Review: ‘Hanoi Hilton’

The Hanoi Hilton is a lame attempt by writer-director Lionel Chetwynd to tell the story of US prisoners in Hoa Lo Prison, in Hanoi during the Vietnam War. Pic is a slanted view of traditional prison camp sagas, injecting lots of hindsight and taking right-wing potshots that do a disservice to the very human drama of the subject.

The Hanoi Hilton is a lame attempt by writer-director Lionel Chetwynd to tell the story of US prisoners in Hoa Lo Prison, in Hanoi during the Vietnam War. Pic is a slanted view of traditional prison camp sagas, injecting lots of hindsight and taking right-wing potshots that do a disservice to the very human drama of the subject.

Michael Moriarty heads a curiously bland cast. He’s thrust into a position of authority when the ranking officer played by Lawrence Pressman is taken off to be tortured. Episodic structure introduces new prisoners as more pilots are shot down over a roughly 10-year span (including some comic relief such as one prisoner who says he fell off his ship accidentally and was captured).

Pic is desperately lacking side issues or subplots of interest with Chetwynd monotonously hammering away at the main issue of survival in the face of inhuman treatment.

Hanoi Hilton

Production

Cannon. Dir Lionel Chetwynd; Producer Menahem Golan, Yoram Globus; Screenplay Lionel Chetwynd; Camera Mark Irwin; Editor Penelope Shaw; Music Jimmy Webb Art Dir R. Clifford Searcy

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1987. Running time: 123 MIN.

With

Michael Moriarty Jeffrey Jones Paul Le Mat Stephen Davies Lawrence Pressman Aki Aleong
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