A comedy-drama, King Rat examines the possibility that years after graduation - whether it's ten years or thirty - we may be stuck with the same issues we had before crossing that stage at commencement.
Lauren Ashley Carter
When Singapore surrendered to the Japanese in 1942, the Allied P.O.W.s, mostly British, but including a few Americans, were incarcerated in Changi prison. This was a P.O.W. camp like no other. There were no walls or barbed-wire fences, for the simple reason that there was no place for the prisoners to which to escape. Included among the prisoners is the American Corporal King (George Segal), a wheeler-dealer who has managed to established a pretty good life for himself in the camp. While most of the prisoners are near starvation and have uniforms that are in tatters, King eats well and and has crisp clean clothes to wear every day. His nemesis is Lieutenant Robin Grey (Sir Tom Courtenay), the camp Provost who attempts to keep good order and discipline. He knows that King is breaking camp rules by bartering with the Japanese, but can't quite get the evidence he needs to stop him. King soon forms a friendship with Lieutenant Peter Marlowe (James Fox), an upper class British officer who ...Written by
At the end of the beginning credits, a medic folds the arms of a newly-deceased prisoner and covers his face with his blanket. As the medic does so, the dead prisoner moves his own fingers as his hands are placed on his upper arms. See more »
[Prologue] This is not a story of escape. It is a story of survival.
It is set in Changi Jail Singapore, in 1945
The Japanese did not have to guard Changi as a normal prison of war camp. The inmates of Changi had no friendly Swiss border or any other neutral country within reach. They were held captive not so much by high walls, or barbed wire, or machine-gun posts, but by the land and sea around them - and the jungle was not neutral, nor was the ocean.
They did not live in Changi. They existed. This is the story of that existence. See more »
It has always bothered me that King Rat is so underrated. On one list of top the thousand films in history, it gets no mention. I think it's because George Segal's character, Corporal King wasn't a totally likable person. He is not the standard Hollywood hero. But he is a hero of mine. Were I in that prison camp, I guarantee you, I would have been Corporal King's best friend. One thing I learned in life was how to survive, and everyone around Corporal King survived. The movie misses a very important point that was in James Clavell's novel on which it is based. In case the war turned bad for the Japanese and they started taking revenge on the prisoners, King had planned an escape route. Not just for himself, for everyone close to him. Put that in the film and you've got a major American hero. The movie is totally cliché free. One never knows where it is going or how it is going to end. Winning the war, you see, will not guarantee the safety of the prisoners. How it ends is perfectly logical in retrospect, but difficult to predict. It is a near perfect motion picture.
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