Lot 191
1960 photo album: filming Exodus in Israel

Estimate: $700 - $1,000

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About this Lot

Otto PREMINGER (1905-1986, director). – EXODUS. – ISRAEL.

Barry Anthony BIEMANS (1925-2019, compilor). - Otto PREMINGER (1905-1986, director)[EXODUS, the movie] an album recording Barry Biemans experience during the filming in Israel of the United Artists film production, directed by Otto Preminger, from a screenplay by Dalton Trumbo, and starring Paul Newman. [May 1960]. Oblong folio (9 ½ x 11 ½ inches; 242 x 293mm), circa 100 pp of black thick paper mounted with over 200 photographs and a quantity of ephemera (including ‘call sheets’). Original black cloth. Condition:  a little musty, some old dampstaining, very occasional damage to photographs; binding showing damp damage.

A unique album recording Biemans experiences during the filming: on-set, behind-the-scenes and off-duty. Biemans seems to have been hired as an off-screen military advisor, but ended up playing the role of a British soldier on-screen.

“Exodus is a 1960 American epic historical drama film on the founding of the State of Israel. It was made by Alpha and Carlyle Productions and distributed by United Artists. Produced and directed by Otto Preminger, the film was based on the 1958 novel Exodus by Leon Uris. The screenplay was written by Dalton Trumbo. …

Often characterized as a "Zionist epic", the film has been identified by many commentators as having been enormously influential in stimulating Zionism and support for Israel in the United States. While Preminger's film softened the anti-British and anti-Arab sentiment of the novel, the film remains contentious for its depiction of the Arab–Israeli conflict. Preminger openly hired screenwriter Trumbo, who had been on the Hollywood blacklist for over a decade for being a Communist and forced to work under assumed names. Together with Spartacus, also written by Trumbo, Exodus is credited with ending the practice of blacklisting in the US motion picture industry….

Exodus was filmed on location in Israel and Cyprus. Although filming key elements of Exodus on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus was authentic, as it was the location of the British internment camps for Jewish refugees trying to reach Palestine, it was difficult, as the island was in the middle of a Greek insurgency against British rule, led by the Greek nationalist organisation EOKA. EOKA was considered a terrorist organisation by the British authorities in Cyprus, who were opposed to the filming of a movie on the island that seemed to combine anti-British sentiments with a storyline that appeared to show terrorist action could be successful. As a result, the British authorities refused to help Preminger with the logistical side of filming. The only assistance given by the British authorities was the placement of an armed guard on the large number of decommissioned rifles used as props in the film, to prevent them from falling into the hands of EOKA and being recommissioned.

Relations between the director and actors were difficult, particularly with the male lead, Paul Newman. After Newman's suggested changes to the script were rejected by Preminger, and the actor given a dressing down for making the suggestions, Newman hid a mannequin on a high balcony on which he was due to play out a fight scene. At the end of the scene, Newman pretended to stumble, and threw the mannequin over the balcony. Not realising this was a practical joke, Preminger collapsed and required medical attention. At other times, Preminger and Newman were barely on speaking terms. ‘ (wikipedia).

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