Review: ‘The Juggler’

The Juggler deals with a man who has become a neurotic from his long imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps, and how he gradually comes to realize his illness and seek help from new-found friends. The story-telling [from the novel by Michael Blankfort] has one serious flaw. It fails to establish early the nature and cause of Kirk Douglas' illness and, as a result, his acts of violence have an adverse reaction, instead of gaining sympathy.

The Juggler deals with a man who has become a neurotic from his long imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps, and how he gradually comes to realize his illness and seek help from new-found friends. The story-telling [from the novel by Michael Blankfort] has one serious flaw. It fails to establish early the nature and cause of Kirk Douglas’ illness and, as a result, his acts of violence have an adverse reaction, instead of gaining sympathy.

Once a famous European juggler, Douglas arrives with other DPs for refuge in Israel. While in a temporary camp, his strange actions arouse interest of the camp psychiatrist. Douglas denies any illness and runs away. In his flight across the country, he takes up with Joey Walsh, a young orphan, and together they head north for Nazareth where Douglas hopes to lose himself.

Douglas, under Edward Dmytryk’s well-coordinated direction, does an excellent job of selling the erratic character of the juggler. Milly Vitale is very appealing as the girl Douglas meets on a kibbutz.

The camerawork of Roy Hunt flows freely over the Israel countryside, giving an authentic, almost documentary flavor to the story.

The Juggler

Production

Kramer/Columbia. Director Edward Dmytryk; Producer Stanley Kramer; Screenplay Michael Blankfort; Camera Roy Hunt; Editor Aaron Stell; Music George Antheil; Art Director Rudolph Sternad

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1953. Running time: 84 MIN.

With

Kirk Douglas Milly Vitale Paul Stewart Joey Walsh Alf Kjellin
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