Not one to roll her political ideas off the dummy tongues of puppets masquerading as characters, Lillian Hellman has transformed her stage success of a few seasons back into an interesting as well as an intelligent movie. "The Searching Wind" is essentially a point of view rather than a story, but its propaganda is never prosaic.
Miss Hellman says that the American tendency to look the other way during the prewar years had a lot to do with the war, and that our diplomats had better take off their blinders if we want peace. She says it by showing a diplomat, in the center of Europe throughout the twenties and thirties, but completely oblivious to the malignant growth of militarism. Constantly prodded through Miss Hellman by the woman he loves, but never marries, he continues blithely to believe in conciliation until the war breaks out. His wife, a social lioness, is equally calm. Both remain blind to their mistakes until their son, seriously injured in the war, condemns them for placidity and denseness.
The concept is cogent if not staggeringly original, and on-the-spot scenes in Berlin, Rome, and Madrid add force to the picture. Ann Richards contributes one of the most perfect speaking voices ever recorded, Sylvia Sidney an excellent performance, and Robert Young a debonair priggishness. He is the very model of a blind American ambassador.