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An arrogant young doctor helps an eccentric older doctor care for natives in the Dutch West Indies circa 1936. Challenged by love, leprosy and black magic, he undergoes a series of ordeals on a spiritual journey through the jungles of Java. Written by
Gary R. Peterson
The Spiral Road contains the origin for the opening of Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969). Rock Hudson wanders aimlessly through the jungle confused to his identity, while his beard grows long and his clothes wind up in tatters. Finally he comes to a clearing where there is a pool. He sees his reflection and exclaims, "It's..." But instead of an offstage voice saying Monty Python's Flying Circus, he just says, "It's... me!". See more »
A chilling view of Western colonial arrogance, The Spiral Road is a compelling and often beautiful film adaptation of de Hartog's masterpiece.
I saw The Spiral Road as a teen-aged boy in 1963. It was the most impactful movie of that period in my life, creating an emotional impression in me that lingers to this day. Indeed, I cannot hear Beethoven's Fifth Symphony without vividly recalling the scratchy recording playing in that remote colonial outpost as the two linked protagonists each struggled with their personal demons.
The plot of The Spiral Road takes the viewer on a journey not unlike that described in Heart of Darkness; thematic elements contained in the plot become metaphors for larger lessons to be learned regarding colonialism, missionary fervor, the hegemony of Western medicine, and the absolutism of good versus evil as understood by Calvinist colonists.
The superb cast easily sustains the epic scope and grandeur of the film while the intelligent and artful script relates a story that is at once compelling and horrifying.
Hollywood moguls; please get a clue. The Spiral Road belongs in the DVD libraries of discerning film viewers the world over!
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