The film was inspired by Telford Taylor's book Nuremberg and Vietnam: An American Tragedy, and Taylor is interviewed extensively during the film. But Ophüls takes the book as a starting point for exploring the possibility of people judging one another, especially in light of their behavior in other contexts, as well as dealing with individual versus collective responsibility.
The film had a difficult genesis. It was originally financed in the summer of 1973 by BBC, Polytel, and a private company based in London, Visual Programme Systems (VPS), the latter of whom had wanted the film to dwell heavily on America's involvement in Vietnam and France's involvement in Algeria. After completing rough cuts, VPS was dismayed at Ophüls work (particularly his excessive leaning on the Nuremberg Trials and Nazi involvement) and tried to remove him as director. Fortunately, Hamilton Fish V organized a group of investors who were able to buy back the rights to the film from VPS and allow Ophüls to complete it.
The Shoah Film That Changed Everything: The groundbreaking 'The Sorrow and the Pity,' which reinvented the documentary genre is back in New York after a 20-year absence.
May 12, 2000; Robinson, George The Jewish Week 05-12-2000 The Shoah Film That Changed Everything: The groundbreaking `The Sorrow andthe Pity,'...