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Figures in a Landscape

A misguided adaptation of Barry England's excellent novel about two Englishmen on the run from an unspecified prison camp in the Far East (Burma, Korea, Vietnam, take your pick). Re-located in Europe, with Robert Shaw's script still harping insistently on their nationality, one is left wondering bemusedly what military authority two evidently apolitical Englishmen can be running from in fear of instant annihilation. A Kafka nightmare of totalitarianism seems to be the answer, alas. But if you can forget the pretensions and the clumsy characterisations, Losey's direction is a dazzling example of pure mise en scène, with every shot perfectly calculated to frame the theme of two figures caged in a landscape. The sequences in which they are stalked by a helicopter playing cat-and-mouse are good enough to suspend disbelief in the game.

Release details

Duration: 110 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Joseph Losey
Screenwriter: Robert Shaw
Cast: Malcolm McDowell
Warwick Sims
Robert Shaw
Henry Woolf
Christopher Malcolm
Andy Bradford
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jon Kelly

This is a film that just would not be made today. 2 men are escaping through the harshly beauitiful countryside of an unknown country. We never find out who they are, what they have done or who is chasing them. The cinematography in this film is superb and the action scenes are frequently so dangerous they make todays fakery seem shallow and uninvolving. A rare gem and well worth the effort in seeking out.

jon Kelly

This is a film that just would not be made today. 2 men are escaping through the harshly beauitiful countryside of an unknown country. We never find out who they are, what they have done or who is chasing them. The cinematography in this film is superb and the action scenes are frequently so dangerous they make todays fakery seem shallow and uninvolving. A rare gem and well worth the effort in seeking out.