Iron Cross / Justice/Vengeance (partially found English thriller film; 2009)

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Ironcross.png

Poster for the film.

Status: Partially Found

Iron Cross (later retitled Justice/Vengeance) was an English thriller film written and directed by Joshua Newton. It starred Roy Scheider as a retired police detective who believes he has found the Nazi officer responsible for his family's deaths in his son's apartment complex.

The film marked the final role of Scheider, who died during production. Newton completed the film through a prosthetic latex mask based on Scheider's face and CGI to have Scheider appear in the unfinished scenes.[1]

Iron Cross received a limited theatrical release between 2009 and 2011, but was never released to home media. While no official word has been made on its home media abscence, clues can be found in Calibra Pictures, the film's production company, taking unsuccessful legal action against a negative review and subsequently filing for bankruptcy.

Plot

Joseph, a retired New York City detective, travels to Nuremberg for a visit with his son Ronnie. The two have been estranged since Ronnie ended his career with the NYPD to become an actor, but Joseph is seeking reconciliation following the death of his wife. Ronnie is married to Anna, an artist, and lives in an apartment complex that is also home to two elderly tenants, Ernst Shrager and Frau Ganz.[2]

When Joseph arrives at the apartment, he becomes convinced that Shrager is Vogler, the SS officer who murdered his parents and siblings during World War II. Ronnie doubts these claims until he and his father find Nazi items in Shrager's apartment, along with a passport identifying him as Ernest Otto Volger. Following this revelation, Joseph develops a plan to take vengeance on Shrager.[2]

The film also depicts Joseph's time on the run from the Nazis in Poland. In the flashbacks, Joseph meets a Polish girl named Kashka who falls in love with him. Sarah Bolger, the character's actress, stated in an interview that Kashka "is interrogated, tortured, and killed to save the person she loves",[3] which is also confirmed by the soundtrack.[4]

Aided by a reluctant Ronnie, Joseph kidnaps Shrager and takes him to a remote area to enact his revenge. The soundtrack confirms Shrager's death[4] and the film concludes with a final twist.[2]

Cast

  • Roy Scheider as Joseph
    • Alexander Newton as Young Joseph
  • Scott Cohen as Ronnie
  • Helmut Berger as Shrager / Vogler
  • Calita Rainford as Anna
  • Sarah Bolger as Kashka
  • Anna Polony as Frau Ganz
  • Mateusz Janicki as Young Vogler
  • Mónica Cruz as Gaby
  • Enrique Arce as Guillermo

Soundtrack

The soundtrack was conducted by Roger Bellon, with co-composition credit given to Joshua James Filed, and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra.[4]

  • Iron Cross
  • Micha's Memory
  • Goodbye Joseph
  • In Or Out
  • Kashka's Death
  • Barnyard Lovers
  • Forest Killer
  • Path Alone
  • Shrager's Death

A single entitled "Lost in Forever", performed by Alexander Newton, was also recorded for the film.[5][6][7] Although scheduled for an iTunes release on April 18, 2012, the song and its music video have not been released.

Release

Iron Cross was shown at Academy Award screenings between December 12th, 2009, and December 20th, 2009, in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco to qualify for the Oscars.[8] It premiered to the public at the 26th Boston Film Festival in September 2010[9] and had a limited theatrical release on March 28, 2011.[10]

At some point by 2012, the film was re-titled Justice/Vengeance. A release that year was planned under the new name, but never occurred.[11] In 2013, the film was described as still "upcoming" in a preview for Joshua Newton's biopic on Nicole Brown Simpson, which is also unavailable to the public.[12]

Reception

Due to the film's limited release, only a few reviews were made. Those who reviewed the film praised Scheider's performance, but Newton's direction drew more scrutiny.

