Corp. Brady (Brian Keith) an American soldier captured during the Korean War, is taken to a POF camp. There he meets Sgt. Randy (Robert Francis)a prisoner who is cooperating with the North ...
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W.S. Van Dyke
C. Aubrey Smith
Corp. Brady (Brian Keith) an American soldier captured during the Korean War, is taken to a POF camp. There he meets Sgt. Randy (Robert Francis)a prisoner who is cooperating with the North Koreans. Brady is disgusted by these actions, but he soon discovers that Rand is actually an intelligence officer playing along to access important secrets. Rand also becomes close to Tanya Clanton (Dianne Foster), the wife of an American traitor, in order to exact information.
Earlier in 1954, Robert Francis and Jack Kelly also appeared together in "They Rode West." See more »
[Sgt. Rand has unexpectedly kissed her on the mouth, leading her to believe he may be abusing his status as a "progressive" - an allied P.O.W. who's converted to Communism]
You are taking too much for granted, Sergeant.
MSgt. John A. Rand:
Yes. Because you see, I do not like "progressives."
MSgt. John A. Rand:
No foolin'. How come?
I do not like "progressives" because I hate and despise Communists. They're all of the same breed: men who have ceased to be men.
MSgt. John A. Rand:
You can get 50 years in a work camp for that.
I have been threatened ...
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It is certainly interesting to see The Bamboo Prison from a 62 year old perspective from the start of the Korean War. I doubt this film would ever be made today. Hogan's Heroes gives this film a run for verisimilitude.
By 1954 tales of the horrors and depredations that Allied prisoners endured were well known and widely circulated in America. But this was the midst of the Cold War and films about the ruthless Red Menace were pretty popular that year. But this one really stands out. It's even got a little romance in it if you can believe.
Robert Francis plays a 'progressive' which means here a prisoner who's seen the light and is now a thoroughgoing Das Kapital believing Marxist converted through reading the 'truth' about Communism in the POW camp. He's in charge of a barracks full of reactionaries meaning the prisoners who resist indoctrination and one of his rewards is decent food and a cot to sleep on.
Brian Keith is one of the other prisoners who is an agent filtered in from the allied side to get information on POW treatment as the peace talks go endlessly on at Panmunjom. How he gets it out is for you to see the film for.
There are some Russians here as well, supervising in the near distance, Commissar Murray Matheson and his wife, former Ballerina Dianne Foster who admits she married him to advance in the Soviet society. Girl's got to do what a girl's got to do. She takes a look at the hunky Francis and she and Francis are kanoodling hot and heavy. Of course he's got his own agenda as does she, but talk about prisoner perks. William Holden didn't have it that good with the Russian women prisoners in Stalag 17.
These Communists just like the Nazis in Stalag 17 have an informer among the prisoners. But when you see who it is, the reaction of the movie-going public in 1954 was, is there nothing these dirty Reds won't stoop to?
Of course the depredations and horrors in Korean POW camps were quite real. North Korea sad to say has had time stand still and they've made the slogan for Korea as the Hermit Kingdom quite real. Like Prussia it's a state supporting an army. This film however is laughable in its Cold War mindset, a relic of bygone and begone years.
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