A Town Like Alice

A Town Like Alice

DVD - 2012
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A classic war movie like no other, because it is told from a woman's perspective. Based on the moving novel by Nevil Shute. It is set during WWII in British Malaya, 1941.
Publisher: [United States] : VCI Entertainment : Itv Studios Home Entertainment, 2012
Edition: Full screen version
ISBN: 9781557397942
1557397945
Call Number: DVD F TOWN
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (111 min.) : sound, black and white ; 4 3/4 in

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j
jimg2000
Apr 14, 2019

1956 B&W historic war drama on both the atrocities (the march and death of the women and children prisoners over the course of two and a half years) and love/courage/hope in times of war. Seems to me that the film left off vast majority of the book, chopping off the times before and after the war. Dialogue in English with some Japanese and Cantonese, with burnt-in English captions. The Hollywood ending was worth the ticket alone.

Note. Learn more from the interviews with the film makers, including actress Virginia McKenna (Born Free 1966) who looks as, if not even more, beautiful with mud/dirt on her face, in Bonus features: A profile of a Town like Alice.

s
Susan0001
Dec 28, 2018

This version doesn't come close to being as good as the Bryon Brown/Helen More version. The latter is extremely faithful to the wonderful Neville Shute book, except where it adds a very small, unrequited love interest, which doesn't get in the way of the plot at all.

j
jmallenkunz
Apr 19, 2018

Loved it! Especially since it was black and white.

f
firefly5
Apr 10, 2018

Very old black & white movie. Did not watch.

g
garycornell
Nov 14, 2017

A touching film from beginning to end. You never feel that anyone is acting, especially the children in the film. Amazing how young children can be given lines and deliver them so convincingly. Many movie critics have rated this film very highly. It certainly great to see a movie made many years ago preserved so a guy like me doesn't miss it!

i
IV27HUjg
Nov 16, 2015

This is the older & first film version of 'Alice', the second is a PBS series with Bryon Brown, Helen Morse & the incomparable Gordon Jackson. Will be interesting to see the difference. Considering the 1956-57 time frame of film I thought it was very good. The extras portion very interesting in how they made it - subtitles very helpful. I still prefer the PBS series.

a
akirakato
Apr 15, 2015

This is a 1956 British drama directed by Jack Lee, based on the 1950 novel by Nevil Shute.
It is a classic war film from a woman's perspective, set during WWII in British Malaya, 1941.
The Japanese army advances rapidly through the British territory.
The men they captured are sent off to labor camps, but they don't have a plan to deal with the women and children left behind.
Not sure what to do with them, the Japanese force their captives to march for miles on end all over Malaya in search of a camp willing to take them in.
During this ordeal, Jean Paget meets Joe Harman, an Australian POW, who risks his own life to help the sick, starving and abused women and children survive.
Both are inevitably drawn to each other, forming a lasting bond.
It is a heart-wrenching yet heart-warming-at-the-end kind of movie.

j
jonnybroom
May 20, 2013

I loved this movie. You can't take your eyes off Virginia MacKenna, whose subtle performance lights up the film. The story is similar to Paradise Road. I shed a tear at the end.

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j
jimg2000
Apr 14, 2019

I have never heard of white mems working in the paddy fields.
-Have you ever heard of white mems marching and dying as we have marched and died?
===
Alice, the Aussie town, P1 of 3 from book:
"Alice, Alice Springs. Right in the middle of Australia, half way between Darwin and Adelaide."
-"I thought the middle of Australia was all desert?"
"Alice is a bonza place. Plenty of water in Alice; people living there, they leave the sprinkler on all night, watering the lawn. That's right, they leave the sprinkler on all night. Course, the Territory's dry in most parts, but there's usually good feed along the creeks. Come to that, there's water all over if you look for it. You take a creek that only runs in the wet, now, say a couple of months in the year, or else not that You get a sandy billabong, and you'll get water there by digging not a foot below the surface, like as not—even in the middle of the dry."

j
jimg2000
Apr 14, 2019

Alice, the Aussie town, P2 of 3 from book:

His slow, even tones were strangely comforting. "You go to a place like that and you'll find little diggings all over in the sand, where the kangaroos and euros have dug for water. They know where to go. There's water all over in the outback, but you've got to know where to find it."
"What do you do at this place Wollara?" she asked. "Do you look after sheep?"
He~shook his head. 'You don't find sheep around the Alice region," he said. "It'd be too hot for them. Wollara is a cattle station."
"How many cattle have you got?"
"About eighteen thousand when I come away," he said; "It goes up and down, according to the wet, you know."
"Eighteen thousand? How big is it?"
"Wollara? About two thousand seven hundred."

j
jimg2000
Apr 14, 2019

Alice, the Aussie town, P3 of 3 from book:

"Two thousand seven hundred acres," she said. "That's a big place."
He stared at her. "Not acres," he said. "Square miles. Wollara's two thousand seven hundred square miles."
She was startled. "But is that all one place---one farm, I mean?"
"It's one station," he replied. "One property."
"But however many of you does it take to run it?"
His mind ran lovingly around the well-remembered scene. "There's Mr Duveen, Tommy Duveen—he's the manager, and then me—I'm the head stockman, or I was. Tommy said he'd keep a place for me when I got back. I'd like to get back to Wollara again, one day..." He mused a little. "We had three other ringers—whites," he said. "Then there was Happy, and Moonlight, and Nugget, and Snowy, and Tarmac. . ." He thought for a minute. "Nine boongs we had," he said. "That's all."
"Nine what?"
"Black boys — black stockmen. Abos."

j
jimg2000
Apr 14, 2019

The scene when the lovers first set eyes on each other from the book:

"Which of you speaks English?" He spoke deliberately in a slow drawl, with something of a pause between each word.
Jean said laughing, "We're all English."
He stared at her, noting the black hair plaited in a pigtail, the brown arrns and feet, the sarong, the brown baby on her hip. There was a line of white skin showing on her chest at the V of her tattered blouse. "'Straits-born?" he hazarded.
"No , real English—all of us," she said. "We're prisoners."
He got to his feet; he was a fair-haired powerfully built man about twenty-seven or twenty-eight years old. "Dinkie-die?" he said.
She did not understand that. "Are you prisoners?" she asked.
He smiled slowly. "Are we prisoners?" he repeated. "Oh my word."
There was something about the man that she had never met before. "Are you English?" she asked.
"No fear," he said in his deliberate way. "We're Aussies."

j
jimg2000
Apr 14, 2019

Now you are prisoners. You stay here tonight. Tomorrow you go to prisoner camp perhaps. You do good things, obedience to orders, you will receive good from Japanese soldiers. You do bad things, you will be shot directly. So, do good things always. When officer come, you stand up and bow, always. That is good thing. Now you sleep.
===
You not go to Kuala Lumpur. You go to Port Swettenham. English destroy bridges, so railway to Singapore no good. You go to Port Swettenham now, and then ship to Singapore.
===
Who are you people? What do you want here?
-We are prisoners, from Panong. We are on our way to the prisoner-of-war camp in Singapore. Captain Yoniata in Panong sent us here under guard, to be put on a ship to Singapore.
There are no ships here. You should have stayed in Panong.
-We were sent here.
They had no right to send you here. There is no prison camp here.
===
She wants to get into Willstown.
-That's new. Most people wanna get out of it!

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