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Military investigator Colonel Edwards is assigned a case involving Major Cargill, a Korean War POW who is accused of treason. Although Cargill admits his guilt and Edwards' superiors are impatiently pushing Edwards to move this case to court martial, Edwards becomes convinced of Cargill's innocence. Written by
Marty McKee <email@example.com>
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Maj. Harry Cargill:
A man can be a hero all his life, but if in the last month of it, or the last week, or even the last minute, the pressure becomes too great and he breaks, then he's branded for life. You can't ask a man to be a hero forever. There ought to be a time limit.
Lt. Gen. J. Connors:
There is no defense for treason.
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Richard Widmark, Richard Basehart, Rip Torn and Carl Benton Reid star in "Time Limit," a 1957 drama directed by Karl Malden. It's a small drama, based on a play, and very well done. During the Korean War, a military investigator, Colonel Edwards (Widmark) is assigned the case of Major Cargill (Basehart), who was a POW and is accused of treason. Edwards believes Cargill to be innocent of the charges, even though Cargill admits that the charges are correct.
This story is really about making a humane decision rather than following military rules. Since as I write this we are still at war in Iraq, this film remains relevant. The scenes at the prisoner of war camp are excellent and really give one the feel for what these soldiers suffered.
Widmark, Torn and Basehart are especially good - Widmark is a man looking for the answer and striving to be both humane and fair, and Torn is a witness to what occurred - both give terrific performances. Basehart is effective as the accused, who just wants to plead guilty and not explain his actions.
A very thought-provoking drama, certainly a topic that's been covered in bigger films, but still worth seeing.
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