- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Chinese Cold War
- Will Fox
An atypical Jimmy Stewart film, he is an ambitious, but naive, white man without command experience. So he volunteers, as an American engineer, to command a US Amy demolition team to blow up Chinese facilities, to keep them from WW2 Japanese invaders. This movie accurately represents Americans with good intentions, blowing up the Road to Hell. Stewart slowly learns to listen to his more experienced, enlisted Americans, as well as an educated Chinese lady. As a result, he learns about human relationships and the limits of command power. While achieving military objectives, he loses his team and the Chinese woman he cares for and learns too late, to respect. Lisa Lu, Beijing born actress succeeded from the 1950s on, earning international film festival awards, Best Actress in Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Last Emperor" (1987) and as the storytelling mother in "The Joy Luck Club" (1993). "Mountain Road" film is based on the book by highly respected, American journalist, political analyst, Theodore White, (best known for his book, The Making of the President; about 1960's US Presidential Election: VP Dick Nixon vs. Sen. Jack Kennedy). White was a man with rare experience in China from 1938 on, living/working professionally, as a freelance reporter and later as a frustrated correspondent for Time magazine. (NY editors re-wrote his in-China reports.) In 1946 White wrote a best-selling, nonfiction book about WW2 China, Thunder Out of China, describing the growing threat of Communism and Chinese corruption. For more on James Stewart's learning life's lessons see 1970's comedic film: "The Cheyenne Social Club." See TCM's schedule. Also recommending, most of the following reviews.
Mountain Road is a grind...
If Jimmy Stewart wasn't the star of this pointless yarn, I'd say, "Don't waste your time." Plot summary: soldier gets his command (blowing stuff up), he exceeds his management powers, blows things up, sorry he blew so much up. Thrilling? Cast is very good to be fair, movie? not so much.
A Solid Story About War and Relationships
While I don't agree that this movie is some kind of "preview" of the Vietmam experience, I do think it comes closer to the true nature of war than many of the more stylized films of the era. James Stewart does a great job, as do the suporting actors. The story line is well developed and the art direction and production values support the gritty and complex themes that intertwine themselves as the characters lie through a tough time. The relationship between officers and enlisted men is very true-to-life and reminds me of m own experiences in the service. A solid movie worth seeing and re-seeing.
The Hardships of war
This is certainly not your typical Hollywood John Wayne style good-guy war film, where the Americans are benevolent and noble. Instead, this reflects the hardships and frustrations of both soldiers and civilians. It also deals with the emotional conflicts of inflicting harm onto others for the good of stopping the enemy. This also foretold of what was in store with American soldiers in Vietnam just a few years later. The American soldiers, frustrated with being on the receiving end of abuse and the mistrust they have with certain elements of the native population, unleashing their anger on enemy combatants and innocent civilians are killed and maimed in the process.
Fantastic Music Score
I have not seen this movie, but I own a Jerome Moross compilation CD that has a rodoing of the main theme music which is truly fantastic. This is worth a look and a listen.