Cinema: Sleight-of-Tongue Artist

Before Winter Comes is a film to be remembered—rather than seen. It has a vague plot, conventional camerawork and a feeble scenario. But it also serves as the major debut of a major performer: Israeli Actor Topol.

Topol has starred before—in Sallah, a minor movie produced and shot in his homeland. But this is his first leading role in an international big-budget project. It is difficult to see where the money went. Certainly little of it was spent developing the story. In an army camp, circa 1945, a British major (David Niven) tries to impose order on an overflow of displaced persons....

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