tireless campaigning for Eugene McCarthy's 1968 presidential campaign. His association with McCarthy led to his being named on future President Richard Nixon's infamous "Opponents List;" Newman, who ranked #19 out of 20, later commented that his inclusion was among the proudest achievements of his career. Newman's superstar status - he was the top-ranking box office star in 1969 and 1970 - allowed him to experiment with film roles during the 1970s, which led to quirky choices like WUSA (1970), Sometimes a Great Notion (1971), Pocket Money (1972), and The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972) - all of which he also produced through First Artists, a company he established with fellow stars Sidney Poitier and Barbra Streisand. After coming close to winning an Oscar® for Absence of Malice (1981), Newman finally won the award itself for The Color of Money (1986). He also received an honorary Oscar® in 1986 and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1994. A producer and director as well as an actor, Newman has directed his wife (and frequent costar) Joanne Woodward through some of her most effective screen performances [Rachel, Rachel (1968), The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972)]. He remained active as an actor in his later years, playing the Stage Manager in Our Town on both stage and television, lending his voice to the animated features Cars (2006) and Mater and the Ghostlight (2006). Off-screen, Newman set the standard for celebrity-driven charities with his Newman's Own brand of foods, which brought $200 million to causes, and the Hole in the Wall Gang camp for seriously ill children.

Quotes

Trivia

Director Otto Preminger helped to end the stigma of the Hollywood blacklist by hiring Dalton Trumbo to adapt the screenplay for the film

When the filmmakers bought the ship that they used as the refugee ship, the company they bought it from was so thrilled that they delivered it with a fresh coat of paint. Unfortunately, this was unsuitable, since the ship was meant to look old, so fake rust had to be painted on at great expense.

250 extras were hired to play escaping prisoners at the old prison in Acre. However, 253 people were counted as escaping, those three extra escapees were actual escaped inmates from a mental ward near the set.

