A tight little sleeper. Douglas is a German Jew who survived the Nazi concentration camps but lost his wife and children. He was a famous juggler before the war and now finds himself with thousands of other displaced persons in Israel.
When he arrives in a temporary camp, his actions are odd enough to merit notice by the camp psychiatrist. He runs away on his first night and is followed by Benedict, an Israeli cop, who finally stops him and wants to see his papers. Douglas immediately flashes back to when a Nazi asked the same
thing, and he knocks Benedict out, then flees. Douglas escapes Haifa and makes his way to Mount Carmel where he spends the night. In the morning Douglas, now pursued by detective Stewart, is discovered by several children whom he tells he is an American tourist. Walsh, one of the young boys, is
traveling to a kibbutz near Syria and Douglas joins him. Douglas wants to get to Egypt where he has some friends who he feels will help him.
A terrific movie in many ways, THE JUGGLER is a small-scale, almost intimate film that quietly depicts the sadness of a man looking for a home and a purpose following the war. The main character is not a heroic figure, but a deeply troubled man trying to make some sense out of life. Douglas, in
one of his most restrained performances, is quite good at conveying the man's torment and confusion. Paul Stewart, one of the original Mercury Players on radio who made his film debut in CITIZEN KANE, is also good as the compassionate detective who does his best to reassure Douglas. Young Walsh
nicely complements Douglas and their scenes together are often touching without being overly sentimental. Walsh went on to become a writer, scripting such films as BON VOYAGE and CALIFORNIA SPLIT.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: A tight little sleeper. Douglas is a German Jew who survived the Nazi concentration camps but lost his wife and children. He was a famous juggler before the war and now finds himself with thousands of other displaced persons in Israel. When he arrives in… (more)