Reunion (1989 film)

Reunion is a 1989 British dramatic film based on the 1971 novel of the same name by Fred Uhlman, directed by Jerry Schatzberg from a screenplay by Harold Pinter. It stars Jason Robards. The film was released in France under the title L' Ami Retrouvé and in Germany as Der wiedergefundene Freund.[1]

Poster for Reunion 1989
Directed byJerry Schatzberg
Screenplay byHarold Pinter
Based onthe novel by Fred Uhlman
Produced byAnne Francois
StarringJason Robards
Samuel West
Christien Anholt
Francoise Fabian
CinematographyBruno De Keyzer
Edited byMartine Barraque
Music byPhilippe Sarde
Distributed byRank Film Distributors Ltd
Release date
6 July 1989 (UK release)
Running time
110 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
West Germany

The story is centred on the "enchanted friendship" of two teenagers in 1933 Germany. Hans Strauss (Christien Anholt) is the son of a Jewish doctor and Konradin Von Lohenburg (Samuel West) is from an aristocratic family. The background is the rise of Nazism. Jason Robards plays the older Hans in the 1970s as he prepares to travel to Germany for the first time since the 1930s.[2] The film was shot on location in Berlin, New York and Stuttgart.[3] Reunion was nominated for a Golden Palm at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival.[4]


American lawyer Henry Strauss (Robards) is preparing to return to Germany for the first time since he left in 1933 following Adolf Hitler's rise to power. He is seeking to renew an "enchanting friendship" of his youth with aristocrat Konradin Von Lohenburg (West).

Strauss was the son of a Jewish doctor and the friends did not see that around them the rise of Nazism would lead to their separation. Their travels together and philosophical discussions against the elegant background of 1930s Stuttgart form the main part of the film, told in flashback.

The older Henry's search for his childhood friend leads to a startling revelation as he discovers what became of Konradin after Hitler took power.


Critical receptionEdit

  • Time Out said of the film - "This moving rendition of Fred Uhlman's novel, about boyhood friendship betrayed under the destructive momentum of Nazism, shows Schatzberg at his (albeit limited) best." "Harold Pinter's tight and unobtrusive script, Trauner's fine production design and Philippe Sarde's muted but expressive score ensure a feeling of all-round professionalism."[5]
  • The New York Times said "'Reunion' is gratifying in the small ways most familiar from public-television's depictions of English upper-class behavior. The offhanded elegance of its settings, and the attractive crispness of its schoolboy manners ("Oh, he just rants and raves, doesn't he?" one of the film's cavalier young characters says about Hitler) are a major part of its gently decorative appeal."[2]
  • Channel 4 said "Nothing in Schatzberg's filmography makes the heart leap, but this film - adapted by Pinter from an autobiographical novel by Ulman - stands out above the rest. It's a quietly decent film that takes place primarily (via a flashback) in the early 1930s."[6]


  1. ^ "Reunion (1989)". Retrieved 20 March 2009.
  2. ^ a b Masun, Janet (15 March 1991). "Film; Memories Both Painful And Pretty In 'Reunion'". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 March 2009.
  3. ^ "Reunion - 1991 - Jason Robards, Jerry Schatzberg - Variety Profiles". Retrieved 20 March 2009.[dead link]
  4. ^ "Reunion : Film details 1989". Festival de Cannes. Retrieved 20 March 2009.
  5. ^ "Reunion Review". Time Out London. Retrieved 20 March 2009.
  6. ^ "Reunion Movie Review (1989)". Channel 4 Film. Retrieved 20 March 2009.

External linksEdit