The Long and the Short and the Tall (film)

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The Long and the Short and the Tall
The Long and The Short and The Tall (1961 film poster).jpg
1961 British quad format film poster
Directed by Leslie Norman
Produced by Michael Balcon
Screenplay by Wolf Mankowitz
Based on The Long and the Short and the Tall (play) 
by Willis Hall
Starring Richard Todd
Richard Harris
Laurence Harvey
David McCallum
Ronald Fraser
Music by Stanley Black
Cinematography Erwin Hillier
Edited by Gordon Stone
Distributed by Warner-Pathé (UK)
Continental Distributing (US)
Release dates
16 Feb 1961 (London World Premiere)
  • 28 February 1961 (1961-02-28) (UK)
  • 14 September 1962 (1962-09-14) (US)
Running time
110 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Long and the Short and the Tall (released as Jungle Fighters in the USA and Canada) is a 1961 British war film directed by Leslie Norman, which stars Richard Todd, Richard Harris, Laurence Harvey, David McCallum and Ronald Fraser. The film, which is based on a 1959 play with the same name, by Willis Hall, takes place in a Burmese jungle in 1942 during the Malayan Campaign.

The title comes from the second line of the World War I song "Bless 'Em All", which became very popular during World War II.


During the Japanese invasion of Burma in 1942, a seven-strong British sonic warfare patrol takes refuge in a dilapidated hut at an abandoned tin mine in the Burmese jungle. Tension rises as they lose radio contact with their command force but learn the Japanese are nearby. The plot thickens when a lone Japanese scout stumbles across the hut, and his fate becomes the squad's second dilemma. Sergeant Mitchem, the man in command of the patrol, wants to take the prisoner back to headquarters for interrogation. But as the men argue the prisoner's destiny, tempers flare. Sergeant Mitchem clashes with his contemptuous second-in-command Corporal Johnstone and struggles to maintain discipline among his mutinous young charges. Chief culprit is the gruff Cockney Private Bamforth, a man who dislikes both authority and the army but gradually becomes the conscience of the platoon.

Main cast[edit]

Takaki was the only person in the cast who had also appeared in the play.


The film was shot at Elstree Studios in 1960, where Richard Todd had starred in The Dam Busters a few years earlier. Todd loathed making this film, however, as he didn't get along with Laurence Harvey, In an interview many years later, he said, "I didn't enjoy working with Laurence Harvey... I took it for granted that they would cast Peter O'Toole, who was marvellous on stage, but they said they wanted a 'name'."[1] Richard Harris later claimed Todd would stand on top of mounds of dirt to seem as tall as his co-stars.[2]


The film had its World Premiere on 16 February 1961 at the Plaza Cinema in London's West End. According to the Motion Picture Herald the film was the 12th most popular movie of the year in the UK.


External links[edit]