King and Country/B,B-
VCI/1964/86/WS 1.66

    Powerful depiction of a deserter's court martial during World War I. Directed  with pragmatic harshness by Joseph Losey, this gritty drama is sharp as the barbed wire that lined the trenches of "the great war."

Defending the prisoner. ŠVCI

    Tom Courtenay is wonderful as the private on trial. Courtenay's accepting continence is rather pathetic and innocent. The nuances captured by the actor validate his own uncertainty of guilt. Dirk Bogarde is outstanding as Captain Hargreaves who is assigned to defend the prisoner. Bogarde must find a way through the military expediency. Bogarde's frustration is evident at every turn.
    Mud splatters itself over every frame of this film, spoiling purity of the cold military proceedings. Stark production design emphasizes the inevitable march over the individual soldier. King and Country is good example of the school of social conscience filmmaking that had a strong impact of 1960s audiences. Well worth a look.
     Source material for the transfer is in good condition. The transfer extracts maximum sharpness from the elements. Contrast range varies widely depending on the scenes, but for the most part it is quite good. Some background details exhibit jitter, but you have to look for them. The British accents are somewhat difficult to follow and the Dolby Digital 2 channel mono soundtrack introduces its own helping of distortion, making it that much more difficult to understand



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