Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Thornton Wilder, "The Bridge of San Luis Rey" tells the story of a rickety bridge that has spanned a deep gorge for ages. When the bridge suddenly collapses--plunging five peopl... more »e to their deaths--the tragedy causes a wave of superstition to engulf the villagers as they believe they are destined for continued misfortune. Only a priest can find the connections to divine intervention that will quell the townspeople's fears.« less
Jim S. from BARNARDSVILLE, NC Reviewed on 3/20/2013...
A step back in time. Really enjoyed it
Worth Watching Even In Truncated Form
Kevin Killian | San Francisco, CA United States | 05/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rowland V. Lee screwed up many motion pictures but this isn't one of them. How often do you see the screen legends Akim Tamiroff and Nazimova together in one film? At the very end of her long, illustrious career, Nazimova girded her loins and lent her indelible presence to a final bunch of films (after what amounted to a blacklist on account of her wayward sexuality). THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY is one of her better projects and its decadent sensibility is a good match for the cagaries of her screen image. As he did his later novel, THE EIGHTH DAY, Thornton Wilder used the apparently simple story of five people meeting by accident and dying together to ask some thought-provoking questions about fate and chance. Why do we do the things we do? Are we moved by some higher (or lower) purpose? Is destiny irreversible? If we all meet the same death, what is the sense in leading a good life? Do individual lives have any meaning? Wilder's themes spoke to a wartime audience as few other authors. (His play OUR TOWN was the most performed American play during World War II.)
Lynn Bari is just as lovely here as she was in HELLO, FRISCO, HELLO. I never could understand why she never became a bigger star! Now we remember her only vaguely as the woman who married Sid Luft before Judy Garland did. In THE BRIDGE ON SAN LUIS REY she has what amounts to the leading part, and she acquits herself admirably, her Spanish accent soft but convincing. Watch for Abner Biberman in a small part. Biberman's name doesn't mean much now as an actor, but after the actual, McCarthy inspired blacklist, he rose to the occasion and directed the notorious SALT OF THE EARTH, one of the few independent pictures of the early 1950s worth watching today.
This DVD edition is nothing to write home about; it has long been rumored that more of Wilder's novel was actually filmed, then cut to keep the movie under a trim 90 minutes. But lovers of the novel have never felt Lee's film version to be an adequate representation of the rich character development of the book."
Possibly the worst adaptation ever made of a great novel!
Edward J. Miller | 08/31/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This truly awful movie uses Thornton Wilder's name over the title so you will believe the story that unfolds is Wilder's. Not so! The film bears virtually no resemblance to the novel. Characters are changed beyond recognition, and the story line of the movie might as well have come from some potboiler written by a hack writer (and I'm certain some hack screenwriter wrote the film!). All the great ideas Wilder brilliantly dramatized in the novel have been jettisoned for lurid melodrama badly acted by an almost totally forgettable cast. That this travesty of a film should be released in any format when far more deserving films are left begging shows that someone isn't using their noodle. The first film of this great book was done in 1929 and won two of the first technical Oscars. That film (from MGM) is now unfortunately obsolete. This DVD version not only deserves no awards whatsoever, but should be made instantly obsolete. Don't even bother to rent this movie. Read the book instead."
A bland movie that loosely follows the book
gac1003 | 03/14/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"In 1774 Peru, five people are crossing the hundred-year-old bridge of San Luis Rey when it suddenly collapses, plunging the five to their deaths. Witness to this startling event is Brother Juniper who decides to find out why God has chosen those particular five people to bring into His realm. He travels to Lima to meet with Uncle Pio, a local character who knows everyone and everything surrounding Lima. From Pio, Brother Juniper learns how the lives of the five were connected to one another.Sort of. The movie focuses on only four of the characters, and three of them in a very secondary sort of way. The fifth character, an old man who was transporting grain, is mentioned only in passing. To me that was disappointing, after having read the book, because each of the characters has his or her own unique story which connects with the others. The acting is very wooden, with too many varying accents and some with no accents at all, so it's difficult to believe the film takes place in Peru. (The Spanish viceroy looks and talks decidedly British, whereas Micaela has an American accent, and Uncle Pio sounds Russian when he speaks.)The one good aspect from this film is the score by Dimitri Tiomkin, which was nominated for an Academy Award. However, even that gets marred by the poor sound quality of this DVD transfer. It fades in and out too much, and at times, I could not hear what was being said.See this movie if you must, but the book is better."
Edward J. Miller | ventura, ca United States | 06/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I was growing up, this was the first movie other than superficial entertainment that I ever saw. I was so impressed with all the moral implications and human emotions, that I never forgot it ! Seeing it again, after all these years, I found itevery bit as gripping, and the D V D made it even more enjoyable. Of special note is the acting of a great actor, Francis Lederer."
Edward J. Miller | 06/20/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What was a boring book to read in school several (several) years ago is now available on DVD/VHS.This version is very true to the stories of the book, keeping track of all the participants from their intoduction until they perish at the infamous bridge. It is not a terror-laden nail biter of today's standard, but an interesting character study of people, places and events that can (and will) change our lives...You even forget that it's in black and white."