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The Triple Echo (1972)

R | | Drama, War | 17 November 1972 (UK)
Deserting soldier dresses as a woman to escape detection; liking the female role he goes to a dance with another soldier and is exposed.

Director:

Michael Apted

Writers:

Robin Chapman (screenplay), H.E. Bates (story "The Triple Echo")
Reviews
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Glenda Jackson ... Alice
Oliver Reed ... the Sergeant / Sergeant
Brian Deacon ... Barton
Anthony May ... Subaltern
Gavin Richards Gavin Richards ... Stan
Jenny Lee Wright Jenny Lee Wright ... Christine
Kenneth Colley ... Provo Corporal (as Ken Colley)
Daphne Heard Daphne Heard ... Shopkeeper
Zelah Clarke ... First Girl
Colin Rix Colin Rix ... Compere
Ioan Meredith Ioan Meredith ... Guard
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Storyline

Barton is a soldier in WW2 England; he meets Alice, who is looking after her farm single-handed as her husband is a prisoner of the Japanese. Barton stays overnight and they get friendly, and he decides to desert and stay with Alice. They become lovers. As a cover, she tells people in the village that her sister is staying with her, and Barton dresses the part. He has mixed feelings about the feminine role but evidently grows accustomed to it. Eventually an army sergeant comes to the farm, and is glad to learn that there are two unattached women there; he has sexual designs on them. Alice rebuffs him and he concentrates on Barton, as "Cathy". Barton is flattered by the attention, and foolishly agrees to go to a Christmas dance at the army base with the sergeant, obviously not realising that sexual activity will be involved, despite Alice's warnings. At the party, Barton realises what is developing, but can't escape, and the Sergeant won't take no for an answer. Written by Hazel Freeman <hazel@tguk.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Would you go A.W.O.L. with this man?

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 November 1972 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Soldier in Skirts See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The band in the dance scene were members of the Band of The Royal Hussars (PWO) as well as other ranks of the regiment playing various extras. A friend of Private rank (Trooper) played an RAF SNCO. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cult Movies 20
8 November 1998 | by TYLERdurden74See all my reviews

20. THE TRIPLE ECHO (war-drama, 1973) England, WW2: Homesteader Alice (Glenda Jackson) has been left a widow by the war so now has to work the farm on her own. Soldier Barton offers to help her out. They eventually become friends then lovers. Not wanting to go back to the front, Barton goes AWOL. Alice helps him by disguising him as her 'sister Katy'. Successfully fleeing detection, their relationship turns sour, as Barton becomes accustomed to his new femininity. Even worse when visiting 'Sergeant' (Oliver Reed) takes an interest at 'Katy'.

Critique: Bizarre, at times unpleasant little film has stuck with me ever since I saw it. Maybe my impressionable age at the time contributed to its lasting impact but after watching it for only the second time, I find it very original, exciting and tragic. It also reminded me of Ed Wood's infamous 'Glen or Glenda' (one of the earliest cross-dressing films), and of Sydney Pollack's Oscar winning 'Tootsie' (starring Dustin Hoffman). In those, and many others since, the emphasis is based on the whole plot's comedy-plus value. The interplay struggle to inhibit their natural desires, disgust at dressing up, and shedding their 'machismo'.

Our film's hero, however, is further enticed into the role and even his personality changes. Jealousy, drama and a sisterly-type relation develops. It is only too late that he discovers what a mess this has gotten him into.

Perplexing study of isolation benefits from a good cast. Oliver Reed's brutish 'Sergeant' is the standout. The surprising ending adds to the film's abstract nature.


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