The Search

Watch The Search

  • Approved
  • 1948
  • 1 hr 44 min
  • 7.8  (4,825)

The Search is a 1948 drama film that tells the story of a young boy who is separated from his mother during World War II and the American soldier who helps reunite them. The movie stars Montgomery Clift as Ralph "Steve" Stevenson, a soldier who has taken on the task of finding lost children in post-war Germany. When he comes across a young Czech boy named Karel (played by non-professional actor Ivan Jandl), he takes him in and tries to help him find his mother.

The film opens with aerial shots of post-war Berlin before zooming in on Steve as he searches through a crowded train station for children who have been separated from their families. He shows Karel a photo of his mother and asks if he recognizes her, but the boy is too traumatized to respond. Steve takes Karel to a center where children are cared for by volunteers and meets a compassionate woman named Mrs. Murray (Aline MacMahon) who helps him communicate with the boy.

As Steve spends more time with Karel, he begins to bond with him and sees him as a surrogate son. He takes the boy to a zoo, buys him a toy truck and even teaches him how to dance. However, their relationship is tested when Karel's mother is finally located in a refugee camp and Steve must confront the difficult task of separating the two.

The Search is a powerful film that deals with themes of loss, trauma, and the human capacity for compassion. It is a rare movie that emphasizes the plight of children during wartime and the psychological toll that it can have on them. The film is also notable for its documentary-style approach, using real locations and non-professional actors to capture the authenticity of post-war Berlin.

Montgomery Clift's performance as Steve is one of the highlights of the film. He brings a sensitivity and vulnerability to the role, making it clear that Steve's mission is not just a duty but a personal calling. Ivan Jandl, who was chosen for the role of Karel after a casting call that drew over 30,000 children, gives a remarkable performance as the traumatized boy. His naturalistic acting style adds to the film's authenticity and emotional impact.

Aline MacMahon's portrayal of Mrs. Murray provides a compassionate counterpoint to Steve's more pragmatic approach. She is the one who helps Karel work through his trauma and provides a maternal figure for the boy. Her scenes with Jandl are some of the film's most touching moments.

The Search was directed by Fred Zinnemann, who would later win an Oscar for From Here to Eternity. Zinnemann's talent for capturing the humanity of his characters is evident in The Search, particularly in the scenes between Steve and Karel. His use of real locations and non-professional actors gives the film an authenticity that makes it all the more powerful.

The Search was released at a time when audiences were hungry for movies that dealt with the aftermath of World War II. It was seen as a hopeful film that showed the resilience of human nature in the face of tragedy. The movie's message of compassion and empathy is just as relevant today as it was when it was first released.

Overall, The Search is a deeply moving and humane film that explores the human toll of war in a way that is both realistic and inspirational. The performances of the three main actors are outstanding, and the direction by Zinnemann is masterful. It is a film that deserves to be seen by anyone who cares about the human condition.

The Search is a 1948 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 44 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.8.

The Search
Where to Watch The Search
The Search is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Search for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 44 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.8  (4,825)