6.9/10
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Out of the Ashes (2003)

R | | Drama | TV Movie 13 April 2003
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0:56 | Trailer

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Based on a true story, this heart-wrenching film follows the journey of Gisella Perl (Christine Lahti), a Jewish-Hungarian doctor who manages to survive Auschwitz. Decades later, she's ... See full summary »

Director:

Joseph Sargent

Writers:

Gisella Perl (book) (as Dr. Gisella Perl), Anne Meredith (teleplay)
Reviews
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christine Lahti ... Gisella Perl
Bruce Davison ... Peter Schuman
Jonathan Cake ... Dr. Mengele
Jolyon Baker Jolyon Baker ... Frederick Krauss
Jessica Beitchman ... Marta Weiss
Oliver Cotton ... Moshe Perl
Michelle Fine Michelle Fine ... Fanny Perl
Zoie Palmer ... Didi Goldstein
Maria Ricossa ... Esther Jacob
Ingrid Veninger ... Zozia
Emma Wellbelove Emma Wellbelove ... Young Gisella
Nina Young ... Irma Griese
Richard Crenna ... Jake Smith
Beau Bridges ... Herman Prentiss
Vytautas Rumsas Vytautas Rumsas ... David Perl
Edit

Storyline

Based on a true story, this heart-wrenching film follows the journey of Gisella Perl (Christine Lahti), a Jewish-Hungarian doctor who manages to survive Auschwitz. Decades later, she's applying for U.S. citizenship when she becomes accused of colluding with the Nazis. Her judge and jury are three INS investigators (played by Bruce Davison, Richard Crenna and Beau Bridges) who must decide her fate Written by Rottem Tomatoes

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence/cruelty and some nudity | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 April 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gisella Perl See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Crenna's final acting project. See more »

Goofs

Neither Cluj nor Sighet belonged to Hungary in the period the movie refers to - except for the military occupation of Horthy's Hungary (1940-1944). Even during that brief occupation, most inhabitants of other than Hungarian ethnicity would not have identified themselves as "Hungarian". This is probably not such an innocent mistake, since that is still a sensitive issue, Hungarians still claiming that part of Romania for themselves... See more »

Quotes

Gisella Perl: I can recall wanting to be a doctor when I was a little girl. And I became a doctor... a very good doctor, if I can say that. I knew each child I helped bring into the world was a gift, not from me, but from God. But everything changed when I was deported to Auschwitz and began working there as a doctor. You know about some of the things I did there, for the pregnant women. But yes, I did sent unknowingly many women to their deaths within the day of my arrival. And yes, some of the things I did...
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Gripping drama, stretching the limits of TV
13 July 2004 | by OldRoseSee all my reviews

"Out of the Ashes" is very nearly the best story brought to the screen, among the many I've seen. At issue here (which many may not realise) is the life-story of one Doctor Gisella Perl--a Hungarian Jew who, along with her entire family, was captured from the family's home-town of Sighet and sent by boxcar to Auschwitz--while the holocaust itself provides the backdrop for the story. Like "Sophie's Choice", this film involved the difficult 'choiceless choices' that were made by some of the survivors of the Second World War's most infamous extermination camp.

In order to truly appreciate the story and the portrayal, one must know something of Hungarians and of Hungary, as well as their role in World War II. Actress Christine Lahti turned in such a marvelous and unforgettable performance, I actually thought I was seeing a Hungarian actress playing the role (to begin with), and then a really fine performance it was, to boot! I found myself on the edge of my seat with a film that, being a product of cable television, didn't garner such advance expectations. And but for one very glaring and avoidable error, which happens early in the film (only one scene), the final product was really quite well done. Bravo to Showtime!

Lahti's performance was award-winning, to say the very least, whether or not she was ever properly recognised. Add: a wonderful supporting cast, recruited in the US, Canada, and Eastern Europe. The scenery is lovely (filmed mainly in Lithuania; the film-makers were able to find a beautiful town not destroyed during the war). For those who have not seen this film, please do! It's a remarkable autobiography (i.e. the book on which its based) and life story. I think the actual Dr. Perl would have been proud of, and pleased with Lahti's performance and portrayal of her. Rent the DVD rather than wait for Showtime to rerun it (even though I'm sure it will be run again and again). Rating: 4,5 stars on 5.


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