Notes

The title Exodus is taken from the second book of the Torah and the Old Testament of the Bible. It details the departure of Hebrew slaves out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses. In a sequence designed by Saul Bass, the opening credits appear against a blue screen under a burning flame that moves back and forth, right to left, rising very gradually until Otto Preminger's producer-director credit, when flames "subsume" the entire screen. The title Exodus appears with a drawing of several raised arms, some reaching upward, one hand clenched in a fist and the highest hand clutching a rifle. The drawing also was used in the film's publicity, sometimes presented within engulfing flames.
       A Daily Variety news item indicates that in May 1958 United Artists and Preminger purchased the rights to the Leon Uris novel Exodus, set to be published the following Sep. Upon its publication, the novel became an immediate best seller, remaining on the best-seller list for eighty weeks, despite the fact that, according to an October 1959 Variety article, numerous critics, including those from Jewish publications, had panned it. New York Post called it a "Jewish Western"; the New York Times literary critic wrote that "the history of modern Israel strains credulity"; and Israel Horizons described it as "artificial...the characterizations poor, the love interest foolish." The American Council of Judaism described the work as "an unhistorical novel being read as history." The book went on to be translated into over fifty languages and remains Uris' most popular work.
       Modern sources indicate that Uris became interested in writing about Israel after covering the Arab-Israeli conflict as a war correspondent in 1956. According to a July 1959 Variety item, Dore Schary, who had been the M-G-M studio production head, had commissioned the material as an original screenplay written by Uris, intending to produce it. The item concluded that with Schary's departure from the studio in October 1956, the studio lost interest in the project and Uris used the material to create his novel. In his autobiography, Preminger stated that when he read a draft of Exodus and learned the rights were held by M-G-M, he met with them and suggested that if they produced the film they would likely suffer boycotts from Arab countries that he, as an independent producer, would avoid. According to Preminger, concern over a potential boycott motivated M-G-M's sale of the property.
       Writing credits for Exodus became intertwined in the larger issue of the Hollywood Blacklist: A December 1959 Hollywood Reporter "Rambling Reporter" item noted that blacklisted writer Albert Maltz was rumored to be writing the script for Exodus, but in January 1960 Preminger announced that another blacklisted writer, Dalton Trumbo, had been set to write the screenplay. Preminger disclosed in his autobiography that he initially started work on a script with Uris, but that the author could not make the adjustment between novel and script writing and so was fired. Preminger acknowledged going to Maltz to complete the script, but stated that the writer never got past the research stage. Like Maltz, Trumbo was a member of the "Hollywood Ten" and had served eleven months in jail in 1950 for contempt of Congress. Using pseudonyms, Trumbo had continued writing scripts and had won an Academy Award under one of his pseudonyms, Robert Rich, for The Brave One (RKO, 1956; ).
       After years of confusion and rumors over Rich's identity, when the Academy repealed its blacklist bylaw in January 1959, Trumbo identified himself as the film's writer. Despite his admission, Trumbo was not openly publicized as the writer for Universal's Spartacus (see below) until February 1960, after Preminger's public hiring of him for Exodus. Anticipating protests over Trumbo's participation in Exodus, UA announced that Preminger had full autonomy in deciding on the screenwriter. Throughout February 1960 the American Legion campaigned against Trumbo's participation in Exodus and Spartacus.
       In late Feb, the Screen Publicists Guild protested the "interference by the American Legion in the private employer-employee relationships of the film industry," according to a Hollywood Reporter news item. In May 1960, a New York Post article stated that Trumbo had been "fired" as the writer of the Exodus screenplay. An May 18, 1960 Variety article quoted Preminger's assistant as stating that "the Hearst Press had been conducting a campaign against Hollywood rehiring of the writers who had been blacklisted" and that, at any rate, it was impossible to fire Trumbo as the screenplay was "being employed in the filming now taking place in Israel." After 1960, both Preminger and Spartacus producer-star Kirk Douglas claimed credit for being the first to "break the blacklist" by restoring Trumbo's onscreen credit. Spartacus was released two months prior to Exodus.
       A September 1959 Hollywood Reporter item noted that Timmy Everett would be cast as "Dov Landau," and a February 1960 item indicated that John Saxon was under consideration for the role. Hollywood Reporter's "Rambling Reporter" revealed in late February 1960 that Sal Mineo had "taken over" the role of Dov from Everett. Other items stated that Broadway actress Lauri Peters was up for the role of "Karen Clement Hansen" and Ziva Rodann and Suzanne Pleshette were contenders for the part of "Jordana."
       As noted in numerous contemporary sources, the film was shot on location in Cyprus and Israel. A May 1960 Los Angeles Mirror-News article stated that the British Army refused to cooperate with the filmmakers in providing soldiers and equipment on the grounds that the film was anti-British. According to the article, seventy-five U.S. Marines were hired to portray British soldiers guarding the displaced persons camp in Caraolos. The article added that Israeli destroyers were being sent to Cyprus to portray British ships. A July 1960 Variety article indicated that the U.S. Department of Defense had issued instructions to all foreign-based military commands ordering that no off-duty servicemen appear in the film due to "the commercial aspects of the project." The article noted that the objection was likely issued as a response to the active oil lobby echoing concerns by Arab nations over the film's production.
