Paper Tiger (1975) Film Review

Rating PG
Length 1h39
Release 1.5.1975
Director Ken Annakin
About An English man tutors the son of a Japanese ambassador. He boasts about his heroic service in the British Army, but painful truths are revealed when he and the boy are kidnapped by political terrorists, so he needs to play the hero.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

The Good

  • David Niven is as charming as always. He’s the British answer to James Stewart. Watching him in this film soothes the soul in a way no film today ever could. Unfortunately, while he makes the whole thing watchable, Niven also causes a lot of my problems with the film.
  • The relationship between the teacher and student is adorable. The development of the admiration Koichi has for his new teacher is something you don’t often see in these types of films today. It’s really refreshing to not have the child at odds with the adult.
  • There’s a few times in which Niven’s character thwarts the terrorist actions, simply by accident. I loved this moments and actually wish there were a few more of these.

The Bad

  • It takes almost too long for the boy, and teacher, to be kidnapped. I understand there’s a need to show how important the relationship has become between the two, and establish that Bradbury is embellishing his past heroics, but I’m certain that could have been done in a much better way.

The Ugly

  • I don’t understand the whole Bradbury lying about his wartime experience. Partly it is down to the charming persona David Niven provides, also knowing Niven did indeed reenlist at the start of WWII makes it hard to believe that he’s simply a coward.
    I don’t see how his participation in the war would have an impact on his employment and it certainly not a lie he carries well: literally everyone suspects him of not telling the truth.

Final Thoughts

As a film for a lazy Sunday morning goes; it wasn’t too bad. However, if you want to see David Niven, there are much better films out there to pick from.

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