The journey referred to in the title lasted only 100 miles, but that was enough to unwind this complicated story in the DINNER AT EIGHT and GRAND HOTEL tradition, with several characters of diverse backgrounds coming together for one intense moment. Set against the abortive Hungarian
revolution of 1956, THE JOURNEY was shot in Austria, with many scenes in Vienna and in the territory near the Hungarian border. A group of 16 travelers, including two children, are caught by the Russian invasion at the Budapest airport as they attempt to escape. They are bused across Hungary to
the Austrian border and to what they pray is safety. Kerr is a British Lady trapped by the political unrest. Robards carries a British identity card, but he is not what he seems. He appears to be wounded and is in pain. Near the border, the bus is stopped by the Russians, under the command of
Brynner, a major in the Soviet army. Brynner likes Kerr and keeps everyone stalled while he ostensibly checks on her passport's validity. Kerr, however, has fallen for Robards who is, in truth, a Hungarian Freedom Fighter. His presence is endangering everyone else, and they conspire to turn him in
so they can get on with their journey. Kerr and Robards are about to escape together when they are betrayed by a local woman. Kerr now agrees to sleep with Brynner if he will allow them safe passage. Brynner is so moved by her willingness to do what he perceives is a repugnant act to her that he
personally escorts them all to the border, where he is then killed by patriots.
The acting is all excellent but the film takes far too long in telling the tale. Brynner is particularly good in a non-cliched role as the Russian. Kerr does her usual understated job. We've all seen this multi-character story of many people in a forced environment. It's been a staple of
dramatists for years. With better handling, this could have been as good as IDIOT'S DELIGHT, but Litvak and Tabori missed the boat by having a few too many stories going simultaneously, thus lessening the impact of the Kerr-Brynner-Robards problem. In the end, it was much too predictable to merit
consideration as anything more than an expensive programmer. Look for TV star E.G. Marshall in a small role as a US businessman that is refreshingly true-to-life, rather than satirical. Actor-Director Ron Howard makes his film debut as a five-year-old.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: The journey referred to in the title lasted only 100 miles, but that was enough to unwind this complicated story in the DINNER AT EIGHT and GRAND HOTEL tradition, with several characters of diverse backgrounds coming together for one intense moment. Set ag… (more)