HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
Honeyland
Love Ban, The
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
Higher Power
Shinsengumi
IT Chapter Two
Rich Kids
Arena
Glory Guys, The
Serial Killer's Guide to Life, A
Lovers and Other Strangers
Shiny Shrimps, The
Good Woman is Hard to Find, A
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Doctor at Sea
Spear
Death Cheaters
Wild Rose
Streetwalkin'
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
Devil's Playground, The
Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters
Hustlers
Mega Time Squad
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Souvenir, The
Birds of Passage
Ma
Woman at War
Happy as Lazzaro
Mickey's Christmas Carol
Marriage Story
Santa Claus is a Bastard
Star, The
Tom & Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale
   
 
Newest Articles
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
   
 
  Ugly American, The The Domino EffectBuy this film here.
Year: 1963
Director: George Englund
Stars: Marlon Brando, Eiji Okada, Sandra Church, Pat Hingle, Arthur Hill, Jocelyn Brando, Kukrit Pramoj, Judson Pratt, Reiko Sato, George Shibata, Judson Laire, Philip Ober, Lee Tak Yip, Carl Benton Reid, Simon Scott, Stefan Schnabel
Genre: Drama
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: In the nation of Sarkan, there has been a scheme implemented to build a long road known as the Freedom Road through its jungles to open it up to trade and the wider world, but not everyone is happy about this state of affairs. The local Communists regard this so-called progress as another example of Imperialist influence over their country, and are determined to sabotage it and send the Americans, who have backed the construction, packing. To set this off, they stage an accident that is apparently down to a drunken American driver on the site that kills one of the locals, but while the Sarkan population sees this as proof the visitors are not on their side, others know better...

The Ugly American was based on the political novel of the same name by William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick, though inevitably it was watered down so much in transition from page to screen that the book's fans were most aggrieved by what Hollywood had done to the savvy points raised by the authors. Besides, it was released almost immediately before President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and the Vietnam War dramatically escalated, leaving it a victim of history within months, as the political situation was moving so rapidly that the material as presented here in earnest fashion had swiftly dated to the extent that the movie, if not the source, was dismissed.

Naturally, everyone would see that Sarkan was a thinly disguised Vietnam with its split between North and South, the Communists vying for control with the Westerners, and a civil war about to explode in the pressure cooker environment, but that merely had you wondering why the filmmakers did not simply call a spade a spade and concoct a movie about Vietnam instead. The location work was shot in Thailand, necessitating a caption at the beginning informing us we were not to confuse that nation with any other South Eastern land this may or may not be about, another example of how toothless this was coming across, no matter how hard hitting it wanted to be.

Marlon Brando was the star, in the days when he was still a politically engaged celebrity, yet his good intentions were undercut by the stuffed shirt character he was asked to portray, supposedly a liberal-minded ambassador but actually having his reasonable attitude confronted as purely another instance of American expansion across the world. We know this because director George Englund saw fit to present what theories that survived from the text in long, not exactly exciting arguments, Brando's Harrison Carter MacWhite verbally sparring with the leader of the planned revolution, his old friend Deong, who was played by Japanese star Eiji Okada, personally recruited on Brando's insistence after impressing him in international hits like Hiroshima Mon Amour and Woman in the Dunes.

Interestingly, Okada was a Communist in real life, which you would think would offer an edge to proceedings, but when the arguments simply resolved into scenes of the two stars shouting at one another it was all too easy to zone out and hope for something more exciting to happen. The trouble with that being, although there was a revolution to come, nothing really did, The Ugly American moved at a snail's pace and its own sense of self-importance given the seriousness of the subject it was examining made for a dry lecture that was not even particularly certain of what it was getting at. Something about Americans not standing by the beliefs and tenets that made their country great, and allowing the high standards to slip, which aside from not being too helpful in its vagueness, seemed to exonerate American foreign policy from the deadly Tango it danced with the Soviets in places like Vietnam. The final switching off of MacWhite's speech on television is supposed to be damning; more likely you'll sympathise as this was telling you nothing useful. Music by Frank Skinner.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 747 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: