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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Journey (1959)

At the outbreak of the 1956 Hungarian revolution, a disparate group of international travelers find themselves stranded when the airport is shut down. A subsequent attempt to cross the Austrian-Hungarian border by bus is prevented when the Russians hold the travelers against their will for interrogation. A bit overlong at slightly over the two hour mark, nevertheless the film remains a compelling microcosm of pressure, fear, choices and one's ability to do the right thing regardless of the cost. The film is held together by Yul Brynner's wonderful performance, one of his very best, as a Russian major who begins to doubt his life choices especially after finding himself attracted to one of the travelers, an Englishwoman (Deborah Kerr). The sexual tension that played into their performances three years earlier in THE KING AND I remains and is used to good effect here. The film veers toward the melodramatic and is often quite talky so that I was surprised to see it wasn't based on a play but an original screenplay by George Tabori. Directed by Anatole Litvak (ANASTASIA). With Jason Robards (in his film debut), Anouk Aimee, Robert Morley, E.G. Marshall, Anne Jackson, Kurt Kasznar, Gerard Oury and little Ron Howard.

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