E.L. Doctorow

"Daniel": A Reminder

By Ben Falk “Daniel“ is Sidney Lumet’s 1983 film about a couple who are, we are led to believe, unjustly accused, tried, sentenced, and executed for passing state secrets to the Soviet Union. Based on E.L. Doctorow’s novel, “The Book of Daniel”, it is essentially the story of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the real life couple who, according to many, were unjustly accused, tried, sentenced, and executed for passing state secrets to the Soviet Union. Now, I don’t know much about the Rosenberg Trial and I have no opinion on their guilt or innocence, except to say that whatever did happen – their arrest, trial, appeals, and execution – could have been done better. Lumet and Doctorow seem to agree. Neither Lumet nor Doctorow (who wrote the novel and screenplay), definitively answer whether Paul and Rochelle Isaacson, their stand-ins for Julius and Ethel, are guilty of spying for the Soviets