King & Country
|King and Country|
|Directed by||Joseph Losey|
|Produced by||Joseph Losey
|Written by||Evan Jones (screenplay)
based on a play by John Wilson and a novel by James Lansdale Hodson
|Music by||Larry Adler|
|Studio||BHE Films (UK)
|Distributed by||Warner-Pathé (UK)
Allied Artists (US)
|Release dates||September, 1964, Venice Film Festival|
|Running time||88 min.|
King and Country is a 1964 British film, directed by Joseph Losey, shot in black and white, and starring Dirk Bogarde and Tom Courtenay. The film was adapted for the screen by British screenwriter Evan Jones based on a play by John Wilson and a novel by James Lansdale Hodson.
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 Capt. Hargreaves (Dirk Bogarde), an upper-class officer. 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 arrogant towards the simple-minded Hamp but comes to identify with his plight. With testimony from a doctor (Leo McKern), the soldier must be made an example of in front of the other soldiers. He is found guilty and is shot by a firing squad but as he is still alive afterwards, he is then shot through the mouth. The action is confined to the mud-entrenched, rat-infested confines of the trenches and barracks. The film shows a grim picture of life in the trenches during the war.
- Dirk Bogarde as Captain Hargreaves
- Tom Courtenay as Private Arthur Hamp
- Leo McKern as Captain O'Sullivan
- Barry Foster as Lieutenant Webb
- Peter Copley as Colonel
- James Villiers as Captain Midgley
- Jeremy Spenser as Private Sparrow
- Barry Justice as Lieutenant Prescott
- Vivian Matalon as Padre
- Keith Buckley as Corporal of the Guard
- Derek Partridge as Captain Court Martial
Tom Courtenay received the award for the Best Actor for his role as Hamp at the 1964 Venice Film Festival, where the film was also nominated for the Golden Lion. The film was nominated for four 1965 BAFTA awards, including Best Film.