After three years at the front in World War I, a young soldier simply walks away from the guns; he is court-martialled, found wanting, and shot. For Losey, 'a story about hypocrisy, a story about people who are brought up to a certain way of life, who are given the means to extend their knowledge and to extend their understanding, but are not given the opportunity to use their minds in connection with it, and who finally have to face the fact that they have to be rebels in society...or else they have to accept hypocrisy.' This recasting of The Servant as a war film, with Courtenay playing the working-class deserter whose helplessness traps the liberal middle-class officer (Bogarde) assigned to defend him at his court-martial, fails precisely because the sexual element in the relationship, so explicit in The Servant, is so repressed. Moreover, the intense questioning tone of John Wilson's source play (Hamp) is replaced with what are little more than academic debates about morality.
Cast and crew