A comedy-drama, King Rat examines the possibility that years after graduation - whether it's ten years or thirty - we may be stuck with the same issues we had before crossing that stage at commencement.
Lauren Ashley Carter
When Singapore surrendered to the Japanese in 1942 the Allied POWs, mostly British but including a few Americans, were incarcerated in Changi prison. This was a POW detention center like no other. There were no walls or barbed-wire fences for the simple reason that there was no place for the prisoners to escape to. Included among the prisoners is the American Cpl. King, a wheeler dealer who has managed to established a pretty good life for himself in the camp. While most of the prisoners are near starvation and have uniforms that are in tatters, King eats well and and has crisp clean clothes to wear every day. His nemesis is Lt. Robin Grey, the camp Provost who attempts to keep good order and discipline. He knows that King is breaking camp rules by bartering with the Japanese but can't quite get the evidence he needs to stop him. King soon forms a friendship with Lt. Peter Marlowe an upper class British officer who is fascinated with King's élan and no rules approach to life. As the ... Written by
In Interviews Bryan Forbes has said he had to fight the Screen Actors Guild over the most of the 15 British Equity members he wanted to cast. The Screen Actors Guild wanted British SAG members most who were fairly elderly most not suitable for the film. See more »
After Maj. McCoy and the others have been arrested for possessing a radio, and Col. Smedley-Taylor is waiting outside for news, the shadow of the boom mic being lowered is cast over the actors in the background. See more »
[Lt. Grey has come into King's hut while Marlowe is there]
Lt. Robin Grey:
You're slumming aren't you, Marlowe?
Don't be a snob, old man. Never make a good policeman if you're a snob. Everyone looks the same with their knickers down.
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I saw "King Rat" on television shortly before going to Vietnam. A few months later I was reading the James Clavell novel while serving on DaNang Air Base with air force communications intelligence. It struck me that this book and this movie, which was "researched" by James Clavell when he was a POW in a camp near Singapore during World War II, have the real feel of what it is to be surrounded by enemy forces one almost never sees while being kept isolated on a hot, humid, dusty encampment It's an environment that brings out the best and the worst in mankind. The novel, the movie, and my own war zone experience also point out that adapting to a war zone and mastering the skills that enable one to survive and even prosper there do not necessarily mean that the individual will subsequently be adaptable to "civilization" when he returns to it. The novel, the movie, and my own experiences also raise the questions that are raised in "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" (and even in "Rambo" for that matter): Which is more of a challenge and which is the "real" life: adapting to the war zone as a youth or the expectations by "civilization" that you readjust to life back in "the world" as if nothing had happened?
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