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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
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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