Since his death in 1970, James B. Donovan, the real-life man who inspired Tom Hanks' character in this year's Bridge of Spies
, has been remembered as a highly influential player in some of the 20th century’s most intense historic events. No one feels as strongly about Donovan’s lifetime of achievement than his daughter, Mary Ellen Donovan, and in light of last month’s release of Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies
, the South Carolina native will introduce a special screening of the film and offer a Q&A session at the Terrace this Thurs. Nov. 5 from 7:15–9:45 p.m. General admission tickets are $10.50 and tickets benefitting the Holocaust Remembrance Foundation are available for $18.
James Donovan's daughter, Mary Ellen Donovan.
So why did Donovan have a movie made about him? Some of his accomplishments: he was a commander in the U.S. Navy, general counsel of strategic services during World War II, graduate of Harvard law school, associate prosecutor in the chief post-Holocaust Nuremberg trial, and defense counsel to Col. Rudolf Abel. Donovan is credited with helping release more than 9,700 Cuban and American refugees from Fidel Castro’s Cuba. He served as counsel in several other major trials and appeals in over 30 states. The man certainly got around.
Bridge of Spies
takes place during the Cold War in the last few years of Donovan’s life. The film follows the American capture of Soviet spy Rudolf Abel in New York City and the Soviet Union capture of U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers after his U-2 spy plane is shot down over Russia. Powers is sentenced to 12 years in a Soviet prison and finds that Donovan is his only hope. The movie is roughly based upon Donovan’s own book, Strangers on a Bridge.
The book will be on sale in the theater's lobby and Mary Ellen will be available to sign copies.
Terrace Theatre owner Paul Brown says, “This is a one-time event. It’s probably one of those unique events that people will be kicking themselves for if they don’t come see. You’re not going to be able to do this again.”