Death of a Soldier

Edward Leonski (Brown) was the first American soldier to be sentenced to death by a US military tribunal in World War II, convicted for the murder of three women while stationed in Australia. His motive, as he told his defence counsellor Major Dannenberg (Coburn) was a need to possess the women's 'voices'. The American military, seeking to defend their reputation, responded to public outcry by prosecuting Leonski themselves, while Dannenberg pushed to save the soldier's life with an insanity plea. Mora uses the trial in an attempt to examine the fragile relationship that existed between Americans and Australians during the war, and to demonstrate the need for due process of law. But sadly for any intelligent treatment of these issues, the film concentrates on the depiction of the murders and the manhunt which ensued, with Melbourne presented as an outrageous Frat party for the GIs, while Coburn struggles with stilted dialogue and what would seem to be an inordinate amount of starch in his jockeys.

Release details

Duration: 96 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Philippe Mora
Screenwriter: William Nagle
Cast: James Coburn
Reb Brown
Bill Hunter
Maurie Fields
Belinda Davey
Max Fairchild
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