       The film roughly follows Uris' novel, but eliminates nearly all of the lengthy back stories the author provided for each main character. The back stories illustrated the Jewish immigrant experience in Europe and Russia from the late 19th century through Nazi persecution and murders during the Holocaust. Some major character and narrative developments from the book that do not appear in the film include: "Brig. Gen. Bruce Sutherland" is half Jewish and retires to Palestine; the passengers on board the Exodus are almost exclusively children and in addition to a hunger strike, they threaten to commit suicide one by one to force the British release of the Exodus; "Taha" and "Ari" end their long friendship in bitter animosity and Taha is not killed by fellow Palestinians but by a Jewish attack on Abu Yesha. The novel ends not on the eve of the founding of Israel in 1948, but in 1950 after the War of Independence on Passover when Karen is murdered. A 1995 Hollywood Reporter item, commenting on the rerelease of the film, suggests that Ari Ben Canaan was very loosely based on one-time Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin (1922-1995), who, as a leading member of Haganah, smuggled over 200 Jewish refugee children into Palestine in 1945.
       Despite dramatic license of some historical facts, both the film and novel Exodus trace the formation of the modern state of Israel using actual events. Sutherland explains to "Kitty Fremont" that the British occupied Palestine after their 1917 defeat of the Turks. British administration over the territory was upheld by the League of Nations at the conclusion of World War I and a 1922 "mandate" outlined British responsibilities in establishment of a Jewish homeland while safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine. Sutherland also mentions the Balfour Declaration, a 1917 document in which British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour stated British support of Zionist plans for a Jewish home in Palestine. As commented on in the film, the British had also made promises to local Arabs, in exchange for their support during the war, for the independence of a united Arab country covering most of the Middle East. Growing anti-Semitism in Europe and Russia during the years between the First and Second World Wars resulted in a marked increase in Jewish immigration to Palestine and brought about Arab hostility that resulted in British restrictions on Jewish immigrants.
       Both the novel and film Exodus open with the British intervention in the voyage of a ship of European Jewish immigrants illegally attempting to reach Palestine. In July 1947 a ship named Exodus 1947 was the first immigrant ship to be turned back by British authorities. Just outside Palestinian territorial waters the ship, which sailed from Site, France, was rammed by a British destroyer and boarded. Three people were killed in the ensuing resistance and passengers were deported back to France where they staged a twenty-four-day strike, refusing to disembark to the vessel. The British eventually returned the Jewish passengers to two German camps. The resulting negative publicity against the British action caused them to change their policy to transport illegal Jewish immigrants to detention camps in Cyprus, where the first portion of Exodus takes place.
       Ari is a principle member of Haganah, an underground Zionist defense organization formed in 1920 in response to Arab attacks on Jewish communities in Palestine. With the Arab riots of 1929 and the Arab Revolt (against the proposed partition of Palestine) from 1936-1939, Haganah turned from a militia into a military body, then with the 1948 formation of Israel, Haganah transformed into the regular state army, the Israel Defense Force. Stated in the novel, and implied in the film, Ari remains with Haganah/I.D.F. As detailed in Exodus, after World War II, Haganah resisted British occupation of Palestine and restrictions on Jewish immigration, but did not support extreme violence, as did the militant organizations Irgun and Lehi.
       In the novel and film, Dov and "Akiva Ben Canaan" are zealous members of Irgun (called "The Maccabees" by Uris), which was responsible for anti-British attacks such as the bombing of the King David Hotel and the bloody breakout at Acre prison, both incidents depicted in the film. The continued unrest in Palestine compelled the British to announce the end of their mandate by May 1948, a major turning point in Exodus. The United Nations, successor to the League of Nations, attempted to solve the continuing civil and ethnic conflict by appointing a committee to vote on the creation of an independent Jewish and Arab state. As shown in the climax of Exodus, the UN vote on November 29, 1947 resulted in the creation of modern Israel the following year.
       News items during the film's production note that, for the first time in motion picture history, premiere ticket reservations were placed on sale the day the picture started filming. By August 1960, the film had advanced ticket sales of over $400,000. Exodus screened in Israel for the first time in July 1961, and then Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion deemed it "not always accurate and a bit too long [but] a very impressive picture," according to a July 5, 1961 Variety article. In April 1962, Daily Variety reported that the film had purportedly been seen by twenty-five percent of Israelis. Exodus won an Academy Award for Best Music (Score) and Sal Mineo received a nomination as Best Supporting Actor. Modern sources add Ya'ackov Banai, Larry Frisch, Robert Goodstein, Yossi Graber, Anna Maria Millo, Amos Mokadi, Geula Nuni, Abraham Ofarim, Paul Smith, Mary Ann Spencer and John Van Eyssen to the cast.

Miscellaneous Notes

Voted One of the Year's Ten Best Films by the New York Times Film Critics.

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1960

Released in United States 1998

Shown at WideScreen Film Festival in Long Beach, California October 23-25 and October 30 - November 1, 1998.

Released in USA on video.

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1960

Released in United States 1998 (Shown at WideScreen Film Festival in Long Beach, California October 23-25 and October 30 - November 1, 1998.)