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Movies: “Cast a Giant Shadow”

Mar. 29, 1964 - Melville Shavelson, a leading writer-producer-director, plans to make a movie about Colonel David (Mickey) Marcus (pictured), the American West Point graduate who was killed in 1948 while assisting the Israelis in their fight against the Arabs. The picture, based on Ted Berkman’s book, “Cast a Giant Shadow,” will be done by Mr. Shavelson in co-production with John Wayne’s Batjac Company. Mr. Wayne will play one of the roles, but not that of Colonel Marcus, who will be portrayed by Kirk Douglas. Mr. Wayne’s son, Michael, will be co-producer with Mr. Shavelson.

Colonel Marcus had a colorful career. During prohibition, he clashed with mobsters as an attorney for the Treasury Department. As Commissioner of Correction in New York under Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, he fought gang influence in City Prison. During World War II, the officer was in the first wave of parachutists to land in Normandy and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. He headed the forces that liberated the concentration camps at Buchenwald and Dachau. He did much of the legal work in preparation for the Nuremberg war crimes trials. Then, under the alias of Mickey Stone, he became a general in the Israeli Army in 1948. He was killed accidentally by an Israeli sentry.

Mr. Shavelson said the movie would be limited to six months of the Israeli war. Flashbacks will develop other aspects of Col. Marcus’s life. Filming will start next year. An international cast will be used.

“This will not be an anti-Arab movie,” Mr. Shavelson said. “It is a pro-freedom picture. This movie will pick up where ‘Exodus’ ended.”

“Exodus” was the book by Leon Uris that was made into a picture by Otto Preminger, starring Paul Newman and Eva Marie Saint.


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