Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


TIME LIMIT (1957). Director: Karl Malden.

Colonel Bill Edwards (Richard Widmark, pictured, who also co-produced) leads an investigation into the charges that Major Cargill (Richard Basehart) collaborated with the enemy while a POW during the Korean War. Edwards wants to give the man a fair hearing, but he isn't helped by the fact that Cargill not only won't defend himself but seems to be hiding something. This is an excellent adaptation of a very strong play that is both intelligent, uncompromising, and compassionate, and poses a poignant moral dilemma to boot. Widmark has never been better, Basehart is wonderful, and the entire cast is top-notch: Martin Balsam as Edwards' assistant, Sgt. Baker; Dolores Michaels as his secretary, Corporal Evans; Rip Torn as Lt. Miller, one of the men who served under Cargill; June Lockhart as Cargill's wife; and especially Carl Benton Reid as General Connors, whose son died in the same POW camp where Cargill was imprisoned. This was the only film Karl Malden, who does not appear in the film, ever directed, and he does a fine job. Powerful, moving material with a peerless cast.

Verdict: Strong stuff. ***1/2.

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