Salient: An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 12, No. 3, April 6th, 1949.
"The Search" is an emotional film. Dealing with a major modem tragedy it cannot help but be emotional. And it is in only one scene the the emotion is not completely convincing and deeply moving. That is a remarkable record.
The acting of the principals is uniformly fine: Montgomery Clift as Steve, Aline McMahon as an Unrra official, and the Czech actress Jarmila Novotna as Karel's mother.
Ivan Jandl also a Czech, plays the part of Karel with a naturalness that makes one believe that he is acting out his own life, which is, of course, as it should be. He appears as the central character in more than half of the film and gives a thoroughly sustained and intelligent performance. This is about the best job of acting I have seen by a child, Anthony Wager and John Howard Davies notwithstanding.
The unnamed city has also a large part in the film. The great piles of rubble and shattered buildings, so frighteningly real to the boy, are unreal viewed from our suburban 'out post'. Here and there people live in cellars or in huts built from bricks recovered from the wreckage. The streets are stark, grey, and about the only people in them are housewives, or ex-Wehrmacht men trudging wearily nowhere.