Man in the Middle (film)

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Man in the Middle
The Winston Affair
British quad poster
Directed by Guy Hamilton
Produced by Walter Seltzer
Screenplay by Willis Hall
Keith Waterhouse
Based on The Winston Affair
(1959 novel)
by Howard Fast
Starring Robert Mitchum
France Nuyen
Barry Sullivan
Music by John Barry
Cinematography Wilkie Cooper
Edited by John Bloom
Talbot Productions
Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Release dates
5 February 1964 (1964-02-05)
Running time
94 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office $1,000,000 (US/ Canada)[1]

Man in the Middle is a 1964 CinemaScope film, starring Robert Mitchum and directed by Guy Hamilton. The movie, set in World War II India, tells the story of the murder trial of an American Army officer who killed a British soldier. Mitchum plays Lieut. Col. Barney Adams, who has been assigned as the accused man's defense counsel. The film is also known as The Winston Affair, the title of the novel the film was based on, which was written by Howard Fast.

Plot summary[edit]

In the midst of World War II, Lieut. Col. Barney Adams’s superiors call on him to defend troubled US army Lieutenant Winston who has confessed to murdering a British non-commissioned officer. Military court officials want the cleanest possible trial for the lieutenant. They believe that Liet. Col. Adams, a war hero and distinguished lawyer, is the best man for the job. But when Adams begins to investigate the murder, he finds that this seemingly open-and-shut case is actually much more complicated. Before long he is absorbed in a dramatic struggle for a fair trial against the most overwhelming odds.

Friction develops between American and British troops stationed in India during World War II and culminates in physical outbreaks between the troops when Lieutenant Winston (Keenan Wynn), an American, shoots British Staff Sergeant Quinn (Bill Mitchell) before 11 witnesses. American General Kempton (Barry Sullivan) assigns Lieut. Col. Barney Adams (Robert Mitchum) to defend Winston at his court-martial, assuring him that the Army Lunacy Commission has found Winston fit and sane.

Adams is informed by nurse Kate Davray (France Nuyen) that Colonel Burton (Alexander Knox), who headed the lunacy commission, refused to accept the report of the hospital's psychiatric head, Major Kaufman (Sam Wanamaker), who believes Winston is a psychopath. Burton is anxious to have Winston convicted and hanged to patch the strained relations between the two forces. Adams instructs Kaufman to bring his report to the trial, but when Burton is informed of this order he transfers Kaufman to a distant hospital. Adams visits British Major Kensington (Trevor Howard), a qualified psychiatrist who also considers Winston to be psychopathic but has been warned not to interfere. Kensington believes Winston killed Quinn out of a feeling of victimization because Quinn, a sergeant, had the same duties as Winston, a lieutenant.

Winston, in an interview with Adams, raves that he killed Quinn for defiling the white race by consorting with a black woman. Though he despises Winston, Adams refuses to rig the trial, and he holds back his defense, waiting for Kaufman to arrive as a witness. When he learns that Kaufman has been killed in an accident on the way to the trial, Adams calls Kensington to the stand after establishing that no member of the lunacy commission is a qualified psychiatrist. As Kensington describes Winston's mental illness to the court, Winston cracks and begins raving. Adams wins his case and spends a few days of peace and happiness with nurse Davray before leaving the area. The friction between the troops is eased, and they prepare to enter battle in complete unity.



  1. ^ "Big Rental Pictures of 1964", Variety, 6 January 1965 p 39. Please note this figure is rentals accruing to distributors not total gross.

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