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Lilita De Barros
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The true story of Agnes Newton Keith's imprisonment in several Japanese prisoner-of-war camps from 1941 to the end of WWII. Separated from her husband and with a young son to care for she has many difficulties to face.Written by
Col Needham <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A 'Life' magazine article in 20 March 1950 states that there is more of a sympathetic portrayal in this film of the Colonel Suga (Sessue Hayakawa) character than compared with his depiction in the source memoir by Agnes Newton Keith. The article states that Suga saved Keith's husband Harry and was kind-hearted to their children. Paradoxically though, Agnes Newton Keith also hated Suga for the starvation, torture and degradation that he inflicted in the prisoner-of-war camp. See more »
The Ford Prefect shown in one of the opening scenes is a postwar model. See more »
Agnes Newton Keith:
Six-degrees north of the Equator, in the heart of the East Indies, lies Sandakan, the tiny capital of British North Borneo. In Sandakan in 1941, there were 15 thousand Asiatics, 79 Europeans, and 1 American. I was the American. My name is Agnes Keith. I was born in Oak Park, Illinois, and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. My husband is Harry Keith, a colonial official of British North Borneo. Borneo became my home when Harry and I were married. And it was in ...
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Claudette Colbert got one of her best late career roles in Three Came Home, the moving story of the experiences of Agnes Newton Keith and her time in a Japanese POW camp. Keith earned her status by dint of being married to a British colonial official in North Borneo who is played by Patric Knowles in the best stiff upper lip tradition.
On the screen and in real life Keith was a novelist who faithfully recorded oriental life with some empathy in her books. That got her some favorable treatment from the Japanese, in the film in the form of an ally of sorts in a colonel played by Sessue Hayakawa.
Hayakawa's performance is the highlight of the film. It may very well have been the first time post World War II that a Japanese character was given three dimensions. Of course the brutality of the Japanese prison camps is also shown in the best tradition of that other World War II film Sessue Hayakawa did, The Bridge On The River Kwai.
1950 was definitely the year for women in stir. A few weeks before this film came out, MGM released Caged which certainly has some of the same themes as Three Came Home. Of course the big difference is that over at MGM the women were criminals in a civilian setting.
Three Came Home directed by Jean Negulesco who normally did lighter material than this, holds up very well for today's audience. Colbert, Knowles, and Hayakawa do some of their best screen work here and definitely try to catch this one when broadcast.
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