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The Triple Echo (1972)

R  |   |  Drama, War  |  November 1972 (UK)
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Deserting soldier dresses as a woman to escape detection; liking the female role he goes to a dance with another soldier and is exposed.



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Complete credited cast:
Brian Deacon ...
Anthony May ...
Gavin Richards ...
Jenny Lee Wright ...
Kenneth Colley ...
Provo Corporal (as Ken Colley)
Daphne Heard ...
Zelah Clarke ...
First Girl
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Ioan Meredith ...


Barton is a soldier in WW2 England; he meets Alice, who is looking after her farm single-handed as her husband is a prisoner of the Japanese. Barton stays overnight and they get friendly, and he decides to desert and stay with Alice. They become lovers. As a cover, she tells people in the village that her sister is staying with her, and Barton dresses the part. He has mixed feelings about the feminine role but evidently grows accustomed to it. Eventually an army sergeant comes to the farm, and is glad to learn that there are two unattached women there; he has sexual designs on them. Alice rebuffs him and he concentrates on Barton, as "Cathy". Barton is flattered by the attention, and foolishly agrees to go to a Christmas dance at the army base with the sergeant, obviously not realising that sexual activity will be involved, despite Alice's warnings. At the party, Barton realises what is developing, but can't escape, and the Sergeant won't take no for an answer. Written by Hazel Freeman <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

November 1972 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Soldier in Skirts  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

Cult Movies 20
8 November 1998 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

20. THE TRIPLE ECHO (war-drama, 1973) England, WW2: Homesteader Alice (Glenda Jackson) has been left a widow by the war so now has to work the farm on her own. Soldier Barton offers to help her out. They eventually become friends then lovers. Not wanting to go back to the front, Barton goes AWOL. Alice helps him by disguising him as her 'sister Katy'. Successfully fleeing detection, their relationship turns sour, as Barton becomes accustomed to his new femininity. Even worse when visiting 'Sergeant' (Oliver Reed) takes an interest at 'Katy'.

Critique: Bizarre, at times unpleasant little film has stuck with me ever since I saw it. Maybe my impressionable age at the time contributed to its lasting impact but after watching it for only the second time, I find it very original, exciting and tragic. It also reminded me of Ed Wood's infamous 'Glen or Glenda' (one of the earliest cross-dressing films), and of Sydney Pollack's Oscar winning 'Tootsie' (starring Dustin Hoffman). In those, and many others since, the emphasis is based on the whole plot's comedy-plus value. The interplay struggle to inhibit their natural desires, disgust at dressing up, and shedding their 'machismo'.

Our film's hero, however, is further enticed into the role and even his personality changes. Jealousy, drama and a sisterly-type relation develops. It is only too late that he discovers what a mess this has gotten him into.

Perplexing study of isolation benefits from a good cast. Oliver Reed's brutish 'Sergeant' is the standout. The surprising ending adds to the film's abstract nature.

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