King And Country

  • 1964
  • Movie
  • NR
  • War

This brutally frank, thoughtful anti-war tract contains no battle scenes and little gunfire. Bogarde is a British captain assigned to defend a slow-witted soldier, Courtenay, who has been accused of desertion. Highly educated and a strict military disciplinarian, Bogarde approaches this assignment with distaste. Consequently, he accepts his superior's expedient...read more

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This brutally frank, thoughtful anti-war tract contains no battle scenes and little gunfire. Bogarde is a British captain assigned to defend a slow-witted soldier, Courtenay, who has been accused of desertion. Highly educated and a strict military disciplinarian, Bogarde approaches this

assignment with distaste. Consequently, he accepts his superior's expedient suggestion that he ignore Courtenay's shell-shocked state and push for a quick conviction. While interviewing his client, Bogarde learns that Courtenay enlisted in the army on a dare from friends. Three years later, the

uneducated soldier--having learned of his wife's infidelity and emerging from a battle as the sole survivor of his unit--falls victim to what we now call "post traumatic stress syndrome." Fed up and very very tired, Courtenay simply wanted to "go for a walk". Twenty four hours later, he's still

walking along the road when he's taken into custody. During the testimony Bogarde begins to feel sympathy for the obviously sincere and somewhat confused Courtenay. For the first time in his military career, Bogarde begins to question the army's methods and attitudes toward its men.

KING AND COUNTRY is a grim indictment of the arrogant, simple-minded mentality of the men who send their fellow citizens off to war. A good army is driven by discipline and devotion to duty, but director Losey shows us that things are not that simple. Bogarde's character is a cold, unblinking

automaton, and therefore quite successful in the military. His interviews with Courtenay change all that. KING AND COUNTRY is an extremely claustrophobic film that takes place in dark, dirty, rat-infested interiors; shot mostly in long, deep-focus takes, they effectively portray the situation of

all concerned as both physically and morally cramped. Tom Courtenay won the best actor award at the Venice film festival for his performance.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This brutally frank, thoughtful anti-war tract contains no battle scenes and little gunfire. Bogarde is a British captain assigned to defend a slow-witted soldier, Courtenay, who has been accused of desertion. Highly educated and a strict military discipli… (more)

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