Hiding In Harmony

Haarlem, Holland. Spring, 1940. A swastika printed on red cloth, the Nazi flag, flies over that country.

The ten Boom family listens to Queen Wilhelmina over the radio. What was once a free country, she explains, now is part of the Third Reich. Betsie, Corrie, Willem, their father, and Willem’s wife think “it can’t happen here”; the Germans will not exterminate Dutch Jews. But they soon learn how wrong they are.

The story of the ten Boom family is famous through Corrie’s book The Hiding Place. When World Wide Pictures decided to make the book into a film, some people wondered whether it would be artistically and realistically translated into celluloid. Executive producer William F. Brown, director James F. Collier, and the rest of the crew more than succeeded.

The cast is strong and effective. The sensitive actress Julie Harris stars as Betsie; Eileen Heckart is Katje, the prisoner who keeps other prisoners supplied, for a fee, with cigarettes and medicine; and Jeannette Clift is Corrie. Minor roles, too, such as the young German officer (Lex Van Delden), Eusie, the persnickety Jewish scholar (David De Keyser), and Snake, the camp matron (Carol Gillies), are well acted. Arthur O’Connell, who as Papa is the weakest member of the cast, still gives a believable, humorous performance. Technically, the film is superbly constructed; special credit goes to photography director Michael Reed and make-up artists Bunty Phillips and Phil Leakey.

Tedd Smith, who wrote the musical score, spent several months researching the story. His orchestration of the haunting melody that recurs throughout the film gives it a sense of inevitability. Only woodwinds and strings could play this refrain. Smith frequently shifts from cellos ...

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