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King & Country (1964)

During World War I, an army private is accused of desertion during battle. The officer assigned to defend him at his court-martial finds out there is more to the case than meets the eye.

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(screenplay), (from the stage play by) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 4 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Captain Hargreaves
...
...
Captain O'Sullivan
...
Lieutenant Webb
...
Colonel
James Villiers ...
Captain Midgley
...
Private Sparrow (as Jeremy Spencer)
Barry Justice ...
Lieutenant Prescott
Vivian Matalon ...
Padre
...
Corporal of Guard
James Hunter ...
Private Sykes
Jonah Seymour ...
Corporal Hamilton
...
Sergeant Major
David Cook ...
Private Wilson
Richard Arthure ...
Guard
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Storyline

During World War One, the British troops are entrenched at Passchendaele, Belgium. Among the volunteers there is a young British soldier, Arthur Hamp, who is the sole survivor of his original company. Hamp spent three years in the trenches and this makes him a veteran. He has never been accused of cowardice but one day he simply decides to leave the war behind him and walk all the way home to Britain. In Calais, France, he is challenged by a Military Police patrol who promptly arrests him for leaving without permission. Hamp's commanding officers decide to convene a Court Martial and charge him with desertion. If found guilty, Hamp could be shot by a firing squad. Captain Hargreaves is assigned to be Hamp's defending attorney but he seems skeptical about his chances of acquittal for the deserter. During their first talk, Captain Hargreaves is impressed by his client's utter sincerity and naivete. He learns that his client volunteered on a dare by his friends back home, spent three ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"Go ahead... kill him - you're the only friend he has!" See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 November 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

För kung och fosterland  »

Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was made in just 18 days and for less than £100,000. However, despite winning awards and rave reviews, it has never yet made its money back. See more »

Goofs

The battalion commander mentions a meeting at twenty-hundred hours. 24-hour clocks were only used from the Second World War. See more »

Quotes

Captain Midgley: A proper court is concerned with law. It's a bit amateur to plead for justice.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Dirk Bogarde: By Myself (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The deserter
20 July 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

King & Country is directed by the American Joseph Losey and stars Tom Courtenay as a young soldier in the Great War, shell shocked and facing a court martial for desertion.

Dirk Bogarde plays the officer whose duty is to defend him, at first he seems to be reluctant in his dealings with him, viewing him as a working class imbecile and cowardly to boot. However once he gets to know him a little, Bogarde discovers that many of Courtenay's friends and comrades in his battalion have died, he takes the case more seriously especially as he will be executed if found guilty.

The film is very much a stage play but is also arch as well as having a stylistic template with actual photos of dead bodies from the Imperial War Museum. The set tries to recreate the trenches with a cold, damp, dank setting.

The film has a grim atmosphere as displayed by the foot soldiers and Courtenay is one of them, a soldier who does not realise what he has done and the trouble he is in.

The film highlights the class aspect of the war as the officers have little compassion for the lower ranked soldiers and show no mercy for those driven to despair or madness.


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