Then unrest at the factory begins, as we see that stranger (Alfred Burke) arrive in town, is he perhaps there to stir up trouble?, we also see his leaving at the end, job done. Bernard Lee is the pushy union man looking for any opportunity to strike, Geoffrey Keen and Laurence Naismith the worried but decent factory bosses. Young Oliver Reed and Brian Bedford are among the young layabouts wanting to cause trouble.
Attenborough gets sent to
Pier Angeli (above) is a stand-out here, in maybe her best role. (She and Attenborough were in the 1959 programmer SOS PACIFIC (review at Pier Angeli label), which maybe led to her casting her). Craig is reliable as usual, the film is scripted by Bryan Forbes (who also appears) from an idea by Craig and his brother Richard Gregson (who went on to marry Natalie Wood). It remains a riveting slice of life from that era. Directed by Guy Green (that ace cinematographer on Lean's GREAT EXPECTATIONS, who became a director).
Tom Courtenay in another sterling performance as the innocent who does not realise the enormity of what he did and what will happen to him, in this brutal system.
This was an ‘X Certificate’ film at the time, I cannot see why now. It is strong stuff though, bleak and unrelenting, particularly that climax when Bogarde puts the injured soldier out of his misery. Made in 18 days and for not very much money, it is certainly one rare item it is good to see again, and how it fits into the Losey canon between THE SERVANT and MODESTY BLAISE and ACCIDENT.
KING & COUNTRY is now available on dvd, and, for UK viewers, is being screened again by Film4 this time, next Tuesday afternoon, 15th, and will be repeated the following week.