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 ...
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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 »
"The Spiral Road" is moderately interesting but also a bit meandering and very oddly cast. So much of the plot seems random and casting a whole lot of very Americans in the roles to Dutch men and women seemed odd. After all, when I think of Rock Hudson, I don't think of him as being from the Netherlands.
The film is set on Java when it was part of the Dutch East Indies (i.e., before their independence in 1949). Exactly when is uncertain but it appears to be just after WWII--but this is only an educated guess. It could have been much earlier--though the clothing and haircuts would not suggest this. The story is about a rather difficult to like new doctor (played by Hudson). However, instead of being a coherent story in the traditional sense, so much of the story of what occurs to him seemed very random. The first portion involved his volunteering to work in the middle of nowhere with lepers just to get a chance to work with a world famous doctor (Burl Ives). This occupies a large part of the film. However, later he marries, appears to have cheated on his wife with a native (this is VERY vague), runs around spouting that God does not exist (and acts a bit hateful in some ways about this) and then gets caught up in the middle of some odd terrorist movement led by a voodoo practitioner--where he is tormented in the middle of the jungle. If you are looking for any sort of theme or hidden message, I sure couldn't find one and just felt it was very disjoint and strange. The overall effect isn't bad...but it could easily have been so much better. Oddly, no real mention of the war or push for independence nor did you really learn anything about the natives--and surely they were more to it than just a voodoo dude and his tribe of crazies! Somewhat incoherent and I really learned very little about Indonesia and New Guinea in this one. Also, the film seems to endorse colonialism--which is strange and morally suspect.
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