Whom You Know gave the film high praise for its characters and "complex personal historical nature", noting that Newton had based Scheider's character off his father's experiences in World War II, and called it "an intelligent film for intelligent people".[2]

Tim Grierson of LA Weekly said that Iron Cross "is overwhelmed by its own sense of dour significance" and while he enjoyed seeing Scheider have a leading role for the final time in his career, the film wasn't "the farewell he deserved".[13]

A positive review of Iron Cross was written by Pete Hammond of Boxoffice Magazine, which was featured on the film's poster. The review is included on the Rotten Tomatoes page, but has since been taken down and was not archived.[14]

Five user reviews of the film were submitted to the IMDb, one negative and three positive. The fifth and most recent review, submitted in 2016, did not directly review the film, but instead questioned why it had never been released to DVD.[15]

A negative review was written by Robert Koehler for Variety. Koehler found that "Scheider put body and soul into the project", but "Newton’s film is simply mediocre stuff, choppy and uncertain, with hints of ambitious ideas that fail to gather steam".[16]

Accolades

Despite the mixed reception, Iron Cross received the Remembrance Award at the Museum of Tolerance International Film Festival in 2010. Rabbi Marvin Hier called it "the most important film since Schindler's List".[17] At the Boston Film Festival, Joshua Newton received the Visionary Award and Alexander Newton won Best Young Actor.[4][11]

Lawsuit

The negative review from Variety prompted a lawsuit from Calibra Pictures, LLC, the film's production company. According to the lawsuit, Calibra and Variety had an exclusive media partnership where Calibra signed a $400,000 contract in exchange for Variety providing an Academy Award campaign for Iron Cross. The lawsuit alleged that after Calibra paid Variety $226,000, the negative review was "effectively destroying the promotion to distributors and any chance for award nominations for the 2009-2010 awards season".[18]

In the lawsuit, Calibra sought damages for breach of contract, fraud, deceit, and unfair business practices.[19] Variety countered with a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that it was a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP). The motion to dismiss was granted by the California Superior Court in 2010.[20] Calibra appealed the decision, but the California Courts of Appeal upheld the dismissal in 2011, finding that Calibra's allegations lacked legal merit and "Variety had a virtually unfettered right under the First Amendment to choose what to print regarding the film and it did not waive that right in the advertising contract between the parties". Variety was awarded $57,474 in attorneys’ fees and costs and was entitled to recover its attorneys’ fees and costs from Calibra.[21]

Availability

No home releases would be made of Iron Cross / Justice/Vengeance and the film has not been seen since its brief theatrical run. An official reason has not been given for this home media absence, but it is believed the lawsuit turned away distributors and Calibra filed for bankruptcy after losing the lawsuit in 2012.[22]

Footage of the film can be seen publicly in an unofficial trailer that a viewer uploaded to YouTube in 2010. The film's soundtrack was uploaded to composer Roger Bellon's SoundCloud and film footage also appears on his official website in a video depicting the music's recording.[4]

The film is mentioned on the Library of Congress website, but it is unknown if the library owns a copy.[23]

Gallery

Unofficial trailer.

External Links

References

  1. [1] Retrieved 09 Apr '21
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 [2] Retrieved 09 Apr '21
  3. [3] Retrieved 09 Apr '21
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 [4] Retrieved 13 Apr '21
  5. [5] Retrieved 13 Apr '21
  6. [6] Retrieved 13 Apr '21
  7. [7] Retrieved 13 Apr '21
  8. [8] Retrieved 09 Apr '21
  9. [9] Retrieved 13 Apr '21
  10. [10] Retrieved 13 Apr '21
  11. 11.0 11.1 [11] Retrieved 13 Apr '21
  12. [12] Retrieved 13 Apr '21
  13. [13] Retrieved 09 Apr '21
  14. [14] Retrieved 09 Apr '21
  15. [15] Retrieved 09 Apr '21
  16. [16] Retrieved 09 Apr '21
  17. [17] Retrieved 13 Apr '21
  18. [18] Retrieved 09 Apr '21
  19. [19] Retrieved 09 Apr '21
  20. [20] Retrieved 09 Apr '21
  21. [21] Retrieved 09 Apr '21
  22. [22] Retrieved 09 Apr '21
  23. [23] Retrieved 13 Apr '21