IMDb > A War Story (1981)

A War Story (1981) More at IMDbPro »


Overview

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8.2/10   33 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Ben Wheeler (diary of)
Anne Wheeler (written by)
Contact:
View company contact information for A War Story on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
8 November 1981 (Canada) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
A Canadian doctor interned at a Japanese POW Camp during WWII must tend to his fellow British prisoners who are being worked to death in a mine. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
2 wins See more »
NewsDesk:
User Reviews:
Sobering Look At Life In A Japanese POW Camp See more (3 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Donald Sutherland ... Narrated by (voice)
David Edney ... Ben Wheeler

Frank C. Turner ... Peter Seed (as Frank Turner)
Doug Kier ... Medical Orderly
Doug Bagot ... Medical Orderly
W. Forrest MacDonald ... Prisoner of War
Brian Laird ... Prisoner of War
Patrick McGuigan ... Prisoner of War
Grant Carmichael ... Prisoner of War
Dean Stoker ... Prisoner of War
Bill Johnston ... Prisoner of War
Alan Stebbings ... Prisoner of War (as Allan Stebbings)
Keith Mullan ... Prisoner of War
Gerry Whelpton ... Prisoner of War
Philip Zyp ... Prisoner of War
Cecil Grinstead ... Prisoner of War
Larry Bauer ... Prisoner of War
Tom Whitton ... Prisoner of War
Jim Algie ... Prisoner of War
Rodrigue Deschênes ... Prisoner of War
Tim Davidson ... Prisoner of War
George Tsuruda ... Guard
Tosio Takahashi ... Guard
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Anne Wheeler ... Narrator (voice) (uncredited)

Directed by
Anne Wheeler 
 
Writing credits
Ben Wheeler (diary of) (as Dr. Ben Wheeler)

Anne Wheeler (written by)

Produced by
Tom Radford .... executive producer
Michael J.F. Scott .... executive producer (as Michael Scott)
Anne Wheeler .... producer
 
Original Music by
Maurice Marshall 
 
Cinematography by
Robert Nichol (cinematography by)
Ron Orieux (cinematography by)
 
Film Editing by
Ray Harper 
 
Art Direction by
Michael Dorsey 
Donaleen Saul 
 
Makeup Department
Jenny Diment .... makeup artist
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
David McAree .... assistant director
 
Art Department
Christine McLean .... props (as Chris McLean)
 
Sound Department
Jean-Pierre Joutel .... re-recording
Michel Lalonde .... sound (as Michèle Lalonde)
Ralph Parker .... sound
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Gary Armstrong .... camera assistant
Ian Elkin .... camera assistant
 
Animation Department
Svend-Erik Eriksen .... still photo animator
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Christine McLean .... wardrobe (as Chris McLean)
 
Location Management
Dean Stoker .... location manager
 
Other crew
Avrel Fisher .... research: photo and film
Pat Hart .... unit administrator
Yasuko Hiruki .... translator
Guy Lamontagne .... titles
Leah Main .... production assistant
Peter Mitchell .... production assistant
Pamela Nichol .... production assistant
Margaret Smith .... unit administrator
 
Thanks
George Blair .... our sincere thanks: to all the men who generously shared their memories and time to the making of this film (as Dr. George Blair)
Freddie Crossley .... our sincere thanks: to all the men who generously shared their memories and time to the making of this film
David Donnelly .... our sincere thanks: to all the men who generously shared their memories and time to the making of this film
Fred Down .... our sincere thanks: to all the men who generously shared their memories and time to the making of this film
Jack O. Edwards .... our sincere thanks: to all the men who generously shared their memories and time to the making of this film
George Harrison .... our sincere thanks: to all the men who generously shared their memories and time to the making of this film
Ben Mackenzie .... our sincere thanks: to all the men who generously shared their memories and time to the making of this film
J. McLoughlin .... our sincere thanks: to all the men who generously shared their memories and time to the making of this film
Peter Seed .... our sincere thanks: to all the men who generously shared their memories and time to the making of this film (as Dr. Peter Seed)
Arthur Smith .... our sincere thanks: for his song "Down the Mine" (as Trumpeter Arthur Smith)
Josiah Thompson .... our sincere thanks: to all the men who generously shared their memories and time to the making of this film
Nellie Rose Wheeler .... a special thank you to: my Mother, for sharing the diary originally written to her (as Nellie Rose)
 
Crew believed to be complete


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Additional Details

Runtime:
82 min
Country:
Language:
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Down the MineSee more »

FAQ

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Sobering Look At Life In A Japanese POW Camp, 9 February 2009
Author: sddavis63 (revsdd@gmail.com) from Durham Region, Ontario, Canada

As a kid working my way through the Ontario school system in the 1970's, productions from the National Film Board of Canada (especially in history classes) were a regular part of the curriculum, and, like most kids at that age, I probably sat through most of them bored to tears. I haven't seen an NFB production in quite a while when I suddenly saw this one pop up on TV and decided I'd watch it. Major Ben Wheeler was a Canadian doctor serving in Singapore when the Japanese captured him in 1942. The movie recounts, through the pages of his diary, his experiences as a POW, and it's both very sobering and very powerful.

What I particularly liked was the way four different kinds of productions were put together to create an essentially seamless story. Wheeler's diary (narrated by Donald Sutherland) was accompanied with dramatized scenes of life in the camp. The story of the camp was supplemented by what I call "talking head" segments - interviews with survivors of the camp - and with what I have to assume (based on the obvious level of the starvation of the POWs) was actual archival footage of the camps. Then, interspersed with all that were snippets of Wheeler's life and family back home in Canada (both before and after the war) in segments narrated by his daughter Ann, who was also co-producer, director and writer. It was very well done and offered a sobering view of life in the Japanese POW camps. One thing I appreciated was at least an attempt to look at the harsh, inhuman treatment of the POWs from the Japanese perspective. It was pointed out near the beginning that, in the Japanese culture of that day, a Japanese soldier would kill himself before being taken prisoner, and so they tended to look at soldiers who allowed themselves to be taken prisoner as less than human. Then, at the end, it was noted that many of the Japanese guards at the camp did, in fact, commit suicide rather than become prisoners as the Americans arrived to liberate the camps. I'm certainly not trying to justify the treatment of POWs by the Japanese, but certainly it does have to be seen from the perspective of that culture to be fully understood, and that's often a perspective we fail to see.

There were a lot of "talking head" segments - which I'm not really enamoured of - but I still thought this was very well done. 8/10

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