Iron Cross (film)

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Justice / Vengeance
Directed by Joshua Newton
Produced by
  • Joshua Newton
  • Kevin Farr
Written by Joshua Newton
Music by
  • Roger Bellon
  • Joshua Field
Cinematography Adrian Cranage, James Simon
Edited by Joshua Newton
Release dates The film has never been released commercially anywhere.
Running time 130 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $30 Million

"JUSTICE / VENGEANCE" is a British action thriller starring Roy Scheider in his final film role. The Calibra Pictures production, which was originally titled Iron Cross, was written and directed by British filmmaker Joshua Newton, who also produced it with Kevin Farr.

The movie has never been released commercially anywhere in the world, including in the U.S. or the U.K., and planning is underway now to release it for the first time in late 2014 or early 2015. At one point, there was talk of a December 2009 U.S. release to coincide with an Oscar campaign, but the film could not be finished in time to make that work. In 2011, Calibra explored the possibility of releasing the movie in the U.K. and Germany to make possible a European home entertainment deal. Calibra's distribution team tentatively put the film on advance theatrical release schedules at the time for March 2011, but those plans were abandoned in favor of waiting to release the movie worldwide simultaneously and the European home entertainment deal was not done.

When developing the screenplay, Joshua Newton has said he asked himself what his father, a Holocaust survivor, would have done had he discovered the man who murdered his family in Nazi Germany. The character of Joseph -- played in the film as an adult by Roy Scheider and as a teenager by Newton's son, Alexander Newton -- is loosely based on Joshua Newton's father, Bruno Newton. During filming, Bruno Newton died of Multiple Myeloma, the same cancer that took Scheider's life nine months later.

Because Scheider died before production was finished, a number of his scenes were completed utilizing CGI techniques to stand in for the actor. Some of Scheider's scenes that had not yet been filmed were rewritten so that he would no longer be needed to appear in them. A prosthetic Scheider head was created at considerable time and expense to the production in hopes that it could be used to create a face mask an actor could wear to double for Scheider. Ultimately, the head was rejected as not looking sufficiently convincing.

Although "JUSTICE / VENGEANCE" has never been released commercially, it did play on two special occasions -- as the Closing Night selection at the 26th Boston Film Festival in September 2010 and as the Opening Night selection in November 2010 at the Simon Wiesenthal Center's first Museum of Tolerance International Film Festival in Los Angeles. Both special showings were undertaken when the film was still known by its original title, "Iron Cross." These festival appearances were a valuable way for the filmmakers to see how the movie played to a "real" audience rather than to an audience specially recruited for research purposes. On both occasions, the film was well received and wads honored with awards.

The Boston Film Festival honored Joshua Newton with its Visionary Filmmaker Award and Alexander Newton was named Best Young Actor. Producer Kevin Farr accepted a career achievement tribute to Roy Scheider. Earlier that week, the Festival presented a special 35th anniversary screening of Steven Spielberg's "Jaws," which starred Scheider. [2]

The Museum of Tolerance International Film Festival (MOTIFF) gave the film its special Remembrance Award at a gala awards reception in Los Angeles at the Museum of Tolerance attended by then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean and Founder of the Museum and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, presented the award for helping to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive. Clint Eastwood received the Festival's only other award -- the Tolerance Award -- for his films over the years "encouraging tolerance, justice and human rights."

After seeing Joshua Newton's movie, Rabbi Hier called it "the most important film since 'Schindler's List.'"

In accepting the award, Newton observed, "We remember not only the millions who died as a result of intolerance, we also remember the great late actor Roy Scheider. And I remember my late father, Bruno Newton, a Holocaust survivor whose life inspired the (film's) story.

"We are gratified," Kevin Farr added, that the film "has been recognized with this Remembrance Award because (its) message is that we can never forget the Holocaust."


Joseph (Roy Scheider) a retired New York police officer and Holocaust survivor, travels to Nuremberg to visit his son Ronnie (Scott Cohen) years after turning his back on him for rejecting a promising career in the NYPD and marrying a local artist, Anna (Calita Rainford). No sooner does Joseph attempt to heal the rift with Ronnie then he swears that living in the apartment above, under the false name of Shrager, is the now aging SS Commander (Helmut Berger) who slaughtered his entire family during World War II. With little hope of seeing him stand trial, Joseph talks Ronnie into exacting justice - and vengeance - and together they set out to kill him.

Flashbacks reveal the teenage love of Young Joseph (Alexander Newton) for a heroic Polish girl, Kashka (Sarah Bolger) and his narrow escape from the massacre, leading to the film's climax.

Oscar campaign[edit]

In the summer of 2009, Tim Gray, editor of the Hollywood trade publication Variety, listed Newton's movie, among about 50 other films, as a potential Oscar nominee. In October 2009 the publication's sales staff sold Calibra on buying a $400,000 Oscar ad campaign. Such campaigns reportedly constituted about 80 percent of Variety's ad revenue at the time. The campaign was aborted after Variety ran a negative review of the film by a freelancer, Robert Koehler, while it was playing a one week unpublicized Oscar qualifying run in Los Angeles only. The movie was being shown in the daytime once a day in a small theatre that unfortunately suffered a breakdown in its sound system the day that Koehler happened to drop in. His review was subsequently removed from Variety's website.[3]

Calibra later sued Variety because the film wasn't finished at the time that Koehler chose to review it and it wasn't ready to be screened for the media. Calibra said it was only being shown in its unfinished condition because in order to qualify for Oscar consideration it had to play for one week in L.A. prior to Dec. 31 and the year 2009 was quickly coming to an end. On May 12, 2010, a California Superior Court judge granted Variety's anti-SLAPP motion and dismissed Calibra's case.[4]



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