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Bridge River Kwai (1957) King Rat (1965)


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Thanks to cable TV I got to see both these old films this month to refresh my memory about them. At the time I saw King Rat in 1965, the writer James Clavell meant nothing to me.


Anyway, to compare and contrast both are World War II movies about British prisoners of the Japanese in Southeast Asia (Sri Lanka and Malaysia). Each features actor James Donald as the camp doctor. In each the starving prisoners sweat doing demanding physical work in the tropics. Both include a handful of American prisoners for dramatic (OR BOX OFFICE?) purposes, I guess.


In both, the prisoners put on a play for entertainment. Theatre instinct in Brits must be strong.


At the end of 'Rat' the Australian army arrives to liberate and feed the men, tend the sick, issue proper clothing. Richard Dawson has a small role -- I met him in 1972. It's fantastic to see James Fox as a young man. I didn't recognize him until the credits rolled.

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