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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Whom You Know Recommends Iron Cross: Its Characters, Complex Personal Historical Nature and Fabulous Cinematography Will Capture You. Joshua Newton's First Feature Length Motion Picture is a Hit and His Father Would Be Proud

Iron Cross immediately draws in the viewer to its characters and its complex personal historical nature.  Contrasting the innocence of the young against vivid flashbacks from the past of the old, Iron Cross shows an 'Old World' Europe through the eyes of history, for better or for worse.  Without a doubt the sharp acting of Roy Scheider is the forte of the film, aside from the fabulous cinematography and strong imagery.  Joshua Newton is successful in his quest to realize his first feature length motion picture with a screenplay inspired by his relationship with his late father.   Not for the faint of heart, Iron Cross is what you should watch if you want a movie to move you.

Dedicated to Bruno Newton (Joshua's father) and Ray Scheider, Iron Cross is a deeply meaningful, quality film.  It is not typical of the heavily-promoted films of today that can be disappointments once you get to the box office.  Beginning in Nazi-occupied Poland, Iron Cross is a serious movie.  And we seriously reviewed it.  Whom You Know was so enraptured we watched it twice.  We love details at Whom You Know and Iron Cross bleeds details and the little things.  The sound throughout the movie is incredible and the cinematography is absolutely gripping.  We particularly liked the opening part with the train-it worked quite well.  Iron Cross is an intelligent film for intelligent people.  Characters are complex, and if you are not watching every beating moment you will miss something.  The plot is sharp, and we won't give it away.

Taking place mainly in Germany, Iron Cross is a film you will like if you are a fan of Europe, and there are some subtitles in it although it is predominantly in English by Americans.  World War Two heavily influences Iron Cross, as well as family issues that are inevitable in all real families.  Flashbacks to the past contrasted with modern life are balanced well.  The violence in the movie some may be critical of but we feel it is necessary to properly portray the depth of the story.  Iron Cross is filled with contrasting themes including  young and old- young Daniel doesn't even know what Nazi's are while his grandfather's life was changed by them.   Positive light happiness and dark times also are sharp contrasts that arise in Iron Cross, although this movie is far more dark than light, which makes the happy times that much more happier, such as when Scheider's character goes back to his young love, which battled the horrors of the time.  Making peace with multiple generations, Iron Cross will leave you feeling like you watched a movie of significance.

Totally gripping, Iron Cross will not disappoint its audience which surely will be vast and international.  Whom You Know recommends Iron Cross.

Roy Scheider & Helmut Berger in "IRON CROSS," written and directed by Joshua Newton and starring Roy Scheider, Alexander Newton, Scott Cohen & Helmut Berger. Photo Courtesy of Calibra Pictures.

Calibra Pictures Presents 
A Joshua Newton Film 


Roy Scheider
Scott Cohen
Alexander Newton
Calita Rainford
Helmut Berger
Sarah Bolger
Anna Polony 

Written and Directed by
Joshua Newton 

Produced by
Joshua Newton
Kevin Farr 

Executive Producers
Alex Finney
Andrew Martin 

Music by
Joshua James Field
Roger Bellon 

This film is not yet rated.     Running Time: 105 minutes 


Sometimes it takes a lifetime to settle a score. 

“Iron Cross” is a revenge drama about one man’s quest for justice while battling the lingering emotional trauma exacted by surviving the Holocaust.

The late Roy Scheider stars as Joseph, a retired New York police officer and Holocaust survivor, who travels to Nuremberg following the death of his wife to reconcile with his son Ronnie (Scott Cohen). The reunion is quickly overshadowed by Joseph’s horrifying belief that living in the apartment above, under a false name, is the now aging SS Commander (Helmut Berger) who murdered Joseph’s entire family during World War II.  With little chance of seeing the elderly neighbor stand trial, Joseph draws his reluctant son into a plan to exact justice and vengeance. 

Written, produced and directed by Joshua Newton, “Iron Cross” stars Roy Scheider (in his final starring role), Scott Cohen, Alexander Newton, Calita Rainford, Helmut Berger, Sarah Bolger and Anna Polony. 

Newton has dedicated “Iron Cross” to Scheider, who died at the end of filming and his father, who passed away during filming.  In one of many bizarre coincidences that took place during the filming, both men died of the same disease – multiple myeloma, an incurable form of blood cancer.
"The relationship between Roy’s character and his screen son mirrors the relationship that I had with my own father,” said Newton who conceived the premise for the movie after his father revealed to him long-suppressed memories of his life in Nazi Germany during World War II.  “My father’s recollections of his life before he fled from Germany were capped with the statement ‘We must remind the public about the Holocaust so it will never happen again.’”

