Sunday, August 7, 2016

King and Country

King and Country

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"King & Country" redirects here. For the band, see For King & Country (band).
King and Country
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJoseph Losey
Produced byJoseph Losey
Norman Priggen
Written byEvan Jones (screenplay)
based on a play by John Wilson and a novel byJames Lansdale Hodson
StarringDirk Bogarde
Tom Courtenay
Leo McKern
Barry Foster
Music byLarry Adler
CinematographyDenys Coop
Edited byReginald Mills
BHE Films (UK)
Landau/Unger (US)
Distributed byWarner-Pathé (UK)
Allied Artists (US)
Release dates
September 1964, Venice Film Festival
Running time
88 min.
CountryUnited Kingdom
King and Country (stylised as King & Country) is a 1964 British war film directed by Joseph Losey, shot in black and white, and starring Dirk Bogardeand Tom Courtenay. The film was adapted for the screen by British screenwriter Evan Jones based on a play by John Wilson and a novel byJames Lansdale Hodson.


See British Army during World War I for information on the historical background.


During World War I, in the British trenches at Passchendaele, an army private, Arthur Hamp (Tom Courtenay) is accused of desertion. He is to be defended at his trial by an officer, Captain Hargreaves (Dirk Bogarde). Hamp had been a volunteer at the outbreak of the war and was the sole survivor of his company but then decided to 'go for a walk': he had contemplated walking to his home in London but after more than 24 hours on the road, he's picked up by the Military Police and sent back to his unit to face court-martial for desertion.
Hargreaves is initially impatient with the simple-minded Hamp but comes to identify with his plight. Following testimony from an unsympathetic doctor (Leo McKern) (whose solution to all ailments is to prescribe laxatives), Hargreaves is unable to persuade the court to consider the possibility that Hamp may have been suffering from shell shock. He is found guilty, but the court's recommendation for mercy is overruled by higher command, who wish to make an example of Hamp to bolster morale in his division. He is shot by firing squad, but as he is not killed outright Hargreaves has to finish him off with a revolver. His family are informed that he has been killed in action.
The action is confined to the mud-entrenched, rat-infested confines of the trenches and dugouts. The film shows a grim picture of life in the trenches during the war.



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