Town Like Alice

A Town Like Alice

Director: Jack Lee

Cast: Jack Lee, Virginia McKenna, Peter Finch, Marie Lohr

     
 
A harrowing WWII drama that was a huge critical and commercial success in England, this British production was based on a novel by Nevil Shute. During the war, a group of prisoners, mostly women and children, are led by Japanese soldiers on a brutal march through Malaysia. Some die by the roadside and others are sadistically tortured. One of the women, Jean Paget

Overview

A harrowing WWII drama that was a huge critical and commercial success in England, this British production was based on a novel by Nevil Shute. During the war, a group of prisoners, mostly women and children, are led by Japanese soldiers on a brutal march through Malaysia. Some die by the roadside and others are sadistically tortured. One of the women, Jean Paget (Virginia McKenna), is befriended by an Australian man who is also a prisoner of war, Joe Harman (Peter Finch). Joe tells Jean about his hometown of Alice Springs, an oasis in the Australian outback. When he steals a chicken to feed Jean and the others, Joe is caught and treated ruthlessly. The Japanese force Jean and the others to march on while Joe is put on a crucifix and left to die. ~ Michael Betzold

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Highly acclaimed in its time, A Town Like Alice has lost some of its power over the years, but there are a number of scenes which still pack an enormous punch and ensure that the film lingers in the mind for years after viewing. When first released, Alice was somewhat shocking for its brutality and for not "prettying up" the hardships its characters endure; inevitably, modern audiences will not have the same response, but even so the ordeals will make an impression on viewers. Unfortunately, Alice is not as consistently involving as it should be, and as the novel (the first half of which forms the basis for the film) is reputed to be; despite all that the characters experience, we feel kept a bit at arm's length with them, and more so than is accounted for by the traditional "stiff upper lip" stance they take. However, in scenes such as the one involving bargaining for milk for a child, the one with snakebite death of another child and, of course, the crucifixion sequence, there is abundant power and impact. Jack Lee directs these and other key scenes with quiet skill, ably aided by Geoffrey Unsworth's expert cinematography. And in Virginia McKenna and Peter Finch, Lee has a pair of actors who are perfectly cast and add immeasurably to the film. McKenna in particular is a treasure, with her nobility and bravery that can't quite mask her vulnerability. It has its flaws, but once seen, memories of Alice will stay with you.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/14/2012
UPC:
0089859865527
Original Release:
1956
Source:
Vci Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[B&W]
Sound:
[stereo, Dolby Digital Stereo]
Time:
1:51:00
Sales rank:
614

Special Features

A profile of A Town Like Alice: This documentary account features interviews with Virginia McKenna and Jean Anderson (starring actresses), and Jack Lee (director). (26 minutes, Color, 2000); Photo gallery

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Virginia McKenna Jean Paget
Peter Finch Joe Harman
Marie Lohr Mrs. Dudley Frost
Renee Houston Ebbey
Jean Anderson Miss Horsefall
Maureen Swanson Ellen
Nora Nicholson Mrs. Frith
John Fabian Mr. Holland
Vincent Ball Ben
Tim Turner British Sergeant
Geoffrey Keen Solicitor
Charles Marshall Actor
Virginia Clay Actor
Bay White Actor
Eileen Moore Mrs. Holland
Mary Allen Mrs. Anderson
Gwenda Ewen Mrs. Rhodes
Edwina Carroll Fatima
Sanny Bin Hussan Mat Amin
Jane White Brenda
Cameron Moore Freddy
Takagi Actor
Tran Van Khe Actor

Technical Credits
Jack Lee Director
George Blackler Makeup
Geoffrey Daniels Sound/Sound Designer
Jack Hanbury Production Manager
Sidney Hayers Editor
Joseph Janni Producer
W.P. Lipscomb Screenwriter
Richard Mason Screenwriter
Mátyás Seiber Score Composer
Earl St. John Executive Producer
Geoffrey Unsworth Cinematographer
Alexander Vetchinsky Art Director
Derek Williams Cinematographer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- A Town Like Alice
1. A Well [5:42]
2. One Day in 1942 [11:25]
3. Captured [10:38]
4. We Walk [8:02]
5. Meeting Joe [8:30]
6. Water! [10:28]
7. Snake Bite [9:55]
8. Death [6:49]
9. Chickens [4:53]
10. Punishment [10:14]
11. The Village [6:34]
12. Reunion [10:37]

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