6 May 2010 | SpitfireIXB
True Story Deserved Better Treatment
The true story of the Late Doctor Gisella Perl is unforgettable and the stuff of which legends and heroines are made. She was truly a most remarkable human being.
However, in my opinion this made-for-television movie did not do justice to Dr. Perl's true life story. The scenes and sets were cheap and recognizable from other contemporary movies made by the same production company. The script (by Anne Meredith) was over-dramatized, stilted and incomplete, e.g. the horror of Dr Perl having to smother to death many live birth children in order to save the lives of their mothers is not mentioned and was one horror, along with the hundreds of abortions she performed to save lives, that haunted Dr. Perl until her death.
The acting and script were so stilted and so melodramatic that it deterred from the true story and made me question if the story could be true or should be taken seriously. Only because I read Dr. Perl's book and many articles about her life that I knew the story to be true. Some of the actors are guilty of terrible overacting, especially in many scenes revealing details of Dr. Perls's life that really call for, nay demand, understatement that would have been far more effective for the realization of the real Dr. Perl and her family. Beau Bridges was good as the lead immigration officer (his part scripted to make him appear as an interrogator for the Inquisition) and Christine Lahti gave a fair, albeit an over the top, melodramatic performance and was often guilty of just plain overacting. Richard Crenna and Bruce Davison are as wooden as manikins in a window display and their roles in this movie still escape me. All in all the script, sets and acting were inferior and deficient.
This story deserves a better treatment than it received in this television movie because Dr. Gisella Perl was a real heroine, not just a death camp survivor.
I give this movie 3/5 stars, mainly for Dr. Perl's true story, not the acting, script or cinematography.