11 November 2002 | lauramae
Peace in our time?
I have seen this movie several times and catch something different every time I see it. Today is the first time I've seen it from the beginning. In the context of the time it was made, it was a bold statement about the human factor in any war. Brando shines and plays a sympathetic character who sees first hand the evil that men do in the name of patriotism.
Made at a time when the Americans that liberated the concentration camps were in their prime and there weren't any idiots running around claiming it was a lie, we see how ordinary citizens respond to the unthinkable. Brando's character stands in for the citizens of the Reich who claimed they were clueless about the genocide while the ashes from the smokestacks fell like snow on their towns. We see the horror and the denial.
It briefly explores a major taboo--interracial/interfaith marriages. It looks at racism in the context of anti-Semitcism (unfortunately still alive and well in America) and one man's courage in opposing it. Ironic this brand of racism, as the founder of the prevelant religion in America was a Jewish rabbi.
This movie is worth the 3 hours of time; it would make a great set piece with "Judgement at Nuremberg" which also showcases the talents of many of the actors from this film.
Good acting from all players in this film. It presages Robert Altman with the interweaving of the characters' lives from the first shot where Barbara Rush and Brando debate the merits of the Fatherland to the last scene in the forest where the end comes full circle.