- Movie Rating -

Night Crossing (1982)

| February 5, 1982

Night Crossing was an attempt by the Walt Disney Company to abandon it’s past, to move onto more seriously and modern stories far from sentient Volkswagens and Apple Dumpling Gangs.  But I am not sure that this was really a step in the right direction (which is a sentence that I write with a giggle).  Here is a movie that takes a very serious story – people trying to escape from East Germany – and gives it an adventure treatment fit for Swiss Family Robinson.  I have every reason to think that this movie might thrill your average eight-year-old but, give them time, they’ll grow up eventually.

The story opens with some backstory, about what happened that closed up the borders of East and West Germany before we are introduced to two families, The Strelzyks and the Wetzels, who are determined to use a hot air balloon to escape from communist East Germany.

Okay, so not such a bad story and, we’re told, this is based on a true story.  But the real deal had to be much more exciting than this, and more authentic.  For one thing, most of the actors are Americans with American accents save for John Hurt who is English.  For another thing, the movie leans on a piffling emotional orchestral score provided by the great Jerry Goldsmith every time someone wants to make a point or land an emotional payoff.

Look, I am not unsympathetic to the plight here.  I could understand a family wanting to escape East Germany.  But did it have to feel like such a trifling boy’s adventure story?  I think the material is way too serious for this kind of family entertainment.  Let’s put it this way, I shouldn’t be giggling at a movie like this.  That’s how you know it’s not working.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1982) View IMDB Filed in: Action, Drama