OVER the years, Hungarian films which have reached Western screens have been few and outstanding. The Round-Up ( " X " , Academy One) is no exception.
It would be difficult to convey the fascination of such a stark tale of life in a Hungarian prison camp in the 1860's. Hungarian independence is already a factKossuth's Rising has been over these 20 years, though —as after other wars and risings—bandits and their outlawed gangs are still at large.
The authorities determine, by putting through a hair sieve the inmates of a large country gaol, to sift out of its mixed gathering of peasants the followers of the most considerable rebel leader still at large.
This operation is carried out Gradually it gathers enough momentum to take galloping horsemen and a small military band into its carefully paced stride. This film certainly makes me eager to see Jancso's two previous movies — and others in the future.
Two distinct Hollywood forms also go to make up Alvarez Kelly ("A", London Pavilion): the Western and the Civil War romance. Not that this movie concentrates very seriously on either form. but rather drives the cattle of Irish-Mexican Kelly (William Holden) right through the ranks of both North and South.
Both sides covet the cattle, but Southern Col. Rossiter (Richard Widmark) kidnaps Kelly. Rivalry between the two men for guns (Kelly's finger for Rossiter's eye) and belles (Janice Rule and Victoria Shaw) keeps them busy until the opportunity to stampede the cattle under the nose of the Northern officer (Patrick O'Neal).
it is all just another slice of time out of the margins of the Civil War. There is a fundamental flippancy about the treatment which might accord with director Edward Dmytryk's attitude to such wellworn Hollywood themes.
But Mr. Dmytryk is also a very talented director. His expertise and that of his cast make the surface of the adventure a good deal more enjoyable than its substance has any right to be.
I liked Jance Rule as the off-beat belle. The remains of the lounge suit in which Mr. Holders goes through gunfire and water looked to me incorrigibly anachronistic. But perhaps it is the actor himself who does not have a very keen sense of period.
Charles Vine (Tom Adams), hero of Where the Bullets Fly ("A", New Victoria), first appeared, I understand, in a picture called "Licensed to Murder" in this country but, in America "The Second Worst Secret Agent in the World". So it is a deliberate debunk, as almost any secret agent movie must he, after the surfeit and bondage of the past few years.
In trying to prevent a rival gang from stealing a secret Air Force formula, Vine, like his betters. tries both womanising and a magic armoury. The debunking is on no very high level of wit, but in its small way it is mildly funny.
Freda Bruce Lockhart