Newton points out that “Iron Cross” is not a Holocaust film but rather “a story of vengeance founded in the Holocaust.”  He adds “The movie conveys a story of how anger clouds the heart and threatens the choices we make – and in the case of ‘Iron Cross’ – with devastating consequences.”

“I came up with the concept for the movie after posing a hypothetical question, what would my dad do if he came across someone responsible for the murder of his family?  Would he seek justice or exact vengeance?  Would he turn him over to the authorities, only to watch powerlessly a mass murderer evade trial on account of old age?  Or would he take the law into his own hands?”

Newton filmed “Iron Cross” in Germany (Nuremberg and Bavaria), Poland (Krakow and Trojca), and New York.  The movie weaves from the turn of the century back to World War II as Joseph recalls the horrific experiences of his youth. 

“The scenes with Roy were filmed in 2007 and the World War II era footage was shot in 2008 with editing completed in late 2009,” said Newton. 

When it was time to cast the leading role of Joseph, Joshua could think of a handful of actors right for the role.  “Roy Scheider was at the top of the list,” he explained.  “‘Jaws’ made a huge impression on me when I saw it in 1975.”

Newton recalled a memorable incident during the film’s production in Poland.  “A few weeks into the filming, I was having breakfast with Roy when he suddenly said ‘Josh, you have to go back to London and visit your Dad.  You need to leave today.’  So I wrapped early that day and my son and I boarded a plane and flew to London.  The next day we saw my dad.  He did not respond to us at all.  We spent a few hours with him and then flew back to Krakow.  On the following day, he died.  I’ll always be grateful to Roy for guiding me to make that farewell visit to my father.”

Joshua was saddened by his father’s death but also felt empowered due to the fact that the film was inspired by him.

Newton also notes that Roy was the deciding factor in the casting of his son in the role of young Joseph after he had interviewed dozens of young actors.  “Before deciding on casting Alexander in the role, I arranged for Roy and Alexander to meet.  After the meeting, Roy came to me and said “Book him!  He’s perfect for the role.”

The filming of “Iron Cross” in Germany made headlines around the world unexpectedly when Newton was arrested.  Headlines such as “German police arrest Jewish filmmaker over S.S. shoot” were published throughout Europe and America bringing international news coverage to the project.  The arrest occurred when Newton went to direct a key flashback scene featuring one of the SS officers portrayed in the film.  The police shut the filming down and arrested Joshua and informed him that a special permit was required to allow anyone to wear an SS uniform in public in Nuremberg. Newton discovered that the producers had not gained the necessary permits.  Luckily, the arrest of the writer/director, camera man and one of the producers lasted only 90 minutes before the matter was cleared up.  Joshua observed at the time that the police had been extremely cooperative the previous week and even supplied the production with a police car and two officers to play in one of the scenes with Scheider.  News reports also made much of Newton’s Jewish heritage and the fact that his father, the late Bruno Newton, came to Great Britain on the Kindertransport. 

“Iron Cross” is a revenge drama about one man’s quest for justice while battling the lingering emotional trauma exacted by surviving the Holocaust.

Joseph (Roy Scheider in his last screen performance) is a retired NYPD cop who, after the death of his wife, travels to Nuremberg, Germany to try to reconcile with his estranged son, Ronnie (Scott Cohen).  On the train to Nuremberg, the return brings back a flood of horrific memories for Joseph, who as a young boy (Alexander Newton) witnessed the murder of his parents as well as his younger sister and brother by sadistic S.S. officers during World War II.

Joseph and Ronnie became estranged after Ronnie turned his back on a promising career with the NYPD and became an actor. Now, several years later, Ronnie is a well-known actor based in Germany married to Anna (Calita Rainford), an artist. They have a six-year-old son Daniel and the six-month-old Max.

The father/son reunion envisioned by Joseph is a major disappointment when Ronnie is less than welcoming to his father’s unannounced surprise visit after years of mutual animosity. Shortly after they meet, Joseph sees one of Ronnie’s neighbors, an elderly German man, Ernst Shrager (Helmut Berger). Shrager has lived quietly alone in Nuremberg for many years and is a friend of the elderly Frau Ganz (Anna Polony), another neighbor and close friend of Ronnie and Anna.

