Time Limit Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ March 11, 2010
Good if unexceptional war crimes drama. Solid performances from the always fine Richard Widmark as well as Richard Basehart, Martin Balsam and an impossibly young Rip Torn.
½ June 27, 2010
Too many times, I have been somewhat disappointed by a so-called old school classic movie that I finally get around to watching. Then there are those rare moments where I stumble across a film I've never heard of, and I come away pleasantly surprised. Time Limit, directed by Karl Malden and starring Richard Widmark, Rip Torn, and Richard Basehart, falls into the latter group. While a little heavy on the dialog, it's a fine film that deserves more notoriety.

Widmark stars as a Colonel Edwards, who must decide whether Major Cargill, played by Basehart, should be court marshaled for treason for his unpatriotic deeds while in a Korean War POW camp. Other significant players are Rip Torn as one of his accusers, Carl Benton Reid as Edwards' superior, and Dolores Michaels as the stunning Corporal Evans. June Lockhart has a single scene as Cargill's troubled wife. Martin Balsam gets plenty of face time as the needling Sergeant Baker.

No need to give away the particulars of the case and partially ruin the movie, but it will be suffice to say that there are a couple of twists and turns that you half expect are coming, but they should provide plenty of surprise nonetheless.

This film compares favorably to the similar but more highly regarded Stalag 17. I only wish we had more insight into the events inside the camp. Most of the film, in fact, takes place inside Colonel Edwards' office. What we do see of the POW camp is certainly more realistic and gritty then what we got in the Stalag film.

Time Limit is a little heavy on the melodramatic dialog, but it is compelling, thought provoking material. The dialog, however, might have carried more weight if we had a little less of it, and more substantial scenes from inside that camp.
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