Major Jock Sinclair has been in this Highland regiment since he joined as a boy piper. During the Second World War, as Second-in-Command, he was made acting Commanding Officer. Now the ... See full summary »
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Major Jock Sinclair has been in this Highland regiment since he joined as a boy piper. During the Second World War, as Second-in-Command, he was made acting Commanding Officer. Now the regiment has returned to Scotland, and a new commanding officer is to be appointed. Jock's own cleverness is pitted against his new CO, his daughter, his girlfriend, and the other officers in the Mess. Written by
Aryk Nusbacher <email@example.com>
In one of the venomous exchanges between the Scots pipe-major (Duncan Macrae) and the English RSM (Percy Herbert), the former advises the latter to go and watch his television set, adding, "Muffin the Mule is on at four o'clock". This refers to a famous British children's program of the early 1950s, which was presented by Annette Mills - the sister of John Mills, who plays the colonel of the regiment in this film. See more »
Major Sinclair starts the first day of Colonel Barrow's command still wearing his previous acting Colonel rank. Half way through the day (between the assault course and watching the pipers) his rank changes to Major. Whilst it is possible he might have had his jacket altered over between the scenes, it is not possible that Colonel Barrow (a stickler for uniform regulations) would not have mentioned this at the start of the day. See more »
As you'd expect, another exceptional performance by Alec Guinness
Alec Guinness is an amazingly under-appreciated actor. While most remembered for his Obi-Wan character, this was one of his least interesting or demanding roles. Few today realize the depth and range of his characterizations as well as the realism that he infused his characters with in his previous films. He was one of the finest British actors and this film is yet another example of his skills.
Guinness plays an angry and blustering Scottish officer who may also be an alcoholic (he at least is a problem drinker and shows many signs of alcoholism). The film begins with this popular officer throwing a farewell party, of sorts, with the men in his command. It seems that Guinness was given temporary command but a replacement (John Mills) is due to arrive shortly--dashing Guinness' hopes for this position becoming permanent.
Because Guinness' character is so very flawed and petty, he does much to try to undermine the new C.O.. In particular, Mills is a "by the book" sort of officer and Guinness ignores changes Mills orders--and by example, derision and a lack of respect for Mills spreads through the ranks. Instead of behaving like officers and gentlemen, the men behave like this is some sort of popularity contest and they show contempt for their new leader. None of this is helped by Guinness' drinking, as it gets him in trouble and creates serious problems for the regiment.
While Mills, as usual, does a great job in the film playing a man who is suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, the film is definitely Guinness'. His boorish character is a great example of him once again immersing himself into a character and the way he responds to the tragedy near the end of the film gives the character great depth and a bit of sympathy--something you needed to make this a stand-out film.
The bottom line is that this film is extremely well-crafted. The acting is universally excellent, the script tense and well-written and the film is great unless you are the type of person who demands lots of action. While a film about the military, this is no action film. Wonderful.
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