In a flood of visceral and bloody flashbacks, Joseph is horrified to recognize  Shrager as the sadistic S.S. officer who brutally murdered his parents, brother and sister in a Polish forest when he was a youth.

Joseph immediately realizes that it would be nearly impossible to try Shrager under German law after so many years without actual proof. His testimony alone would not be conclusive without irrefutable evidence. He tells his son that he is convinced of the man’s identity but Ronnie and his wife remain uncertain. They think that Joseph is embittered and that his bold accusation is the result of cloudy judgment exacerbated by his wife’s recent death. They wonder if his memories are real or hallucinations brought about by a lifetime of anger, sadness and guilt.

Joseph immediately becomes hell-bent on exacting revenge. Ronnie reluctantly agrees to help his father search Shrager’s apartment. During the search, they discover in a hidden box an Iron Cross, a Luger gun and a Nazi passport with the name Ernest Otto Volger. Volger was the surname of the S.S. officer who killed Joseph’s family. Joseph steals the gun. Unexpectedly, Shrager returns to his apartment while father and son are still searching it and they hide. They subsequently escape unnoticed but are now convinced that they have indeed uncovered the true identity of the former S.S. officer.

Back at their home, Ronnie tells Anna, who remains unconvinced and cautions her husband about becoming caught up in his father’s vendetta. The following day, she mentions to Frau Ganz the name “Volger” and the neighbor says she has never heard that name and slams the door shut.

With little chance of seeing the elderly neighbor stand trial, Joseph draws his reluctant son into a plan to exact justice and vengeance. They show up at Shrager’s apartment and force their way in, tie Shrager up and tape over his mouth to keep him quiet. Father and son manage to sneak their quarry into a truck and begin to drive him outside Nuremberg to a remote area where no one will witness what happens next.

The denouement of the film includes a shocking final twist. 

Universally acclaimed as one of the greatest actors of his generation, ROY SCHEIDER (Joseph) has starred in some of the most important films in cinematic history garnering two Academy Award® nominations for Best Supporting Actor for “The French Connection” in 1971 and for Best Actor in “All That Jazz” in 1979. His portrayal of the embittered NYPD cop and Holocaust survivor in “Iron Cross” is the last screen performance by the veteran movie star marking the culmination of a brilliant 46-year-film career.

The star of 65 films, Scheider was born in Orange, New Jersey and first made critics and audiences take note of his blazing acting talent in 1968 after appearing in The New York Shakespeare Festival in “Stephen D.” The young actor won an “Obie Award” and the word was out that an extraordinary talent had arrived on the theatre scene.

His remarkable film career began inauspiciously with an appearance in the 1963 film “The Curse of the Living Corpse.” Subsequent work in “Star” (1968), “Paper Lion” (1968), “Stiletto” (1969) and “Puzzle of a Downfall Child” (1970) quietly established him as an actor of tremendous range, intensity and versatility – in short an actor of consequence.

1971 was the year in which Scheider catapulted to international stardom with critically acclaimed work in two of the year’s most important films, “Klute” and “The French Connection,” winner of that year’s Academy Award® for Best Picture. In “The French Connection,” Scheider turned in a bravura performance as NYPD Detective Buddy Russo and garnered his first Oscar nomination. He returned to the role of a police officer for “The Seven Ups” in 1973.

The actor’s rare ability to bring nuance and dimension to tough cop roles became one of the actor’s hallmarks. In 1975, young director Stephen Spielberg cast Scheider to play a police chief in “Jaws,” which remains one of the biggest blockbusters in the history of Hollywood. The international success of the mega-hit turned Scheider into a household name throughout the world.

Scheider had back to back hits once again when he followed up his work in “Jaws” with a scene stealing performance as the CIA agent brother of Dustin Hoffman in 1976’s “Marathon Man.”  Appearances in William Friedkin’s “Sorcerer” (1977) and “Jaws 2” were followed by his brilliant portrayal of the frenetic, philandering legendary choreographer in Bob Fosse’s autobiographical “All That Jazz.” Scheider received a second Oscar nomination, this time for Best Actor. “The New York Times” wrote that “The key to the success of ‘All That Jazz’ is the performance of Roy Scheider. With an actor of less weight and intensity, the film might have evaporated as we watched it. Mr. Scheider’s is a presence to reckon with.” 

Scheider returned to the stage in 1980 for Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal” winning the Drama League of New York award for distinguished performance.

