The true story of Agnes Newton Keith's imprisonment in several Japanese prisoner-of-war camps from 1941 to the end of WWII. Separated from her husband and with a young son to care for she ...
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Norman Z. McLeod
The true story of Agnes Newton Keith's imprisonment in several Japanese prisoner-of-war camps from 1941 to the end of WWII. Separated from her husband and with a young son to care for she has many difficulties to face. Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This film was considered by this film's lead actress Claudette Colbert's as one of her best films by her. After filming was complete, Colbert said to this film's director Jean Negulesco: "You know I'm not given to exaggeration, so I hope you believe me when I say that working with you has been the most stimulating and happiest experience of my entire career." See more »
Colonel Suga says he attended the University of Washington for four years and Agnes reveals that she attended Berkeley. Suga goes on to say that Cal "murdered" Washington's football team. However, Tatsugi Suga arrived at Washington in 1924 and during the next four seasons California never defeated Washington. Only one football game would fit Suga's description: a 33-0 loss in 1933. See more »
Agnes Newton Keith:
Six-degrees north of the Equator, in the heart of the East Indies, lies Sandakan, the tiny capital of British North Borneo. In Sandakan in 1941, there were 15 thousand Asiatics, 79 Europeans, and 1 American. I was the American. My name is Agnes Keith. I was born in Oak Park, Illinois, and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. My husband is Harry Keith, a colonial official of British North Borneo. Borneo became my home when Harry and I were married. And it was in ...
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Good performances and scripting enhance this tale of hardship and endurance set in a Japanese internment camp in Borneo during World War II. Miss Colbert's performance in particular is always convincing and often riveting. Also noteworthy is Sessue Hayakawa's sensitive portrayal of the outwardly stern but inwardly humane Col. Suga.
Considering that this film was released only five years after the end of World War II, when anti-Japanese feeling was still very much present in the U.S., it's surprising that the horrors of life in Japanese captivity aren't played up more. Several instances of casual and calculated brutality are shown, but there is little here to compare with the shocking (and realistic) scenes in the much more recent film "Paradise Road." And the range of characterizations among the Japanese should be a welcome surprise to those who dismiss wartime and postwar American attitudes as uniformly jingoistic and racist. Yes, some of the Japanese are wantonly cruel, but others are obviously sympathetic to the prisoners, and as noted above, Col. Suga emerges not only as a reasonable commander but also as a noble man who can resist the temptation to take out his own grief and anger on the prisoners. Sadly, there were few men like Col. Suga in the real Borneo camps.
One unfortunate oversight: the action of the film covers almost four years of imprisonment and deprivation, but the prisoners appear just about as well-fed and energetic at the end as when they arrived.
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