We recently mourned the loss of Budd Schulberg (who won an Oscar for his On The Waterfront screenplay & also wrote A Face in the Crowd as well as the famous TV adaptation of his novel What Makes Sammy Run?), but it turns out Budd had an equally talented brother named Stuart Schulberg who played a major role in shaping the emerging field of television documentaries in the 50s & 60s.
Now his daughter Sandra has arrived in Chicago to show us where Stuart Schulberg got his start. In 1945, as a member of John Ford’s famous Field Photographic Branch of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), Schulberg was sent to Europe to hunt for Nazi films that could be used at the upcoming Nuremberg trial. Once the trial itself was over, Schulberg used that Nazi footage plus his own trial footage to create an astounding documentary film called Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today.
And then Schulberg himself got trapped in the web of history. Although the film was shown in Germany as part of “denazification,” it was never released in the United States. Decades passed & Stuart Schulberg (who had died in 1979 at the age of 56) took his Nuremberg secrets with him. Then in 2006, daughter Sandra Schulberg (now an accomplished Indie producer & Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University) began work on restoring her late father’s film.
I wish I could tell you to see it… but I can’t. While certainly a significant film for archival purposes (& a must-see for scholars in multiple fields of 20th Century history), Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today is frankly too much of its own time to have much relevance for those of us living in 2011. And all the painful images Stuart Schulberg worked so hard to acquire (& Sandra Schulberg worked so hard to reclaim), have become ubiquitous in innumerable film & television depictions of the Holocaust since.
I would be fascinated to see a “Making of” documentary that shows all the background Sandra Schulberg has compiled for her excellent companion website, but seeing Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today now in 2011 is just too much pain for too little purpose.
Click HERE for screening times at Chicago’s Music Box Theater on Southport. Sandra is in town this weekend & can be expected to appear in person at several screenings.
Two special local guests are expected to join her for Q&A sessions.
* At Friday’s 7 PM Screening (5/6/11), Sandra will be joined by David Scheffer of Northwestern University.
* At Sunday’s 7 PM Screening (5/8/11), Sandra will be joined Richard Levy of UIC (in colaboration with Spertus Institute).