After losing his bride in a Luftwaffe air raid, bomber pilot Forrester becomes a solitary killing machine, who doesn't care whether he dies. The reckless Canadian pilot is both admired and ...
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After losing his bride in a Luftwaffe air raid, bomber pilot Forrester becomes a solitary killing machine, who doesn't care whether he dies. The reckless Canadian pilot is both admired and feared by the rest of his squadron in World War II Burma. The squadron physician is assigned to determine the embittered Bill Forrester's fitness for duty. To break through the nightmare-haunted man's wall of silence, the physician drives Forrester to visit an outpost of English-speaking refugees, which includes an alluring young Burmese woman. Written by
Unusual, well written, acted and produced love/war movie.
This is a Rank Company (British) medium budget production of a post war H. E. Bates novel. Well directed by Robert Parrish, the screen writing by Eric Ambler is quite good. It was shot on site in, what was then, Ceylon. (Same location as "Bridge on the River Kwai")
The young Gregory Peck plays Bill Forrester a Canadian pilot in the RAF serving in far off Burma in the closing months of WWII. He flies a two seat Mosquito fighter-bomber. (The actual aircraft was provided through the cooperation of the RAF and repainted in accurate camouflage and markings, for once.) Forrester, it seems, has gone "round the bend" after losing his new wife in the Blitz. He's self destructive, wanting to end it all in combat. "You'd think that would be easy in a war", he explains to Anna, "but I just kept getting medals instead." Anna is a small, slim, pretty teacher, played very well by Win Min Than, a Burmese actress (how refreshing). They, of course, fall in love (It's a MOVIE, folks) and his life really seems to be turning around. But, on a routine flight, he and two others go down in a very remote desert area of Burma's central plain (hence, the title). From there on we have a rather good, believable survival saga.
The English love eccentric characters and this story has several, all well depicted by some of those fine performers who bounce back and forth between the British "legitimate" stage and cinema. Watch for Brenda De Banzie, who plays Miss McNab, an elderly missionary. (Ya couldn't miss her!)
The Purple Plain is a good movie, a fine movie really. Not too heavy, it's historically accurate with good production values. Forrester's growth curve coming out of his personal hell is quite interesting. I found the depiction of the native Burmese was respectful without being condescending. For instance, the love between Bill and Anna is portrayed in a very reserved manner, as it would be between a Westerner and a Christian Asian woman in real life. All in all, the story line and performances are very believable and very enjoyable. I highly recommended The Purple Plain, if YOU can find it.
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