It took decades and a $100 million deathbed gift to bring The Promise to theaters this weekend, but it’s finally happening.
The Promise tells the story of 1.5 million Armenian Christians slaughtered under the Ottoman Empire at the turn of the last century in modern day Turkey. It’s an epic tale starring Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac and Charlotte Le Bon. The story of bringing the movie to life nearly deserves its own feature film.
Originally intended to star Clark Gable, the project was shelved after Turkey threatened to close MGM markets in the Middle East. After one investor bought and sold MGM four times, he gave $100 million on his deathbed to ensure the story of the Armenian people would be told. To this day, it’s a story the Turkish government wants to smother.
“Here’s why I would love for this to have a huge opening weekend: Turkey is now threatening all of the theater chains saying ‘We will boycott you if you carry this movie.’ Even if you’re not going to go see a movie this weekend, go online right now and buy one ticket. Buy two tickets . . . even if you can’t go,” Glenn said Friday on radio.
The Promise opens in theaters today.
Listen to this segment beginning at mark 25:05 from The Glenn Beck Program:
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Glenn: So the guy who is not really a filmmaker, he’s more of a real estate developer back in I think the ’70s bought MGM. And made a lot of money off the sale of MGM. The studio system was tanking, and he bought MGM, and then he sold off a lot of the parts, and then he sold the whole thing. And all the parts started to grow, and then it caved again, and he was, like, I’ll buy it. So he bought it again. And then he sold off the parts, and then he took the name, and he said “We’re going to make the MGM Grand in Vegas, and we’ll try to, you know, restore the brand name for what it is, blah, blah, blah. He built it up, he sold it, and it collapsed again. He bought it I think three or four times. Okay? From, like, 1968 to his death in 2004, he had bought and sold MGM like four times. And he made a ton of money.
This movie was originally — it’s called the promise. This movie, not the way it is being shown now, the first time went into production, Clark Gabel was the star.
GLENN: Turkey, you think of Turkey as being a nobody nation back then; right? Why would we care?
PAT: They’re barely somebody now. They’re only somebody now because they’re in NATO. But then, nobody cared about Turkey.
GLENN: And really, you look at it now, and you think who cares about Turkey; right?
GLENN: So back then, they were in production with this movie with Clark Gabel. And Turkey said, “We will close the market for you, MGM, in Turkey, and we will close it all through the Middle East.”
GLENN: That’s what I thought. They —
GLENN: They canceled the movie.
PAT: That’s amazing.
GLENN: This movie has been off and on, off and on for decades, and nobody has ever made this movie. So the guy who bought and sold MGM time and time again, he knew that. And he was also a believer that the Armenian genocide needed to be called genocide. On his death bed, he put $100 million — he willed $100 million to this movie and said “The movie can be made now, and it could be made outside of the studio system, so don’t worry about it. Make it.”
The Clark Gabel character is Christian Bale, and it’s called the promise. It opens this weekend, and this is such an important — you notice I’m not saying it’s a film. It’s being compared to Doctor Zhivago, but I have to tell you I’ve watched Doctor Zhivago.
PAT: Oh, my gosh.
GLENN: I want to hang myself with Doctor Zhivago. That is a beautiful film. This is a great movie. Okay?
PAT: And it’s interesting because the critics don’t like it but the audience loves it. 47 percent from critics, 87 percent from the audience.
GLENN: I think it is great. I think it is great. And I was — when somebody does a movie, and they’re trying to make a point, they’re, like, stop with the point. Don’t jam it down my — they don’t. It’s just a good — it’s not a film. Not an important film to see. It’s a great movie. But it is the first time. And here’s the thing. Here’s why I would love for this to have a huge opening weekend is Turkey is now threatening all of the theater chains saying “We will boycott you if you carry this movie.
JEFFY: I don’t know about you, but so.
GLENN: Even if you’re not going to go see a movie this weekend, go online right now and buy one ticket. Buy two tickets. Just even if you can’t go. I urge you to go because it’s a good movie. I mean, Christian Bale is in it. It’s a good movie. And, ladies, I believe he has his shirt off. I don’t recall but that can’t hurt.
But it’s a good movie.
JEFFY: Why does it have to be just for ladies?
GLENN: I’m sorry for being so cis, gender-focused or whatever that is. Man, I feel bad about that.
GLENN: Ciscentric. Thank you. My gosh, how cis-centric about me. I feel bad about that. I really do. But see it. It’s called “The Promise”. A movie that has taken almost a century to make. Opens this weekend.