By GRACE CONWAY
A GENERATION Certificate A: Academy Director: Andrzej Wajda
THANKS to the Academy 1 cinema we are now getting a fairly clear picture of what was going on in Poland during the German occupation. The screen trilogy began with the film under review, but, owing to difficulties of one kind or another, the second and third— "Kenai" and "Ashes and Diamonds"—wcre brought over first.
The result is that the sequence is somewhat out of focus, and anyone not having seen the others in the series might find "A Generation" little but propaganda for the Communists. Until Russia came into the war Communist resistance didn't make any impression in the occupied countries, But as soon as it did the movement swung into rapid and highly qrganised action. What this film argues is that the young Communists would have nothing to do with the older nonCommunist resistance. With an ardent and extremely persooable girl leader, Dorota (Urszula Modrzynska), the young men flock round, burning with hatred of the enemy, finding nothing in religion, learning to kill, meeting death stoically enough when it came before they had even begun to savour life and their own youth.
AUDREY HEPBURN in "The Unforgiven".
Subsequent history has shown us the Communist organisation stiffening the resistance in France, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, although it has never been so frankly filmed as in this story of Poland. It would be unfair to judge the politics of the trilogy by this one film alone. In the two subsequent ones he shows how the resistance later took on the tragic aspect of fratricidal war. But, through all its phases and dedications, the Polish resistance endured until the Germans were driven out. As to the sequel as we know it today, that is another matter, with Polish history still in the making. "A Generation" shows the beginnings of the Communist resistance through the eyes of a boy (Tadeusz Lomnicki). First one of a gang that boards moving trains to steal coal, he later steals arms for the Communists from the nationalist resistance cache, showing the complete breach between the young and the older Polish patriots. The whole trilogy is a remarkable cinematic achievement—tense, sombre, tragic, with one or two moments of sudden drama, as when the boy sees Dorota being led away by the Gestapo, or the fall to death of another youth down the spiral well of an interminable staircase. Look on this film as just one further chapter in Poland's stormy history.
THE UNFORGIVEN Certificate A: Leicester Square Theatre Director : John Huston
WELL, I never thought I'd see a grand piano out on the prairie , with someone playing Mozart on it. But Lilian Gish does just that, and it's not meant to be funny, either. As we all know, the Westerns are getting more and more highbrow and the competition to get into them is keen even among the top people So here we have Burt Lancaster (in his own company), Audrey Hepburn (exotic as an Indian girl brought up by white folk), and Lilian Gish, none of whom could act badly if they tried. A long but absorbing account of the attempts of the Indians to get the girl back. Also in the cast: Audie Murphy, John Saxon, Charles Bickford. The Indians lie thick and dead upon the ground before the eqd, and Miss Gish has taken the law into her own hands and hanged a man (who after all was innocent) and Miss Hepburn has shown herself handy with a rifle, finally shooting her Indian brother at point-blank range.