A British woman trying to escape Hungary with her freedom fighter lover and a group of Westerners, as the Soviet Union moves to crush the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, finds herself the obsession of an enigmatic Communist officer.
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Budapest 1956. A group of Westerners try to leave the city when Soviet military occupy the country. But the airport is closed down and they have to take a bus to the border. At the border they are stopped by red tape - and Major Surov. The reasons are sketchy, but it seems that the major is romantically interested in one of the westerners, Diana Ashmore.Written by
Loosely based on the short story by Guy de Maupassant, « Boule de suif » (literally "Ball of Fat", though "Dumpling" or "Butterball" might be better translations). Set during the Franco-Prussian War, it's been used as the basis for other films/TV episodes as well. In this case, Deborah Kerr's Lady Ashmore is quite different than the prostitute "Dumpling" in the original story, but while Yul Brynner's Major Surov has more depth and humanity than the Prussian officer in Maupassant's story, the basic motivation for his attraction is similar, though perhaps less vulgar. In both cases, her fellow travelers selfishly and ignobly pressure "Dumpling"/"Lady Ashmore" to sacrifice herself to the officer for their freedom. See more »
Soviet troops are shown using U.S. equipment such as M4 Sherman tanks and jeeps. During World War II the Lend-Lease program sent over 4,000 Shermans to the USSR, some 400,000 trucks and jeeps, and many other vehicles, including the M5 half-track (which are seen in photos of the 1956 Soviet takeover of Hungary.) Nearly all of this equipment was still in Soviet use in 1956. See more »
I don't like this segregation of the sexes. Men are pigs, but after 10pm, they are absolutely indispensable. Non?
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Set during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, this story has all the suspense of a good cold war book or movie as a multinational group of foreigners attempt to smuggle Jason Robards out of Hungary into Austria. However, three things complement the story, making this an extremely good movie.
First, the actors use the actual languages of their roles. The Russian soldiers speak only Russian; the Hungarians only Hungarian; the Germans only German, except to the minimal extent to tell the story. Since Debra Kerr is English, she speaks only English, and, of course, Yul Brynner and a few others essential to the story also speak heavily accented English. As a result, the empathy of the audience to the travelers becomes paramount. The viewer shares all the confusion and suspense of being involved in an illicit border crossing when he/she cannot understand any of the languages spoken around them. Very powerful feelings are aroused in the audience, and notwithstanding the heavy use of foreign languages, the audience is never at a loss for following the film. No subtitles are necessary.
Second. I was in Hungary in 1995, and I'm telling you, this movie has it right on. From the gypsy music overpowering the dinner meal to the underground caverns in the buildings where much of the action takes place to the village scenes, the realism is incredible. If I didn't eat in the actual restaurant in the movie, I ate at its double. I thought that I actually walked down the main street in that village. (Actually, the film was shot in Austria).
Third, and most important, this movie reunites Deberah Kerr and Yul Brynner (after The King and I) and the magnetism between them as the story unfolds is nothing short of Oscar qualified. Of course, Yul already received an Oscar for playing that relationship, so the Acadamy wasn't going to give him another one, but that is the quality of the film. Don't miss this one.
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