The Spiral Road (1962)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Since it was released in the same year as his masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), it is ironic that this drama was probably the least liked of director Robert Mulligan's films. A stiff adaptation of a novel by Dutch author Jan DeHartog, the film stars Rock Hudson as Dr. Anton Drager, an opportunistic atheist who travels with his wife Els (Gena Rowlands) to the jungles of Java in 1936. Drager is to become the new right-hand man of famed Dr. Brits Jansen (Burl Ives), a legendary humanist who works with lepers and is rumored to have done groundbreaking work that Drager believes could make him famous and wealthy. Trouble with a native witch doctor practicing black magic leads to a crisis of conscience for Drager, however, forcing him to reevaluate his self-centered philosophy. A former divinity student at New York's Fordham University, Mulligan may have been intrigued by the material's spiritual bent, but his direction is uninspired, and The Spiral Road (1962) was not considered a success.
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Action & Adventure , Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Universal

Cast

Rock Hudson
as Dr. Anton Drager
Burl Ives
as Dr. Brits Jansen
Geoffrey Keen
as Willem
Neva Patterson
as Louise Kramer
Will Kuluva
as Dr. Sordjano
Philip Abbott
as Frolick
Larry Gates
as Dr. Kramer
Karl Swenson
as Inspector Bevers
Edgar Stehli
as The Sultan
Judy Dan
as Laja
Robert Simon
as Dr. Martens
Robert F. Simon
as Dr. Martens
Reggie Nalder
as Burubi
Leon Lontol
as Dr. Hatta
David Lewis
as Maj. Vlormans
Parley Baer
as Mr. Boosmans
Fredd Wayne
as Van Bloor
Barbara Morrison
as Mrs. Boosmans
Martin Brandt
as Dr. Sander
Lang Yun
as Barmaid/Hotel Girl
Paul Keast
as Minister
David Frankham
as Drager's Replacement
Anna Shin
as Hotel Girl
David Sharpe
as Planter
Tom Steele
as Planter
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Spiral Road

All Critics (1)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
New York Times
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | August 13, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

Weird but wildly inventive tale of doctors in the jungle, with good visuals.

Full Review… | January 4, 2011
Classic Film and Television

Audience Reviews for The Spiral Road

I love this film. It has two very interesting characters with good development and well-written dialogue, played by great actors. The climax is very intense and exciting, but the film suffers from basic lack of resolution, preventing it from being great. But what I like about this film is that it's courageous. The message is clear: there is no such thing as a self-sufficient man; cut off from man and God, man becomes an animal. But life is not portrayed as simplistic here. The atheist protagonist's father was a hypocritical preacher who beat his son regularly. A Christian missionary claiming that God will protect her contracts leprosy from those whom she is trying to help. The film does not pretend that life is black and white, but it does hold to objective truth. For that, the great actors (and a very disturbing view into psychological warfare), I will watch this film many more times I'm sure.

Isaac McPheeters
Isaac McPheeters

Sprawling, well made if a bit heavy handed drama is helped by good location work and sturdy performances from Rock Hudson and Burl Ives. Gena Rowlands in one of her early roles does what she can with the thin character handed to her but the focus is really on Hudson and his journey of self awareness.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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