The Subject

The project unveils-the truth of a film denied and traces the trials and tribulations of Franz Werfel's The Forty Days of Musa Dagh in Hollywood, which the historic masterpiece stirred since its publication in the United States in 1934. The sight of maimed and famished Armenian refugee children working in a Damascus carpet factory in 1929 gave Werfel the impetus to write his masterwork novel, The Forty Days of Musa Dagh. During his research of British, French, German and Austrian documents about the Armenian massacres, Werfel came across an incident describing the Armenian defense at Musa Dagh in 1915. Rather than accede to the Ottoman Turkish government's demand to "relocate" to the Syrian desert, 5,000 Armenians chose to defend themselves atop Musa Dagh. Seizing upon this event, Werfel wrote a powerful historical novel which became an instant best seller in Europe and the United States in 1934-1935.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), the most powerful movie studio in the world, purchased the rights with the intent to make it into a major motion picture. The film project was subjected to protests by the Turkish government. Pressure was applied by Turkey on the U.S. State Department to influence the Hays Office (Hollywood's censor bureau) to exhort MGM to cancel the film production. Until today it has become the most on-again and off-again motion picture production in Hollywood history.