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A Town Like Alice (1956)

A newly wealthy English woman returns to Malaya to build a well for the villagers who helped her during war. Thinking back, she recalls the Australian man who made a great sacrifice to aid her and her fellow prisoners of war.

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(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Won 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Kenji Takaki ...
Japanese Sergeant (as Takagi)
Tran Van Khe ...
Jean Anderson ...
Miss Horsefall
Marie Lohr ...
Mrs. Dudley Frost (as Marie Löhr)
Maureen Swanson ...
Ellen
Renee Houston ...
Nora Nicholson ...
Eileen Moore ...
Mrs. Holland
John Fabian ...
Vincent Ball ...
Ben
...
British Sergeant
Vu Ngoc Tuan ...
Captain Yanata
Munesato Yamada ...
Captain Takata (as Yamada)
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Storyline

In 1941, The advancing Japanese army captures a lot of British territory very quickly. The men are sent off to labor camps, but they have no plan on what to do with the women and children of the British. A group is sent on a forced march from place to place searching for a Women's Camp. Told from the point of view of one of the women, she meets an Australian soldier who sneaks food for them from his labor camp. After the war, she goes to Australia to see the town he was from and hopefully reunite with the soldier. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 June 1956 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

Rape of Malaya  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the book 'The Golden Gong - Fifty years of the Rank Organisation, its films and its stars' by Quentin Falk, "While at premiere of a Disney film, 'Robin Hood' [See: The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952)], he [Earl St. John] was particularly impressed by the young man who played the Sheriff of Nottingham. The name on the programme was that of Peter Finch. St John bumped into Finch on the stairs of the theatre and invited him to come and talk business at Pinewood. Next day he gave Finch what would be a pivotal role in his burgeoning career: the Australian soldier, Joe, in 'A Town Like Alice'." See more »

Goofs

Freddie is shown several times playing with a 'Sooty' puppet. Sooty was not created by Harry Corbett until 1948. See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: The characters in this story are fictitious. The story itself however is based upon true fact. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Chicken Run (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

There's a Friend for Little Children
(uncredited)
set to the tune "In Memoriam"
Music by John Stainer
Words by Albert Midlane
Arranged by Matyas Seiber
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The long road to walk
15 November 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I remember my mother and my aunt watching this film when I was a little boy late once night when it came on television. They seemed to have cried most of the way through the film. This is an image that sticks in my mind whenever this film is mentioned.

Years later my mother told me how she lost some relatives in the second world war as they tried to escape from the Japanese in Burma by trying to walk ti to India. They apparently died of exhaustion

A Town Like Alice adapted from the novel by Nevile Shute looks at a group of women as they shuffle from one Japanese camp to another during occupied Malaysia but no one would take them in. Slowly one by one they perish because of malnutrition, sickness, disease or exhaustion. During their journey they are accompanied by an old guard who slowly comes to respect them.

During the journey Virginia McKenna meets Australian soldier Peter Finch also a prisoner of war but he does his best to help them out here and there and both fall for each other. However he faces severe punishment when he is found out for stealing some chickens.

The film is told in flashback as McKenna goes back to Malaysia after the war and discovers what happened to Finch.

This is a gritty and unromanticised view of life in occupied Far East, many years before films like Empire of the Sun. Also it is unusual for not being set in a prisoner of war camp, these people want to get there and stay there. The film company filmed in Malaysia and Australia for added authenticity.

Look out for Jean Anderson, many years later she appeared in the BBC television series Tenko which was also women held in a prisoner of war camp in Malaysia.


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