He scored another hit in “Blue Thunder” in 1983 followed by starring roles in “2010” (1984), “52 Pick-Up” (1986), ”Cohen and Tate” (1988) and “The Russia House” (1990).  In 1991, critics universally praised his portrayal of the sinister Dr. Benway in director David Cronenberg’s film “Naked Lunch” based on the book by William S. Burroughs.

In 1993, Scheider starred in the popular television series “SeaQuest DSV” which ran for three seasons.

The actor remained in constant demand as a film actor for the rest of his life appearing in several more feature films including “The Peacekeeper” (1997), “Executive Target” (1997), “Chain of Command” (2000), “Red Serpent” (2002), “Citizen Verdict” (2003), “The Punisher” (2004), “Dracula II: Ascension” (2003) & “Dracula III: Legacy “ (2005), “Last Chance” (2006), “The Poet” (2007), “If I Didn’t Care” (2007) and “Dark Honeymoon” (2008).

Scheider died towards the very end of filming for “Iron Cross.”
Following his death, “The New York Times” called Roy Scheider “one of the leading figures in the American film renaissance of the 1970s.” 

Born in The Bronx, New York, SCOTT COHEN has appeared in over 30 films. The son of Jazz musician Jack Cohen, Scott is an accomplished pianist and considered a career as a musician until he became passionate about acting while attending the State University of New York at New Paltz. After college, while getting his acting career off the ground, he worked as a toy demonstrator, messenger, waiter and substitute teacher.

Cohen’s breakthrough as an actor came with his first film in 1990 when director Adrian Lyne selected him to play a pivotal role in “Jacob’s Ladder” with Tim Robbins and Danny Aiello. Cohen’s prolific film career includes roles in “Mambo Kings” (1992),”Roommates” (1995), ”Final Vendetta” (1996), “Private Parts” (1997), “A Brother’s Kiss” (1997),  “Better Living” (1998), “Cross-Eyed” (1999), “King of the Jungle” (2000), “Kissing Jessica Stein” (2001), “Psychoanalysis Changed My Life” (2003), “Knots” (2004), “The Circle” (2005), “Confess” (2005), “Brother’s Shadow” (2006), “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits” (2009) and “Moonlight Serenade” (2009).

The actor’s vast amount of television work includes major roles in “NYPD Blue” (1994-2001), “Gilmore Girls” (2000-2003), “Street Time” (2002-2003), “Law & Order: Trial By Jury” (2005-2006), “The Return of Jezebel James” (2008) and countless other shows.  

18-year-old ALEXANDER NEWTON (Young Joseph) makes his motion picture acting debut in “Iron Cross.”  The son of Joshua Newton, the London native previously appeared in some of his father’s short films.    

CALITA RAINFORD is making her third film appearance in “Iron Cross” following her impressive work in two television projects. She made her acting debut in the television series “Au Revoir” in 2004 and followed it up with an appearance on the television series “Dream Team” in 2006. The following year, she landed a major role in the film “Return to House on Haunted Hill.” She recently played a co-starring role in the film “Beacon 77” (2009).  

Internationally renowned as one of Europe’s biggest stars of all time, HELMUT BERGER has starred in some of the seminal films in cinema history and worked with distinguished directors including Luchino Visconti, Vittorio De Sica and Francis Ford Coppola.

Born as Helmut Steinberger in 1944 in Salzburg, Austria, his father was a prisoner in the Russian army who returned three years after his son was born. Helmut was raised as an only child and once his father became a successful hotelier it was assumed that his son would eventually take over the business. But from a very young age, Helmut knew that he wanted to become an actor.
At age 18, Berger went to acting school and with an eye towards becoming an international star, he studied Italian at Perugia University and also quickly mastered English and French.

A small part in Roger Vadim’s 1964  “La Ronde” (a remake of the Max Ophuls classic) marked the beginning of Berger’s career.  Three years later, the 20-year-old actor met the legendary director Luchino Visconti, the man who played the lead role in his professional and personal life for many years. The director saw immense potential in the young actor and cast him in a supporting role in his 1967 film “The Witches.” Berger lived up to his potential and became in demand by other directors. Critics and audiences alike gravitated to the young actor who became known for his unusual screen persona which displayed an air of sophistication combined with a smoldering sensuality. Berger quickly became one of Europe’s most popular leading men.

Visconti subsequently cast the actor in leading parts in some of his most important films including “The Damned” (1969) for which Berger was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. In 1970, Vittorio De Sica cast him in the classic “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis.” The film was universally acclaimed. The actor tackled one of his most challenging roles in 1972 playing Bavaria’s mad King Ludwig in Visconti’s “Ludwig,” one of the most opulent films ever made. The same year, Berger and Visconti then worked together a fourth and final time in the 1974 film “Conversation Piece.” In 1976, Visconti died.

