7 August 2007 | Panamint
Something special here..........
There is a haunting, lost quality to this film that is really special. The mysterious jungles, ethereal sunrises, lost colonial world are all woven together beautifully.
The life-enhancing youth of Susanna York, and exotic Capucine at the peak of her career converge at just the right moment in time to play off of the wasted, weary Holden (though still an effective acting presence). Few viewers at the time realized that the famous globe-trotting Holden was perfectly suited to this role as an aging man who accumulates wealth but realizes that he has thrown away all his opportunities for success in a personal life. Now we know that age and mistakes were catching up with Holden himself, just like the character he portrays here.
Expensively made, fine cinematography, beautiful but haunting musical score written at the perfect time.
Sincere acting conveys the simplistic ideals believed by everyone in those days (The British, the Communist leader Ng, the naive Americans). Simplistic thought by so many people who did not realize that the world was becoming very complicated. The USA that very year on the brink of massive effort and tragedy in Vietnam. The early 1960's with so many nations on the cusp of independence as colonialism was literally dying as this film was being made.
Viewers in 1964 were still expecting movie-star Holden and happy endings. Instead, Holden gave them the truth here and they couldn't handle it. So, this movie was long forgotten, only shown a few times over the years in various chopped-up prints, and achieved obscurity. We are lucky that a full-length version was preserved. This kind of independent-minded, carefully photographed, rare unique movie is seldom encountered and should be treasured, despite how uneven or flawed it may be.