The Ugly American

Director: George Englund
Year Released: 1963
Rating: 2.0

Diplomat MacWhite (Marlon Brando) volunteers to go to the fictional land of "Sarkan" (in Southeast Asia) in order to work with old friend Deong (Eiji Okada) on restoring peace ... but Deong is a Communist rebel and the locals are opposed to the on-going construction of the "American Road." It should be praised for raising issues regarding American Imperialism - incidentally, this was made right around the time the U.S. was starting to get involved in Vietnam - but it didn't need the Stanley Kramer-type treatment ... you know, where it bludgeons you with its message over and over right in the head (whatever happened to subtlety?). Englund, in his first directorial effort, offers little visual panache - this isn't theatre, bud - but Brando (who was politically-active most of his life) keeps himself under control (it's the mustache, I swear). Shouldn't the title be pluralized...?