Berger has starred in over 50 films including: “The Young Tigers” (1968), “Dorian Gray” (1970), “The Blood Stained Butterfly” (1971), “Love Me Strangely” (1971), “Dance of Love” (1973), “Ash Wednesday” opposite Elizabeth Taylor (1973),  “Order to Assassinate” (1975), “The Romantic Englishwoman” (1975), “Ferocious” (1977), “The Greatest Battle” (1978), “Deadly Game” (1982), “Faceless” (1987), “The Betrothed” (1989), “Boomtown” (1993), “Last Cut” (1997), “Honey Baby” (2004) and “Initiation” (2009).

Berger has also made hundreds of television appearances including ten episodes of “Dynasty” in 1984.

In 2007, Berger received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to cinema at the Berlin International Film Festival. 

Young actress SARAH BOLGER is one of the film industry’s fast rising young stars who has in a short period of time established herself as a major talent both in films and television.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, the daughter of a butcher, Sarah made her first screen appearance in “A Love Divided” in 1999. She has worked steadily ever since in both film and television.  After “A Love Divided,” Sarah worked in two television projects; “Barbara Taylor Bradford’s ‘A Secret Affair’” (1999) and “The World of Tosh” (2002).

In 2002, director Jim Sheridan cast Sarah to play opposite her real-life sister, Emma, in his acclaimed film “In America” with Samantha Morton. Sarah has since appeared in “Premonition” (2005), “Tara Road” (2005), the mini-series “Stardust” (2006), “Stormbreaker” (2006), and as the voice of Mallory in “The Spiderwick Chronicles” (2008).

Sarah is currently making a splash playing young Mary Stuart on the popular Showtime series “The Tudors” opposite Jonathan Rhys Meyers. 

ANNA POLONY was born in Krakow where some of the filming for “Iron Cross” took place. In 1965, she made her film debut in “Contribution.” It would be fifteen years before she returned to acting in 1980 to work on a Polish television dramatic series. She subsequently appeared in the 1984 film “Diary of My Children,”  “Diary for My Loved Ones” (1987) and “Diary for My Parents” (1990).

In 1990, she appeared in director’s Krzysztof Kieslowski’s internationally-acclaimed television series “The Decalogue.” The actress then returned to film acting appearing in “Two Moons” (1993) and “The Seventh Room” (1995). She also appeared in several episodes of “Madga M” (2005-2006) and in the film “Rewers” (2009).  

British-born writer/producer/director JOSHUA NEWTON was raised in London, the son of a prominent real-estate developer who, among other key holdings, owned a prestigious hotel in London’s Mayfair district.  Celebrities and filmmakers were among the clientele. When one of the guests left his movie camera as payment after being unable to pay his hotel bill, nine-year-old Joshua found the camera in the back of his father’s closet and a lifelong dedication to filmmaking was born.

The following year, 10-year-old Joshua went to boarding school and started a film society there. At that young age, Joshua traded in his Super 8 camera for a 16-Millimeter camera and made student films which he screened and then donated the proceeds to charity. At age 12, he was honored with a prestigious student writing award presented by Margaret Thatcher.
After attending the University of London and Chart University, Newton worked for Albert Fennell, successful producer of such international hits as “The New Avengers” and “The Professionals.” Fennell became a mentor to Newton. During the five years Newton worked for Fennell, he learned about all aspects of the movie business.

By age 27, Newton became an independent writer/producer/editor/director making a series of successful corporate films with such major clients as Marks & Spencer.

In 1995, Newton wrote and directed a 10-minute supernatural thriller called “The Turning” which established him worldwide as an important young filmmaker on the rise. “The Turning” was an award winner at the Chicago International Film Festival.

Newton then became a highly successful entrepreneur.  After purchasing the very first Avid that came into the U.K., he established his own post-production company that was utilized by some of the top directors in the world and also trained some of the most respected editors in the film business.

In 1998, Newton wrote the acclaimed short film, “Next Birthday” starring Amanda Redmond and Trevor Eve. The film revolved about several birthdays in the life of a child who suffers from cystic fibrosis. Newton donated the proceeds from the film to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Newton is currently at work developing several film projects as writer/director including the drama “The Will To Resist” with partner Kevin Farr.  He lives in Beverly Hills.   

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