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Friday, February 6, 2009

VALAHOL EUROPABAN/SOMEWHERE IN EUROPE (1947)

Geza von Radvanyi 's heartfelt, but seriously schizophrenic film from Hungary about a ragtag band of homeless boys (and one disguised girl) who roam the countryside scavenging for their survival during the anarchic endgame of WWII. Though they are barely making a go of it, their fierce reputation has terrified the territory and caused the remnants of law & order to hunt them down as if they were rabid animals. The film moves in fits & starts as pitiless scenes of misery alternate with cloying sentimental claptrap & youthful camaraderie. It’s half THE LORD OF THE FLIES and half MAGYAR BOYS TOWN. (The background score is pure M-G-M/Mickey Rooney.) The smeary Facets-DVD transfer does no favors to the impressively harsh look of the film, but this one, as the Hollywood wags would have it, ‘is strictly from Hungary.’

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