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Yesterday's Enemy (1959)

Approved | | Drama, War | 11 July 1959 (Japan)
Trailer
2:44 | Trailer
In World War II, during the Japanese invasion of Burma, the lost remnant of a British Army Brigade HQ, led by the ruthless Captain Alan Langford, escapes through the jungle toward the British lines.

Director:

Val Guest

Writer:

Peter R. Newman
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Nominated for 4 BAFTA Film Awards. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Stanley Baker ... Captain Langford
Guy Rolfe ... Padre
Leo McKern ... Max
Gordon Jackson ... Sgt. McKenzie
David Oxley ... Doctor
Richard Pasco Richard Pasco ... 2nd Lt. Hastings
Philip Ahn ... Yamazaki
Bryan Forbes ... Dawson
Wolfe Morris ... Informer (as Wolf Morris)
David Lodge ... Perkins
Percy Herbert ... Wilson
Russell Waters Russell Waters ... Brigadier
Barry Lowe Barry Lowe ... Turner
Burt Kwouk ... Japanese Soldier
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Storyline

Cut off by the Japanese advance into Burma, Captain Langford (Stanley Baker) and his exhausted British troops take over an enemy-held jungle village. Despite the protests of an elderly padre ('Guy Rolfe (I)') and of war correspondent Max Anderson (Leo McKern), Langford orders Sergeant McKenzie (Gordon Jackson) to shoot two innocent villagers, thereby "persuading" a Japanese informer to surrender vital information. When the Japanese recapture the village, their commander uses Langford's own desperate war-born tactics in a similar effort to extract information from the British. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Crimes of War! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Burmese | Japanese

Release Date:

11 July 1959 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Yesterday's Enemy See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stanley Baker regarded this as one of his best films, although he regretted they did not have a larger budget. See more »

Goofs

One of the Japanese soldiers is armed with a German MP38/40 machine pistol. Only the Bulgarians and the Germans used the MP38/40. See more »

Quotes

Captain Langford: He knew there's only one way to fight a war, any war. With your gloves off.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is no 'The End' at the end of the film. The camera merely pans away from a memorial which reads 'WHEN YOU GO HOME TELL THEM OF US AND SAY- FOR THEIR TOMORROW WE GAVE OUR TODAY'; and silence, but with just birds singing. See more »

Connections

Remake of Yesterday's Enemy (1958) See more »

Soundtracks

Burma March
(uncredited)
Composed by Franz Reizenstein
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A study of the vicious circles of war
2 August 2018 | by clanciaiSee all my reviews

This is war at its very worst, and it's difficult to imagine any nastier situation. A small unit is surrounded by any number of Japanese in the Burmese jungle and search desperately for a way out. The only way seems to shoot their way out, which fails a number of times. But they find a small village, where they manage to rout a small Japanese unit with a high officer on top, who is killed but leaves behind some important information by an unintelligible map, which they try to decipher by the help of the one man in the village who knows English but by most controversial means of extortion by making him witness executions. It's war, there are no rules and anything is allowed, and as Albert Lieven said in a previously reveiwed film ("Conspiracy of Hearts" 1960), "If there was any reason in an army at all, it would never make war." Here they make war and suffer the consequences.

The film is impressingly well made, the dialog is on top all the way, and the fateful story gives much reason for afterthought. This is the hopeless way in which all wars work, and if you are in it you just can't escape it but have to get through until the end. Stanley Baker, Gordon Jackson, Leo McKern, Guy Rolfe and others are all perfect in their acting, - but it certainly will take some time before you wish to see this film over again. Its unforgettable experience will haunt you.


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