Jews in the News: Jennifer Connelly, Mimi Rodgers and Jason Isaacs

Top Gun Returns, So Does "Bosch", Netflix's Mincemeat


“Top Gun: Maverick” opens in theaters on May 27. It is a sequel to “Top Gun” (1986), a huge box-office hit that starred Tom Cruise as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a student at the Navy’s fighter pilot school. The sequel finds Maverick (Cruise) leading a group of recent pilot school graduates on a secret, very dangerous mission.


JENNIFER CONNELLY, 51, plays Penny, Maverick’s love interest. Penny’s a single mother, bar owner, and the daughter of a former admiral. Connelly, who won a best supporting actress Oscar for “A Beautiful Mind” (2001), is the daughter of a Jewish mother and a not Jewish father. She’s always been secular.


Tom Cruise is 59 but looks about 50. Still, I am sure that everyone connected with the film realized that even a 50-year-old fighter pilot is improbable. Also, the Maverick character was originally written as a full-of-himself, “cheeky bad boy” who wooed the strait laced (female) flight instructor at the flight school. Can Cruise be that guy again?


Connelly was a good casting choice. She’s still a strikingly attractive woman at 51. Penny and Maverick’s relationship is age-appropriate, but still potentially “hot”. You have to figure that Penny, the daughter of an admiral, and a bar owner, is prepared to banter with the “still-cheeky” Maverick as they “do the dance” of a movie romance. Just being in such a romance makes Cruise seem younger and “cheekier”.


“Bosch” a series about Harry Bosch, an LAPD detective, streamed on Amazon Prime from 2014-2021. A spin-off, entitled “Bosch: Legacy”, began streaming on May 6 on the newish IMDB streaming service (free, with ads). In “Legacy”, Bosch is retired from the LAPD and is working as investigator for Honey Chandler, a defense attorney.


MIMI ROGERS, 66, co-stars as Chandler. Born Miriam Spickler, Rogers is the daughter of a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother. She was raised a Scientologist. She broke with that religious cult about 15 years ago. By the way, it was Rogers who introduced Tom Cruise to Scientology while they were married (1987-89). She left the cult, he never did.


 “Operation Mincemeat” is an original Netflix film that is now streaming. It’s about a British intelligence operation during WWII that saved thousands of lives. Colin Firth stars as EWEN MONTAGU (1901-1985), a naval intelligence officer who played a central role in this operation. Montagu belonged to one of the most famous British Jewish families and was very active in the Jewish community. He was a top barrister before joining British Naval intelligence in 1938.


I didn’t write about “Mincemeat”, before I saw it, because some advance reviews referred to Montagu’s wife as Jewish. I thought perhaps the film had erased Montagu’s own Jewish identity. Not quite so.


In an early scene, Montagu is sending his wife and kids to Canada. He says he is doing so because of the potential Nazi danger to a “Jewish family”. It’s a bit unclear, but viewers probably “get it” that Montagu is Jewish, too. This scene is the only Jewish reference in the film.


The “real” “Operation Mincemeat” was a highly dramatic, “cool” operation. It had the built-in drama of a prominent Jew leading an anti-Nazi operation. But that wasn’t enough for the screenwriters. While one has to expect some “artistic factual license” in modern bio-pics, the 

“Mincemeat” writers went way past “reasonable license”.


Below are the biggest inaccuracies in the film. Don’t read them if you want to watch the film first.  But do watch the film, in any event.


Here are the top 4 made-up things, as compiled by the Deadline web site:  (1) Admiral Godfrey (played by JASON ISAACS), is Montagu’s superior officer. He’s against “Mincemeat” until it succeeds. Truth: Godfrey wasn’t against  “Mincemeat” and left for other duties months before “Mincemeat” concluded. (2) Montagu’s closest colleague, Chas. Cholmondeley, spies on Montagu for British intelligence. In return, higher-ups bring back his soldier brother’s body from Burma, where he served. Truth: Cholmondeley didn’t spy on Montagu and his brother was killed after “Mincemeat”. 3.) Joan Leslie is an essential member of the “Mincemeat team”. She and Montagu were at the edge of having an affair. Truth: Leslie had only a peripheral role in “Mincemeat”. Montagu did not hide his friendship with Leslie. He told his wife, via letters, about it. (4) Montagu’s brother, Ivor, is suspected of being a Communist. He lives in Ewan’s house. Truth: Ivor was an open Communist, not shocking in the UK in 1943. Ivor lived with his wife, in their own home.  


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