Columbia release of Sam Spiegel production, Stars William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins; features Sessue Hayakawa, James Donald, Andre Morell, Peter Williams, John Boxer, Percy Herbert, Harold Goodwin, Ann Sears, Henry Okawa, Keiichiro Katsumote, M.R.B. Chakrabanhu (Col. Broome), Vilaiwan Seeboonreaung, Ngamta Suphaphongs, Javanart Punynchoti, Kannikar Dowklee. Introduces Geoffrey Horne. Directed by David Lean; screenplay, Pierre Boule from his own novel; camera (Technicolor), Jack Hildyard; editor, Peter Taylor; music, Malcolm Arnold. Previewed Oct. 3l, ’57. Running time, 161 MINS.
“The Bridge on the River Kwai” is a gripping drama, expertly put together and handled with skill in all departments. Its potency stems only partly from the boxoffice draw of William Holden and, to a lesser degree, Alec Guinness. What elevates “Kwai” to the rank of an artistic and financial triumph for producer Sam Spiegel is the engrossing entertainment it purveys, including some scenes which will be listed as among the best of film memorabilia.
From a technical standpoint, it reflects the care and competence that went into the $3,000,000-plus venture, filmed against the exotic background of the steaming jungles and mountains of Ceylon. It’s a long picture — 16l minutes of footage and without the he-she angles. A story of the futility of war in general, the underlying mes-sage is never permitted to impede. The picture is loaded, but with women to be heard from.