Although made in 1956, A Town Like Alice
has remained enduringly effective and affecting. Based on Nevil Shute's novel
the story revolves around a romance set against the unlikely backdrop of a forced march through the jungles of Malaysia by British prisoners--mostly women and children--captured by the invading forces of Japan. The title is a reference to the homesick yearnings of Australian soldier Joe Harman, played by Peter Finch. He forms a bond with one of the female prisoners, Jean Paget (Virginia McKenna), and their travails are depicted with a remarkable subtlety and commendable lack of corniness. It's a minor classic.
On the DVD: The black-and-white picture is presented in 4:3 format, with English subtitles if required. Extra features include a 25-minute "making of" documentary, a collection of behind-the-scenes photographs, potted biographies of the cast and crew and the original trailer. --Andrew Mueller
United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Black & White, Cast/Crew Interview(s), Documentary, Interactive Menu, Photo Gallery, Scene Access, Special Edition, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: A harrowing WWII drama that was a huge critical and commercial success in England, this British production was based on a novel by Nevil Shute. During the war, a group of prisoners, mostly women and children, are led by Japanese soldiers on a brutal march through Malaysia. Some die by the roadside and others are sadistically tortured. One of the women, Jean Paget (Virginia McKenna), is befriended by an Australian man who is also a prisoner of war, Joe Harman (Peter Finch). Joe tells Jean about his hometown of Alice Springs, an oasis in the Australian outback. When he steals a chicken to feed Jean and the others, Joe is caught and treated ruthlessly. The Japanese force Jean and the others to march on while Joe is put on a crucifix and left to die. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, ...A Town Like Alice (UK) ( Rape of Malaya )