CINEMA: THE ROAD TOO WELL TRAVELED

A WAR DRAMA DEFEATED BY A BARRAGE OF CLICHES

Singapore: Raffles Hotel, early 1942. The colonial swells are having a party--black ties, a ricky-ticky dance band lulling them with torpid tunes. As they swill their bubbly, they mutter contempt for the advancing Japanese army in smug racist terms.

Don't these folks know they're fox-trotting on the edge of a volcano? No, of course not. They never do. But we do. We've been partying with their heedless ilk on the eve of disaster since we started going to the movies. We know that when the pretty girl and the handsome lad start moonily planning their future, the crump-crump-crump of an artillery...

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