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The story is about a group of Korean POWs who were subjected to psychological torture and physical hardship in an effort to make them sign false statements that the USA was using biological warfare. After months of holding out, the senior officer suddenly capitulates and begins to try to indocrinate his men with Korean propaganda. One of the men dies mysteriously. On their repatriation to the USA, it is the job of Colonel Edwards to find out exactly what happened.
The film is set on a military base, Governor's Island,New York, though the introduction and later 'flash backs' take place at Camp Gee Gee in North Korea.
Edward's investigation includes two main characters, the senior officer Major Cargill (Richard Basehart) accused of treason, and Lieutenant Miller (Rip Torn) a main witness. There are many facets to this investigation and Widmark plays each with equal mastery. He uses gentle coaxing with witnesses at first, then when this fails and he is put under pressure from his C.O. to speed things up, he builds up the pressure to angrily try and get at the truth. There is a moving and tender scene when Edwards visits Cargill's wife (June Lockhart) to try and find out why her husband refuses to defend himself against the charge of treason.
The films serious tone during the investigations is relieved for filmgoers by scenes revealing the amicable and loyal relationships Edwards has with his team - right hand man Sgt Baker (Martin Balsam)and secretary Sgt Evans (Dolores Michaels).Read more ›
1. The take on what constitutes treason based on how POWs were treated by North Korea was given its time of release at the height of the Cold War a very bold story line.
2. While Richard Widmark's role proves acting the heavy and not the good guy would always be his forte the performances of Richard Basehart as the accused major and Martin Balsam as the closed minded adjutant to Widmark's Colonel prove that each were well capable of greater things though fate was ultimately kinder to Balsam in this regard in their respective careers.
3. The film is one of the two movies directed by the ever popular actor Karl Malden (Widmark as co-producer may have had a say in his choice) and one is left feeling sorry he did not take up the directors chair more often based on this first outing.
Although this film is a bit stagy due to its origin as a theater play, it succeeds by getting the fundamentals right: a fine cast, taut direction (by actor Karl Malden), and compelling drama. It's mature and nuanced view of patriotism is particularly interesting since this film was produced during the depths of the Cold War.
Highly recommended film with great performances all around and a really interesting script.
At first the whole matter seems clear-cut, but Widmark soon discovers that all of the involved POWs at the camp are hiding a terrible secret. Army politics intrude into the investigation, and only the integrity of the JAG officer prevents possible injustice. More would be telling, but this is a fine film that shows that many acts of wrongdoing involve shades of grey and extenuation. I had seen this film as a teenager, and it made quite an impression on me. It is terrific that this excellent film is now available on Amazon Instant Video. Don't miss it. RJB.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of my favorite movies. The acting is superb. Love Richard Baseheart in anything he has done. A wonderful actor who is also easy on the eyes. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Good, solid film starring Richard Widmark and Richard Basehart. Their acting is stellar, as always. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Debra
The movie focuses on a military lawyer and his task to prosecute an officer who is charged with treason during the Korean conflict. Read morePublished 10 months ago by James R. Graves
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