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Hans Muller is a Jewish refugee from Germany. Relocating to Israel after World War II, he can not overcome the psychological effects of the war. After attacking a policeman, Hans becomes a fugitive, traveling through Israel with a teenage boy. Written by
Jeanne Armintrout <email@example.com>
Kirk Douglas in social conscience drama produced by Stanley Kramer...
KIRK DOUGLAS struggles to forget the horrors of a concentration camp in THE JUGGLER, another one of Stanley Kramer's serious socially conscious films of the '50s. Unfortunately, the end result is a film that doesn't really connect with its target audience despite a solid performance by Douglas as the troubled Jew from Israel unable to overcome his fear and bitterness.
Unfortunately, Kramer had a habit of assigning George Antheil to score his films. Antheil contributes another inappropriate score heavily accenting any melodramatic moment that points up Kirk's anguish, much the way he did in Kramer's NOT AS A STRANGER. It didn't work there and it doesn't work here, especially during the "escape" scene where the music reaches a frenzied fever pitch of discordant notes.
It's hard to fully sympathize with Douglas' tormented character and that is the film's chief handicap. As the man tracking down the fugitive, PAUL STEWART does his usual workmanlike job. Trouble is, there's an almost documentary feel to the story and its pivotal character is never fully fleshed out, remaining somewhat of an enigma despite Douglas' good performance. When romance comes into the story with the entrance of MILLY VITALE, Douglas' character softens a little under her compassionate care.
Some vivid glimpses of Israel, circa 1949, and good location photography gives the story an authentic air, but the story values are never more than ordinary and the total effect is bland.
Worthwhile mainly for Kirk Douglas fans, it fails to make the impact intended as a serious study of a man haunted by prison camp memories.
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