In 1947, with only months remaining until the partition of British-administered Palestine, an American freighter captain smuggles European Jewish refugees ashore under the nose of the British authorities.
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Cynical freighter captain Mike Dillon hopes to take the money and run after helping to smuggle Jewish refugees ashore in pre-Israel Palestine. But against his will, he's drawn into the escalating fight between British occupation forces and the founders of Israel. In a battle doubly terrible because the audience sympathizes with both sides, how long can Mike remain a bystander? Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is an anti-British film, and apparently the British attempted to limit the distribution.
Directed by George Sherman, the film stars Dana Andrews, Stephen McNally, Jeff Chandler, and Marta Toren. Andrews plays a freighter captain who has agreed to let his ship be used to smuggle Jewish refugees ashore in Palestine. He plans on taking his money and leaving, but things don't work out that way. He's very angry to find himself embroiled in the conflict as the British seek to round up the immigrants and arrest the organizers.
In most films, I think, the Andrews character might have been impressed with the commitment of the McNally, Chandler, and Toren characters and agreed to help them. But this guy not only betrays them once because all he cares about is his ship, but he almost betrays them again. He does come to some understanding and admiration for Kurta (Chandler), but it takes a while.
The beautiful Marta Toren, alas, died at the age of 30, about eight years after this film. Such a shame. She married an Italian director in 1952 and worked in Italy, doing better roles.
Very good movie with an emotional and quite beautiful ending. According to what I heard during a discussion of the film, the British and the Jews never actually fought in battle as they do here, but director Sherman wanted to show that there was indeed a conflict.
The Middle East remains a powder keg, and Israel still has lots of problems. This was pre-Israel Palestine, with the Jews seeking a place where they could be safe. Given what's going on in the world today, I wonder now if anyone can ever be truly safe.
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