A clever fortune-hunter with a penchant for murder does in his elderly, supposedly rich, wife and manages to get away with it. After an investigation results in a decision of 'accidental ... See full summary »
A World War II British officer named Charles Coward, having been captured by the Germans, tries everything he can to escape. In the process, among many other adventures he gets awarded the ... See full summary »
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
Tom Courtenay plays Private Hamp, he is the lone survivor of his battalion having volunteered in 1914 some three years prior, the rest whittled away by the arbitrary wantonness of war. He has been accused of desertion and is facing a court martial. Under martial law he is allocated an officer to represent him this falls to Captain Hargreaves (Dirk Bogarde). What follows is the trial set amidst the rain and mud just behind the allied front line.
Courtenay plays the gullible soldier to a tee, he is basically an innocent lad who is probably suffering from PTSD or shell shock as it was sometimes referred to back then. Bogarde who was always exceptional plays the officer class perfectly with palpable changes in his attitude as the case unfolds. There is also a magnificently pompous portrayal of a disinterested Medical Officer from Leo McKern who steals the scene.
This was made in 1964 and was done for a shoe string budget that apparently it never made back and that was despite winning awards and being critically acclaimed. However, recent renewed interests might just get this hidden treasure of British cinema some of the wider recognition it so richly deserves massively recommended
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