Cinema: The Fifth Horseman Is Fear

On one level, this superlatively photographed film is about the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. On another, it is an expressionistic study of the psychological effects of calculated terror.

The story is slender: a Jewish doctor ministers illegally to a wounded fighter in the underground. But Writer-Director Zbyněk Brynych, a master of the Czech new wave, uses this somewhat shopworn situation as a structure on which to hang a number of unrelated scenes that are exceptionally powerful in both concept and execution.

On an improbable quest through Prague for morphine to ease his clandestine patient's pain, Dr. Braun seeks out his sister, who...

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