HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Assimilate
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Mortal
Iron Mask, The
Dinosaur
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Collective
Charulata
Minari
Violation
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Honeydew
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
Escape from Coral Cove
Swan Princess, The
Shortcut
Stray
Butterfly Murders, The
Pimp
   
 
Newest Articles
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
   
 
  Ugly American, The The Domino Effect
Year: 1963
Director: George Englund
Stars: Marlon Brando, Eiji Okada, Sandra Church, Pat Hingle, Arthur Hill, Jocelyn Brando, Kukrit Pramoj, Judson Pratt, Reiko Sato, George Shibata, Judson Laire, Philip Ober, Lee Tak Yip, Carl Benton Reid, Simon Scott, Stefan Schnabel
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: In the nation of Sarkan, there has been a scheme implemented to build a long road known as the Freedom Road through its jungles to open it up to trade and the wider world, but not everyone is happy about this state of affairs. The local Communists regard this so-called progress as another example of Imperialist influence over their country, and are determined to sabotage it and send the Americans, who have backed the construction, packing. To set this off, they stage an accident that is apparently down to a drunken American driver on the site that kills one of the locals, but while the Sarkan population sees this as proof the visitors are not on their side, others know better...

The Ugly American was based on the political novel of the same name by William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick, though inevitably it was watered down so much in transition from page to screen that the book's fans were most aggrieved by what Hollywood had done to the savvy points raised by the authors. Besides, it was released almost immediately before President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and the Vietnam War dramatically escalated, leaving it a victim of history within months, as the political situation was moving so rapidly that the material as presented here in earnest fashion had swiftly dated to the extent that the movie, if not the source, was dismissed.

Naturally, everyone would see that Sarkan was a thinly disguised Vietnam with its split between North and South, the Communists vying for control with the Westerners, and a civil war about to explode in the pressure cooker environment, but that merely had you wondering why the filmmakers did not simply call a spade a spade and concoct a movie about Vietnam instead. The location work was shot in Thailand, necessitating a caption at the beginning informing us we were not to confuse that nation with any other South Eastern land this may or may not be about, another example of how toothless this was coming across, no matter how hard hitting it wanted to be.

Marlon Brando was the star, in the days when he was still a politically engaged celebrity, yet his good intentions were undercut by the stuffed shirt character he was asked to portray, supposedly a liberal-minded ambassador but actually having his reasonable attitude confronted as purely another instance of American expansion across the world. We know this because director George Englund saw fit to present what theories that survived from the text in long, not exactly exciting arguments, Brando's Harrison Carter MacWhite verbally sparring with the leader of the planned revolution, his old friend Deong, who was played by Japanese star Eiji Okada, personally recruited on Brando's insistence after impressing him in international hits like Hiroshima Mon Amour and Woman in the Dunes.

Interestingly, Okada was a Communist in real life, which you would think would offer an edge to proceedings, but when the arguments simply resolved into scenes of the two stars shouting at one another it was all too easy to zone out and hope for something more exciting to happen. The trouble with that being, although there was a revolution to come, nothing really did, The Ugly American moved at a snail's pace and its own sense of self-importance given the seriousness of the subject it was examining made for a dry lecture that was not even particularly certain of what it was getting at. Something about Americans not standing by the beliefs and tenets that made their country great, and allowing the high standards to slip, which aside from not being too helpful in its vagueness, seemed to exonerate American foreign policy from the deadly Tango it danced with the Soviets in places like Vietnam. The final switching off of MacWhite's speech on television is supposed to be damning; more likely you'll sympathise as this was telling you nothing useful. Music by Frank Skinner.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1345 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: