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.