Synopsis by Mark Deming
The beauty of classical music confronts the ugliness and treachery of war in this unusual drama. Lionel Evans (Charlton Heston) is the director of a well-respected symphony orchestra touring European concert halls in 1944. In the midst of one concert, the city where they are playing is attacked by German troops, and as Evans and his musicians try to escape, they are captured by Nazi soldiers led by Col. Arndt (Anton Diffring). Evans and the orchestra are taken to a castle where they are to bide their time before being executed; but it turns out that Arndt's superior, Gen. Schiller (Maximilian Schell), is a classical music buff. Schiller commands Evans and his symphony to prepare a special concert for the Nazis, but Evans realizes that the moment the concert is over, he and his musicians will be killed. The orchestra's performances, which include works by Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Brahms, Wagner, and Schubert, were performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.
war, battle-of-wills, bomb, capture, classical-music, mass-grave, performer, prison, soldier, USO-tour, concert, conductor [music], Germany, music, orchestra, symphony, symphony-conductor