In 1970, Billy Hayes was arrested in Turkey for possession of hash and sentenced to four years in prison. Just weeks before his release, Hayes’ penalty had been upped to a life sentence; which led him to take the steps to escape in 1975. Upon his return to the United States, Hayes co-wrote the book, Midnight Express, which chronicled his experience in Turkey. In 1978, Midnight Express became a hit film, and it inadvertently gave the country of Turkey a bad reputation.
Three decades later, Hayes wrote a follow up book called Midnight Return, about his first trip back to Turkey. Last year, director Sally Sussman released the Midnight Return documentary, which gathered Hayes and several of the key figures involved with the Midnight Express film to look back at its ongoing impact as well as Hayes’ personal journey. Starting this week, Midnight Return is on Sundance Now, and CraveOnline is proud to present two exclusive clips from the documentary. In the first, Hayes shares the memory of how he learned that his stay in Turkey wasn’t going to end soon.
In the second clip, screenwriter Oliver Stone and director Sir Alan Parker address the controversial impact of Midnight Express. And while Stone has some regrets about not offering a more positive portrayal of the Turkish people, neither he nor Parker will apologize for their indictment of the Turkish justice system.
Here’s the description of the documentary from Sundance Now.
“MIDNIGHT RETURN explores the enduring and emotional power of film as seen through the lens of the blockbuster success, MIDNIGHT EXPRESS. When Billy Hayes, one of the most infamous names of his generation and on whom the picture is based, returns to Turkey thirty years after his daring escape from prison, he faces a country still haunted by the film. Turkey suffered tremendous economic and psychological damage as a result of MIDNIGHT EXPRESS and more than thirty years later they are still trying to escape the stigma. So when a group of young Turkish Policemen reach out to their mortal enemy, Billy Hayes and invite him back to Istanbul for a conference, no one is more shocked and thrilled than Billy himself.”
What do you think about these clips? Let us know in the comment section below!