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Marcel Ophuls’s ‘Memory of Justice,’ Not Simply a Memory

The have to put groceries on the table ultimately led to “The Sorrow and the Pity,” the extremely influential 1971 movie about cooperation in Vichy France. A couple of years later on Mr. Ophuls learned that 50 hours of raw video of the Nuremberg trials, shot by the United States Army Signal Corps, were saved at a Maryland base. He got and started seeing the reels, which had to be hand-rolled. Every now and then he broke the movie, irritating his Army minders.The documentary he made using that footage was comprehensive and open-ended, not just a history of the trials, though it incorporated that. Taking on the questions of national and private culpability and guilt, Mr. Ophuls spoke with American conscientious objectors and whistle-blowers(like Daniel Ellsberg), French veterans of Algeria and many Germans, from surviving Nuremberg offenders like Albert Speer to college trainees born after the war. He likewise put himself in the film. With his family, and once again with his film trainees at Princeton, he talked about the documentary’s styles and postured concerns to his other half, the daughter of a German veteran.Not all of the producers, a mix of British and German backers, were happy with the results. There were grievances about the movie’s length and some quick nudity, Mr. Ophuls said, and requests that more focus be placed on Russian actions throughout The second world war and American actions in Vietnam. With the editing almost total, an acrimonious conference at the Ritz bar in London resulted– depending on whose account you believe– in Mr. Ophuls either being fired (his variation)or strolling away.Barred from his own job, he pulled back to Princeton. But then the plot turned. Two women who had worked on the movie with him hid in the restroom of the London modifying suite and sneaked away with a black-and-white work print of his original edit.


Telford Taylor, the American district attorney at the Nuremburg trials, in “The Memory of Justice.” Credit via HBO It made its way to New york city, where advocates– consisting of Hamilton Fish, the future publisher and social activist, then a current Harvard graduate– screened it for other filmmakers and critics, consisting of Frank Rich and David Denby. Mr. Denby wrote The Movie Structure, the preservation organization whose creators consist of Mr. Scorsese. It led a 10-year restoration process that has actually brought “The Memory of Justice” back from the dead once again.

“Unfortunately enough, both of the epic 20th-century topics tackled definitively by Ophuls, Vichy and Nuremberg, stay as relevant, if not more significant, than ever,” stated Mr. Rich, a former New york city Times columnist who is now a creative expert at Continue checking out the primary story