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THE SEARCH + The Big Lift + Wild River
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Editorial Reviews

In post-World War II Germany, a small boy who survived Auschwitz wanders alone - feral, mute and terrified. He finds a makeshift home with a big-hearted GI, while the mother he does not remember searches desperately for him. Starring a then-unknown Montgomery Clift in his movie debut, directed in a near-documentary style by Fred Zinnemann and filmed in the ragged, rubble-strewn skeleton of Nuremberg, The Search vividly captures the horrifying human cost of war. This milestone of filmmaking won two 1948 Academy Awards(r): Best Motion Picture Story and a special award to Ivan Jandl for his haunting performance as the lost child.

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Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Montgomery Clift, Aline MacMahon, Jarmila Novotna, Wendell Corey, Ivan Jandl
  • Directors: Fred Zinnemann
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM
  • DVD Release Date: December 17, 2009
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003156IKW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,148 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "THE SEARCH" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Alejandra Vernon HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 7, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
The extraordinary talents of both Fred Zinnemann and Montgomery Clift combine to make this superb, and sadly neglected film a memorable experience. Filmed in the U.S. occupied zone of Berlin, it shows the devastated city in the aftermath of World War II, and the suffering of its lost and orphaned children.
The plot concerns a 9 year old boy, who has amnesia, and his relationship with an American soldier, and there is a secondary plot of his mother, who is looking for him. It is sentimental, but escapes being contrived or cloying, and I find myself repeatedly moved to tears with every viewing of it.
As with so many of Zinnemann's films, the black and white cinematography (by Emil Berna) has a simple, stark beauty. Both Zinnemann and Clift, whose incredibly sensitive portrayal of the soldier is riveting, were nominated for Oscars, but lost to John Huston (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre) and Laurence Olivier (Hamlet).
A special juvenile Oscar went to Ivan Jandl, who so convincingly plays the little boy, and it was to be the only film he would ever act in.
This was the first time movie audiences had a chance to see the handome Clift; even though he had already filmed Howard Hawks' Red River, this film was released first, and it is a must-see for fans of this graceful, fabulous actor. Also highly recommended is his first film with Elizabeth Taylor, A Place in the Sun.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Eden on December 6, 2003
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
The Search is the most relevant, effective and truthful film made about Europe in the aftermath of World War II. Fred Zinneman was inspired to cast the great opera singer, Jarmila Novotna, as the mother of a Czech intellectual family ruined by Hitler's war. The film, based on a true story, shows the tragic story of holocaust for millions in Europe, regardless of race or religion, and depicts the desperation and trauma of the survivors who became 'displaced persons'. Her husband and daughter killed in the camps, Novotna sets out after liberation to find her surviving young son. The boy, traumatised, wanders through the ruins of Central Europe where he is befriended by Montgomery Clift's sympathetic GI, in his extraordinary film debut. The innocent American must cope with the horror and cynicism of post-war Europe while, unbeknowns to him, the mother clings to faith in his lost son's survival and continues her search. The delicacy and perceptiveness of the treatment is exceptional, increasing tension at a brilliantly judged pace until a cathartic conclusion is achieved. No one seeing this film will ever forget it. It deserves re-release in a new print.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Martin Asiner on March 26, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
When the Second World War in Europe had ended, the struggle for survival did not end with the suicide of Hitler. For hundreds of thousands of civilians, the war had separated families, with parents and children in search of each other. In THE SEARCH, director Fred Zinnemann presents a stark and depressing montage of a war blasted Berlin full of helpless and hapless lost souls. Jamilla Novotna is Mrs. Malik, a Czechk woman who has lost her husband to the war and is determined not to lose her son, Karil (Ivan Jandl), even though she has not seen him for many months nor does she have a reasonable basis to assume that he still lives. She trudges through one whistle stop after another never giving up. Novotna's performance is stunning on several levels. At no time does she come off as a self-deluded figure who ignores the lack of evidence for her son's survival. There are times when she is overwhelmed with despair but her inner sense of grittiness pushes her on. She is a kind woman whom people, especially children, gravitate towards. Unknown to her, her son Karil lives in a nearby Displaced Person orphanage. He runs away only to be befriended by an American soldier (Montgomery Clift), who promptly provides the needed father image in the boy's life. The movie is really a character magnet, with the mother seeking the boy from a long distance and the American soldier having the attraction to the boy up close.

THE SEARCH is a sentimental look at a most unsentimental era in European history. It would have been too easy for director Zinnemann to be cloying in the mother-son's eventual reunion. Instead, the resolution is anticipated and eagerly sought for.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By KateW on January 21, 2010
Format: DVD
"The Search" (released in 1948) stars a very young Montgomery Clift and is not to be confused with the much more famous "The Searchers," a 1958 John Wayne/John Ford western.

"The Search" was filmed in black-and-white on location in a still-war-devastated Europe. The director was Fred Zinnemann, one of the greatest (and most versatile) directors in movie history. Zinnemann's credits include "High Noon," "A Man for All Seasons" and "From Here to Eternity," as well as the musical "Oklahoma!" and the fantastic 1970's thriller "Day of the Jackal." (I told you he was versatile.)

The story of "The Search" is a simple one. Clift is a likable American GI still in Europe after WWII. He encounters an Eastern European boy (a displaced person or DP) who's assumed to be an orphan. Clift befriends the boy and wants to adopt him and take him back to the USA. But, at the same time, we (the audience) know that the boy's mother is alive and searching for him. The story is told in a straightforward, realistic and unsentimental way. As a result, the emotional impact is heightened, not diminished. Clift is wonderful; along with "Red River," this movie made him a star.

I once read a review of this movie that says it all: "You're made of stone if this one doesn't move you."
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