The Journey (1959) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 1956. The Soviets have appropriated Budapest Airport, in the process stranding many travelers trying to get in or out of what is now war torn Hungary. After several days, Aeroflot has decided to bus some of those trying to leave Budapest 250km to safety in Vienna, where they will make alternate travel arrangements to wherever their ultimate destination. In a busload of sixteen - fourteen adults and two children - of various nationalities, most of the passengers are most concerned about Henry Fleming, an Austrian born British national who seems to be ill with what is assumed to be the flu, which may further delay their travels. Of the other passengers, soon to be divorced Lady Diana Ashmore, another British national, has taken it upon herself to be Fleming's caregiver as the two had traveled together out of coincidence on the latest leg of their travels to get them to Budapest Airport. In reality, Fleming is Paul Kedes, a Hungarian national, trying to get out of the country, his "illness" an untreated gunshot wound to the right shoulder. He was imprisoned by the Soviets in 1952 for fighting for the Hungarians as he considered his national duty, a measure the Soviets charge to be counter-revolutionary, and had just been released. He and Diana have known each other for five years, she having run into him in Budapest by accident. The two have long been in love and are planning to get married, with Diana now willing to do anything, including kill, to get him to safety outside of Hungary. They almost make it across the Hungary-Austria border, when the bus is detained 2km inside the Hungarian side of the border by Soviet Major Surov, who uses the pretense of needing to reissue travel documents to the sixteen to keep them in Hungary for what is an unspecified period of time. The longer the hold up, the more precarious the situation for Paul and Diana as the reality of their situation may be discovered. If Surov or the Soviets find out, they could execute them. If the other passengers find out, they will have to decide what to do with the information, as they too could be charged with aiding and abetting who would be considered a fugitive. Beyond his professional duties, Surov may have ulterior motives for detaining the sixteen, or in reality wanting to detain only one, he as a man whose neighbors in this town have changed their opinion of him overnight solely because he is a Soviet.

  • In the immediate aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956, a group of international travelers are stranded at Budapest airport. They are told they will have to take a bus to Vienna, several hundred kilometers away. The trip is uneventful but on the Hungarian side of the border they are stopped by the Soviets and forced to stay in a hotel until their clearance to leave the country is received. Soviet Major Sorov is genial and treats them well, but rightly suspects that they may not all be foreigners. He takes a particular interest in a British traveler, Diana Ahmore, and the others begin to feel they are being kept there because of her. Throughout, Hungarian resistance fighters mount a futile campaign of resistance against their new oppressors.


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