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
Due to the cast and director and setting, this is often assumed to be a British movie, but it was entirely filmed in California. See more »
The shoulder patch that Cpl. King (George Segal) is wearing is that of the 34th Infantry Division(Red Bull). The 34th ID served in the European Theater of Operations not in the Pacific. The 34th ID patch is a black Mexican water jug called an "olla" with a red bull's skull superimposed.
The producers may have wanted to use the patch of the Philippine Division commanded by Maj.Gen. Jonathan Wainwright. This was the unit that surrendered to the Japanese on Bataan. The Philippine Div. patch was a red shield with a yellow carabao's head (water buffalo) superimposed. See more »
Lt. Robin Grey:
Where's the money?
What money, sir?
Lt. Robin Grey:
The money from the sale of the diamond!
[Acting as if he doesn't know what Grey's talking about]
What diamond, sir?
Lt. Robin Grey:
All right, all right, Corporal. The War will be over one day, and then you'll get yours!
All right, sir. I believe you... but until then...
[He salutes half-heartedly and leaves]
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Many unforgettable films are to be found in the annals of World War II. Avid movie goers know which ones they are. Among my favorites are 'The Great Escape, The Blue Max, Cross of Iron, and of course, Sink The Bismark," But occasionally, a film is made which deviates from the superficial and ventures into the realm of the incredible. That is the essence of "King Rat." Here viewers are exposed to the harsh realities of what it takes to survive in a hell hole, like a Japanese Prisoner of War Camp. Our hero, one, Cpl. King (George Segal) dwells amid hundreds of starving British and a few American P.O.W.s. However, unlike the rest, who are seen as listless, emaciated and dying , King is for the most part, healthy and appears none the worse for wear. One individual who daily wants to know why King, walks about nearly impervious to the obvious conditions is Lt. Robin Grey (Tom Courtenay, convincing in this role). It is his job as Camp Provost Marshal, to maintain order in a camp where smuggling, trading with the enemy and outright theft is common place. Knowing King is secretly dealing with the enemy, Robin daily waits for him to make a mistake. This will be difficult as King relies on the fact, everyone, regardless of rank seeks to stay alive by whatever means. Aiding King is Peter Marlowe (James Fox) who despite his higher rank readily joins King's other 'employees' such as Tex, (Todd Armstrong), Top Sgt. Max (Patrick O'Neal, Lt. G.D. Larkin, (Denholm Elliott), and Col. George Smedley-Taylor (John Mills). But it is the camp Doctor (James Donald) who asks the pertinent question of King. "What is your secret Cpl? Medically, it should be worth a fortune." Throughout this stark and tragic Black and White film, one is equally curious, until we discover King's dark secret. Once we know it, the anger is dissipated by the fact, the war will eventually be over. Then Cpl. King will be called upon to reveal it. A superior movie with top notch acting by every actor. ****
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