6.6/10
1,677
31 user 11 critic

The Purple Plain (1954)

In WW2 Burma, a Canadian bomber pilot becomes reckless after losing his bride in a Luftwaffe air-raid.

Director:

Robert Parrish

Writers:

H.E. Bates (novel), Eric Ambler (screenplay)
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Nominated for 4 BAFTA Film Awards. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gregory Peck ... Squadron Leader Bill Forrester
Win Min Than ... Anna
Brenda de Banzie ... Miss McNab (as Brenda De Banzie)
Bernard Lee ... Dr. Harris
Maurice Denham ... Blore
Lyndon Brook ... Carrington
Anthony Bushell ... Group Captain Aldridge
Josephine Griffin ... Mrs. Bill Forrester
Ram Gopal Ram Gopal ... Mr. Phang
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Storyline

After losing his bride in a Luftwaffe air raid, bomber pilot Forrester becomes a solitary killing machine, who doesn't care whether he dies. The reckless Canadian pilot is both admired and feared by the rest of his squadron in World War II Burma. The squadron physician is assigned to determine the embittered Bill Forrester's fitness for duty. To break through the nightmare-haunted man's wall of silence, the physician drives Forrester to visit an outpost of English-speaking refugees, which includes an alluring young Burmese woman. Written by David Stevens

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

ADVENTURE! ...With the sky as its canopy and Burma's "Purple Hell" as its arena! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama | War | Action

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 November 1954 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

La flamme pourpre See more »

Filming Locations:

Elephant Pass, Sri Lanka See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,300,000, 31 December 1954
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first of 2 movies in a row which Gregory Peck made in Britain to avoid paying US taxes. The second one was Man with a Million (1954). He was paid $350,000 for the 2 pictures. The highest marginal individual income tax rate in the US at the time was 91%. See more »

Goofs

During the plane descent just prior to the crash, Forrester tries unsuccessfully to radio the plane's position back to base. Later, while the survivors were still in the jungle, the Group Captain tells Anna that the plane crashed due to an engine fire. However, he had no way of knowing the cause of the crash-- they didn't even know for sure that the plane had crashed, only that it was missing. See more »

Quotes

Anna: It's not good to die inside.
Squadron Leader Bill Forrester: It's like living a bad dream.
Anna: Here we bury the dead in the earth not in our hearts. Is the dream over now?
Squadron Leader Bill Forrester: I think so.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: BURMA 1945 See more »

Soundtracks

Jesus Christ is risen today
(uncredited)
Traditional lyrics (from Bohemia)
Music by Robert Williams
Sung when Forrester is asked his favourite Easter hymn
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Crisis of Confidence
6 May 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

In The Purple Plain Gregory Peck became the latest in a long list of American stars playing Canadians in order to appear natural in a British production. At least Peck did not attempt an English accent as he did in The Paradine Case where he drifted in and out of one during the course of the film.

The Purple Plain is set in the China-Burma-India Theater of World War II and Peck is a pilot with the RAF. He's a man who takes reckless chances on missions because he's got nothing to live for, his wife having been killed in the blitz in wartime London.

But a doctor friend, Bernard Lee, decides what Peck needs is a new woman and a new purpose in life. He introduces him to missionary Brenda DaBanzie and also to a lovely Eurasian played by Win Min Than in her one and only film. If The Purple Plain has a glaring weakness it's her, she's beautiful, but can't act.

Peck may have a new outlook on life and a reason to live, but that fact is lost on Maurice Denham his bunkmate and copilot. On a routine mission, Peck, Denham, with new navigator Lyndon Brook crash in the Burmese jungle. Will they all survive as Peck's leadership is put to the test?

If the jungle looks familiar, The Purple Plain was shot in Sri Lanka, Ceylon at the time which was for a brief period, a most popular place for film locations. Around the same time Elephant Walk was done here and later on the acclaimed Bridge on the River Kwai. The Purple Plain is beautifully photographed in that jungle.

The Purple Plain is not as good as The Bridge on the River Kwai, it certainly is much better than Elephant Walk. Peck delivers a stalwart performance and gets able assistance from the rest of the cast with the exception of his leading lady. It's worth a look the next time it is broadcast.


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