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The Moviegoer

"4 in a Jeep"

By Laurence D. Savadove

"4 in a Jeep" tells two stories in five languages. Neither story is very logical and the dialogue is too complicated for the occasional English subtitles to explain.

The main story tries to show a growing feud between a Russian MP and an American MP, former war-time friends patrolling Vienna together, which almost develops into an East-West war. There is also an Englishman and a Frenchman around for the ride. The other tale concerns a lovely young Viennese woman who fears her husband may never come home from a Russian prison camp.

Viveca Lindfors, as the young wife confused by the mixed occupation, supports the secondary story with her convincing portrayal, but Ralph Meeker cannot do as well with his end of the deal. He is far too deliberate to be the impulsive American his jeep-mates are always talking about.

The stage is Vienna, but it hardly looks like the Vienna of Carol Reed's "The Third Man." Director Leopold Lindtberg missed all the city's glamour and mystery that Reed caught.

Only one scene is worthwhile. The bereaved wife, still hoping her husband is alive, goes to the railroad station to meet the last trainload of released prisoners. With alternate shorts of ragged, bearded men finding their families and the despairing woman looking for her husband, Lindtberg achieves a rare atmosphere of suspense, joy, and tragedy.

The final scenes move too rapidly and in too many languages to clarify the outcome of either story, but the celluloid cliches of bombed-out, reviving Vienna point to the hope that the American and Russian are again friends. The audience is left to figure out the young lady's fate.

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