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
While a guest on the interview podcast "WTF with Marc Maron" in 2016, Ron Howard told Maron that as a child on the set of this movie, Yul Brynner made a vivid impression on him. Howard was especially transfixed while watching Brynner shoot a scene in which his character was supposed to bite into a drinking glass, and to the astonishment of the then-five-year-old Howard, Brynner actually did it. After the shot was over, however, Brynner (who had noticed how impressed the little boy was with the scene) called Howard over to explain to him that the "glass" was actually an edible prop made out of sugar, and to warn the child that he should never actually bite a real glass. See more »
In the final scene, as the camera dollies back from Major Surov's jeep, a camera/equipment shadow is visible on the jeep's right front tire. See more »
[Dancing with the Major]
Yes, I am. And it's marvelous! Half my life I've been a soldier. Five campaigns, four scars, a shattered hip. And all that time, the Army's been my wife. A mean, old, possessive, insatiable, glorious bitch! And tonight I am cheating on her. And it's wonderful. Like picking flowers on a battlefield!
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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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