15 user 2 critic

Out of the Ashes (2003)

R | | Drama | TV Movie 13 April 2003
0:57 | Trailer

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Based on a true story, this heart-wrenching film follows the journey of Gisella Perl (Christine Lahti), a Jewish-Hungarian doctor who manages to survive Auschwitz. Decades later, she's ... See full summary »


Joseph Sargent


Gisella Perl (book) (as Dr. Gisella Perl), Anne Meredith (teleplay)
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Christine Lahti ... Gisella Perl
Bruce Davison ... Peter Schuman
Jonathan Cake ... Dr. Mengele
Jolyon Baker Jolyon Baker ... Frederick Krauss
Jessica Beitchman ... Marta Weiss
Oliver Cotton ... Moshe Perl
Michelle Fine Michelle Fine ... Fanny Perl
Zoie Palmer ... Didi Goldstein
Maria Ricossa ... Esther Jacob
Ingrid Veninger ... Zozia
Emma Wellbelove Emma Wellbelove ... Young Gisella
Nina Young ... Irma Griese
Richard Crenna ... Jake Smith
Beau Bridges ... Herman Prentiss
Vytautas Rumsas Vytautas Rumsas ... David Perl


Based on a true story, this heart-wrenching film follows the journey of Gisella Perl (Christine Lahti), a Jewish-Hungarian doctor who manages to survive Auschwitz. Decades later, she's applying for U.S. citizenship when she becomes accused of colluding with the Nazis. Her judge and jury are three INS investigators (played by Bruce Davison, Richard Crenna and Beau Bridges) who must decide her fate Written by Rottem Tomatoes

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence/cruelty and some nudity | See all certifications »






Release Date:

13 April 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gisella Perl See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Richard Crenna's final acting project. See more »


When Gisella is in front of the board in 1.034 and removes her gloves the ID number on her arm is missing. See more »


Gisella Perl: I can recall wanting to be a doctor when I was a little girl. And I became a doctor... a very good doctor, if I can say that. I knew each child I helped bring into the world was a gift, not from me, but from God. But everything changed when I was deported to Auschwitz and began working there as a doctor. You know about some of the things I did there, for the pregnant women. But yes, I did sent unknowingly many women to their deaths within the day of my arrival. And yes, some of the things I did...
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User Reviews

True Story Deserved Better Treatment
6 May 2010 | by SpitfireIXBSee all my reviews

The true story of the Late Doctor Gisella Perl is unforgettable and the stuff of which legends and heroines are made. She was truly a most remarkable human being.

However, in my opinion this made-for-television movie did not do justice to Dr. Perl's true life story. The scenes and sets were cheap and recognizable from other contemporary movies made by the same production company. The script (by Anne Meredith) was over-dramatized, stilted and incomplete, e.g. the horror of Dr Perl having to smother to death many live birth children in order to save the lives of their mothers is not mentioned and was one horror, along with the hundreds of abortions she performed to save lives, that haunted Dr. Perl until her death.

The acting and script were so stilted and so melodramatic that it deterred from the true story and made me question if the story could be true or should be taken seriously. Only because I read Dr. Perl's book and many articles about her life that I knew the story to be true. Some of the actors are guilty of terrible overacting, especially in many scenes revealing details of Dr. Perls's life that really call for, nay demand, understatement that would have been far more effective for the realization of the real Dr. Perl and her family. Beau Bridges was good as the lead immigration officer (his part scripted to make him appear as an interrogator for the Inquisition) and Christine Lahti gave a fair, albeit an over the top, melodramatic performance and was often guilty of just plain overacting. Richard Crenna and Bruce Davison are as wooden as manikins in a window display and their roles in this movie still escape me. All in all the script, sets and acting were inferior and deficient.

This story deserves a better treatment than it received in this television movie because Dr. Gisella Perl was a real heroine, not just a death camp survivor.

I give this movie 3/5 stars, mainly for Dr. Perl's true story, not the acting, script or cinematography.

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