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King & Country (1964)

Not Rated | | Drama, War | 30 November 1965 (USA)
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:

Not Rated | 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

The film frequently shows photographs of war dead. These are genuine and came from the archives at London's Imperial War Museum. See more »

Goofs

October 22, 1917 is said to be a Thursday. However, it was in actuality a Monday. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Version of The Case of Private Hamp (1959) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Shocking and Powerful World War I Court Drama
29 May 2015 | by (London,United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

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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