Nevil Shute’s novelA Town Like Alice, from which this film was made, was based to a degree on fact – after the fall of Malaya to the Japanese during the war, European families were split, the men to labour camps, the women and children supposedly to other camps but these were over populated and they spent months on the road, ill-fed and sick, suffering deaths along their tortuous ordeal.
Virginia McKenna plays Jean Paget, who helps her fellow marchers as best she can. She meets Joe Harman, an Australian PoW on transport duties and a spark ignites between the two. But he is brutally punished by the Japanese after stealing a chicken for her and she thinks she’ll never see him again. When their lone guard dies, the women settle down in a small village and the war’s end brings repatriation. Then Jean gets a letter from Alice Springs, Australia…
The film, which saw the two leads win BAFTAs, also saw them at the height of their popularity and the film was a domestic triumph here and in Australia. Full of emotion and drama, Lee never allows the historical sweep to overwhelm the love story at the heart of the film and despite being shot entirely in Britain (doubles were used for McKenna and Finch for scenery shots in Malaya and Australia), it remains faithful to the story from one of Australia’s favourite writers.
UK – Australia / Rank / 117 minutes / 1956
Writers:W P Lipscombe, Richard Mason, based on Nevil Shute’s novel,
Virginia McKenna as Jean Paget
Peter Finch as Joe Harman
Kenji Takagi as Japanese Sergeant
Tran Van Khe as Captain Sugaya
Jean Anderson as Miss Horsefall
Marie Lohr as Mrs. Dudley Frost
Maureen Swanson as Ellen
Renée Houston as Ebbey
Nora Nicholson as Mrs. Frith
Eileen Moore as Mrs. Holland
John Fabian as Mr. Holland
Vincent Ball as Ben
Vu Ngoc Tuan as Captain Yanata
and this just in
Annie (1982, Albert Finney, Carol Burnett)
After the smash-hit Broadway musical version of Annie the powers that be obviously decided that a cute redhead would mean...
51st State, The (2001, Samuel L Jackson, Robert Carlyle)
In The 51st State after three decades of experimentation, pharmacologist Elmo McElroy (Samuel L Jackson) creates the perfect drug: POS-51....
Anchor and Hope (2018, Oona Chaplin, Trevor White)
In Anchor and Hope, an English romantic drama made by Spanish director Carlos Marques-Marcet, Eva and Kat enjoy a carefree...
A Star Is Born (2018, Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga)
A Star is Born is a story that every generation seems to want to have their own version of, here...
The Wife (2018, Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce)
In strong drama The Wife Joan Castleman questions her life choices as she travels to Stockholm with her husband Joe,...
NCIS: Los Angeles: To Live and Die in Mexico (Season 10 Premiere CBS 30 Sep 2018)
To Live and Die in Mexico: Gravely injured and unable to communicate with the team in the U.S., Callen, Sam...
NCIS: Los Angeles: Superhuman (S10EP2 CBS 7 Oct 2018)
Superhuman: After the prototype for a tactical assault suit is stolen from a Navy base and used in a Beverly...
NCIS: Los Angeles: The Prince (S10EP3 CBS 14 Oct 2018)
The Prince: Callen and Sam are assigned protection duty for Deputy Crown Prince Kamal (Ritesh Rajan) after an unknown assassin...
Night School (Universal 2018, Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish)
In Kevin Hart starring comedy Night School Teddy (Hart) is an inventive salesman, but when he blows up the BBQ...
A Simple Favor (2018, Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively)
In the Paul Feig directed A Simple Favour, Stephanie (played by Anna Kendrick) is a vlogger living in a small...
King of Thieves (2018, Michael Caine, Michael Gambon)
The brilliantly cast King of Thieves is based on the true story from 2015 about a group of OAPS who...