The Long and the Short and the Tall (film)
|The Long and the Short and the Tall|
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
|Music by||Stanley Black|
|Edited by||Gordon Stone|
|Distributed by||Warner-Pathé (UK)
Continental Distributing (US)
|16 Feb 1961 (London World Premiere)
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.
- Richard Todd as Sergeant R. "Mitch" Mitchem
- Richard Harris as Corporal Edward "Johnno" Johnstone
- Ronald Fraser as Lance-Corporal A.J "Mac" Macleish
- Laurence Harvey as Private C. "Bammo" Bamforth
- David McCallum as Private Samuel "Sammy" Whitaker
- John Meillon as Private P. "Smudge" Smith
- John Rees as Private T.E "Taff" Evans
- Kenji Takaki as Tojo
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'." Richard Harris later claimed Todd would stand on top of mounds of dirt to seem as tall as his co-stars.
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.
- The Independent, 5 December 2009, obituaries: Richard Todd: D-Day veteran and actor celebrated for his role as Guy Gibson in 'The Dam Busters' Linked 2013-08-15
- "Love honour and dismay.". The Australian Women's Weekly (National Library of Australia). 10 November 1976. p. 47. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- The Long and the Short and the Tall in the British Film Institute's "Explore film..." database
- The Long and the Short and the Tall at the British Board of Film Classification
- The Long and the Short and the Tall at the Internet Movie Database