Four In A Jeep

1919. FOUR IN A JEEP (1951-Switzerland}. With VIVECA LINDFORS, RALPH MEEKER, MICHAEL MEDWIN. Directed by LEOPOLD LINDTBERG. After World War II, Vienna was divided into four sections, each controlled by one Of the victorious Allied powers. The oldest part Of the city was (known as the International Section, and was jointly controlled by the four powers. This is the setting for this compelling, riveting drama. Four M.P.s, one from each nation and each a member Of the Inter-Allied Military Police, share a jeep while on patrol in the International Section. Their everyday routine is disrupted when they come upon Franziska Idinger, a scared, troubled, young Austrian woman. She has just learned that her husband has escaped from a Russian prison camp, where he has been for five years. Her anxiety over his safety serves as the impetus for growing tension between the American and Russian M.P.s. The former is sympathetic to Frau Idinger’s plight; the latter, a stuffy bureaucrat with ice water in his veins, just may do whatever he can to botch up her life. Back in 1951, the Cold War was rapidly heating up, and the anxiety between them reflects the increasingly antagonistic relationship between their nations. At its best, the film effectively captures the manner in which the lives Of otherwise ordinary, decent human beings are irrevocably and tragically altered in time Of war. This is most poignantly captured in one gut-wrenching sequence, which depicts the arrival home Of former P.O.W.s, their bodies and spirits broken, who are returning to their loved ones after years Of suffering. The film is extremely well-directed by Vienna-born Leopold Lindtberg, who had settled in Switzerland upon the rise Of Hitler, where he continued to make movies; its on- location filming also helps infuse the film with a sense Of harsh reality and urgency. Most deservedly, it won a best film prize at the Berlin Film Festival, while the British Film academy honored it with its United Nations Award. 81 minutes. Drama