Autumn, 1913: on the eve of the Great War, a small party of lords and ladies gather at the Hertfordshire estate of Sir Randolph Nettleby. A code of propriety governs all: dress, breakfast, relations with the estate's peasants, courtship, shooting, adultery. Lionel Stephens, who is courting Sir Randolph's daughter, gets into a shooting competition with Lord Gilbert Hartlip; Lord Gilbert's wife carries on discreet affairs; a pamphleteer circles the estate calling for no more killing, and Sir Robert's grandson hopes to protect a wild duck he's befriended. A way of life is ending: Lord Gilbert's violation of the gentlemen's code suggests internal rot as the real world presses in. Written by
Did You Know?
replaced Paul Scofield
. Scofield was injured when his leg was broken after an accident with a horse-drawn carriage during filming, and production was delayed six weeks. The last scene that was filmed before breaking was an extended version of the cuff link scene. See more
In the outdoor scenes we regularly hear the sound of a willow warbler singing. The bare trees indicate that the film is set in the winter. Willow warblers spend the winter in Africa so would not be heard in England at this time of year. See more
[an animal rights protester has just disrupted the shooting
Sir Randolph Nettleby
This is a very well produced pamphlet. Where do you get a thing like this printed? Is it expensive? You don't mind my asking you?
Oh no, not at all. I know a very good printer in Dorking, just near where I live. An excellent man of anarchistic views. He gives me very good rates.
Ah, special terms. Hmm. He wouldn't give me such good ones, I suppose.
Are you a pamphleteer too, sir?
Well, I was thinking of making a sort of foray in that ...
Opening credits prologue: Autumn 1913
Closing credits epilogue:
Captain Lionel Stephens MC killed in action Ypres 1915
Oberstleutenant Count Tibor Rakessyi killed in action Stobykhva 1916
Lieutenant Marcus Nettleby killed in action Delville Wood, The Somme 1916
Lance-Sergeant Walter Weir died of wounds Gallipoli 1915
Private John Hoskins killed in action Passchendaele 1917 See more
Version of Tragödie auf der Jagd