Friday, November 02, 2007

It’s the 25th Hour, not 11th

This morning I saw a review on Channel News Asia by Melanie Oliveiro of the new movie, The Eleventh Hour. It reminded me of a wonderful movie with a similar name which I saw many years ago. That movie was The 25th Hour.

Once in a while you come across a movie that pricks your heart and causes you to think about it long after you walk out of the theatre, and which you can remember for years. The 25th Hour is one such movie. I think, my friend Kenneth who seems to like this genre of movie would have enjoyed it. But I doubt he has seen it because it is such an old movie. I saw it when it was first released in 1967 when I was still in secondary school. I liked it so much that some years later, in 1979, I borrowed a copy of the book from the National Library and read it. The movie starred the late Anthony Quinn and the author of the book was C. Virgil Gheorghiu,

The story is about the tragic events that happened to a simple Romanian peasant, Johann Moritz during World War II. Moritz’s misfortune began because he was blessed with a beautiful wife. A local captain who coveted his wife reported him to the authorities as a Jew. He was sent to a work camp but was subsequently "rescued" by a Nazi officer who thought that he was a perfect Aryan specimen. He was forced to serve as a model for the German propaganda. After the war, he was imprisoned and severely beaten by his Russian captors. As a final irony, he was charged with war crimes by the Allied forces for his role in assisting the Nazis, while all along he has been nothing but a victim.

If my memory serves me, I think the story ends when Moritz returns to his villge to find he has become the father of a boy who was the result of his wife being raped by a German soldier. Hope somebody will read the book and confirm if I remembered correctly.


++ Chew of this interesting line from the book: “God made so many things of no practical value, and yet they are the most beautiful of all”.

++ Melanie Oliveiro said this of the movie The 11th Hour; “You have a moral obligation to watch it”. Now that I qualify to watch movies at a discount (half price?) during week days, I think I will fulfill my moral obligation next week.

7 comments:

zen said...

The Chinese use to say a beautiful woman could lead a miserable life, a case of unwanted attention especially from immoral and despicable people. Another famous story is Helen of Troy, a face that launched a thousand ships, resulting in a ten-year war fought between Greece and Troy over a lovely woman. Moeirz was an unfortunate victim of circumstances with tragic consequences. Is it a fault to marry a beautiful wife? Many would beg to differ.

pinto said...

Hmmm... another movie to take note of! You are right, I've not seen it. I wonder where I can get my hands on it. Maybe I should read the book like you did!

Lam Chun See said...

Even Hollywood Clicks does not have this title. If you do get your hands on it, pls let me know, Certainly would like to watch it again.

fr said...

looks like an interesting story (the 25th hr), I'll look out for the book.

I see the 11th hr is an 'environmental film' not quite the same as the 25th hr

your phrase 'pricks your heart' reminds me of another moving story I read. It was called 'Cry, the Beloved Country.'- it was an O level literature book.

zen said...

Good books or movies can motivate me become a better person. At the same time I used to fantazise myself to be a judge, sentencing those evil characters to their 'rightful' places.

Cool Insider said...

Hmmmm... the 25th hour looks like a totally different kettle of fish from the 11th Hour. Of course, both stories seem to have a dire ending, but in different respects.

Yes, I am finally back from my blogging hiatus.

Lam Chun See said...

Thanks Fr for that recommendation. I think I will try to get my hands on 'Cry, the Beloved Country.'. I like books used for Sec school literature. I remember reading one of my kids' lit textbooks "Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry." Very nice one too.