Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.So you wait for one James Stewart movie to come along on the TV and then two come in relatively quick succession.
This time he plays an army engineer in China in World war 2, charged with his group with blowing things up to delay the advancing Japanese. Personally I didn’t know that the Americans were in China at that time. Doesn’t matter either way in relation to this movie. Neither I suppose is the fact that the Communists and anti-communist factions in China fought against Japan. For the most part nuance does not play a part here.
It’s also in black and white. Which for me for that time is surprising given that James Stewart is a star. You would have thought that for a film with obviously a lot of explosions in it colour would have been better.
Co-opted into the group is the widow of a Chinese soldier. Presumably there to play “mysterious Chinese woman” which there always seems to be in American films. She is quiet one moment only to surprise the group by speaking English!
There are moments when I wonder whether this movie is quietly racist. It definitely tries to unfurl the star spangled banner. American roads apparently are better than Chinese roads because there are no natural disasters there. What? Ask that to people who’s lives were destroyed by forest fires. James Stewart says not to worry as America will come back and build roads. Really?
There is also a scene where the American soldiers are shocked by the Chinese villagers acting feral when presented with stocks of food. Well what did they expect? When you live in a place racked by starvation and war civilisation has to take a back seat.
Commercial Break: There are a series of ads for a Vanquis Credit Card. It’s set in a Game of Thrones sort of medieval world (without dragons) where some people live in castles and others live in huts.
And yet in this world some kind of mysterious knight type figure producing a Vanquis Credit Card or a tablet to illustrate how to get one. Well how exactly in this medieval world was the infrastructure for a Wi-fi and credit card network built?
Also If you live in a hut it would be interesting to see whether Vanquis would accept your application.
Back to the movie.
The biggest problem with The Mountain Road is the lack of tension. In terms of the plot only once was I taken by surprise.
Also this is the second movie I’ve recently watched where James Stewart (described as “young” by a Chinese general probably about the same age as him) really was unimpressive. It made me wonder whether those films where I liked his performance in were linked by having famous directors. Something I’ll be looking at in the next film of his I’d happen to see.
The other surprise was the penultimate scene which gets all reflective. But to be honest it was all too late given what happened before.
Not a movie I’d be seeing again.
Until the next time.