The Bridge on the River Kwai

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From the novel by Pierre Boulle*

A group of British prisoners of war in a Japanese prison camp in Burma are made to build a bridge across a river to accomodate the Burma Railway.

Well, of course this is justly one of the most famous WWII movies ever. And yet, as Mr. Otter, who loves war movies, pointed out, even though it’s a war movie, there is actually very little ‘war’ in it.

What there is, is brilliant acting and character development. Just watching Alec Guinness (anagram: Genuine Class. We chez Otter love that.) and Sessue Hayakawa go mano a mano, in emotional terms, for alpha dog status is a treat to watch. And William Holden, whom neither Mr. Otter nor I like very much, but who is not only good in this, but perfect for the role he plays. Three guys. Three different versions of what is right, and honorable, and the limits they will not pass.

I could go on and on and on about this movie, we had a great discussion about it in my library’s new film discussion group…but really, you should watch it for yourself and see why it’s such an amazing movie. And if you’ve already seen it, go ahead and watch it again, it’s so good that it stands up to repeat viewing extremely well.

*Who also, interestingly enough, wrote the novel Planet of the Apes.

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