Engineer Jake Holman arrives aboard the gunboat U.S.S. San Pablo, assigned to patrol a tributary of the Yangtze in the middle of exploited and revolution-torn 1926 China. His iconoclasm and... See full summary »
The film is set during the late 1930s: the occasion is the first meeting between Mussolini and Hitler. Left alone in her tenement home when her fascist husband runs off to attend the ... See full summary »
Guy Hamilton is a journalist on his first job as a foreign correspondent. His apparently humdrum assignment to Indonesia soon turns hot as President Sukarno electrifies the populace and frightens foreign powers. Guy soon is the hottest reporter on the story with the help of his photographer, half- Chinese dwarf Billy Kwan, who has gone native. Guy's affair with diplomat Jill Bryant also helps. Eventually Guy must face some major moral choices and the relationship between Billy and him reaches a crisis at the same time the politics of Indonesia does. Written by
Mel Gibson has said of the threats to the film: "It wasn't really that bad. We got a lot of death threats to be sure, but I just assumed that when there are so many, it must mean nothing is really going to happen. I mean, if they meant to kill us, why send a note?" See more »
The song by Richard Strauss is incorrectly listed in the end credits. It's "Beim Schlafengehen" ("Going to Sleep"), not "September." "September" is another of the "Four Last Songs" from which this one is taken; lyrics to both are by Herman Hesse. See more »
I am a little amazed that, so far, only 40 comments have been entered. Fortunately most are of high quality, and all the important points related to the film are clearly highlighted. So, I will not repeat what has been well said by others. I want to explain one additional point, it has to do with my personal experience but might be interesting to mention.
I'm a professional expatriate, living overseas for 25 years. I'm not talking about an American in Paris or an Englishman in New York, I mean African steppes, tropical jungles, Indian slums. Living in a totally foreign country, in a totally strange culture, imperfectly understanding the local language, bewildered by alien logic, you experience a permanent sense of unease. You adapt, you learn to cope, you make what you hope are friends. But you never forget that you are a stranger in unknown territory, and that you are vulnerable.
You may peacefully walk on the street one minute, the next minute bullets are flying all around you. In the evening you have a pleasant drink with your neighbour, in the morning you are arrested, accused of being a foreign mercenary. When you travel inland you come at a road block, not knowing if they'll let you pass, or harass you for a couple of hours, or confiscate your car. As a foreigner in developing countries, you are constantly confronted with uncertainty, an intangible menace lurking around the corner.
I find that TYOLD transmits this sense of menace very poignantly. Many people have commented on its brilliant sense of place, the accurate depiction of Indonesia and the events that took place at the time. Others mention that you get a very real feeling of the tension and uncertainty journalists in times of upheaval are subjected to. But I would like to extend it beyond journalists. The sense of menace in TYOLD is eminently recognizable by all who have lived in countries where the police is not there to protect you, the laws are not there to make society more civilized, the hospitals are not there to cure you. In TYOLD, the menace is made visible because of the troubles that erupt, but usually you do not have to live through civil war when overseas. Still, the menace is not less real, and the sense of foreboding haunting every expatriate was very convincingly conveyed in the film.
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