British soldiers held during the Korean War find themselves subjected to Chinese Communist re-education.
An Army training film to be directly compared with Resisting Enemy Interrogation (dir. Bernard Vorhaus) on name, rank and serial number.
They hand you a series of questionnaires. “Social status, educational background, motive for enlistment—”
“Same old questions.”
“—acquaintances with officers and others, state of family? What are they running, a marriage bureau?”
A familiar enemy in its doubletalk.
“You will give me every name in your subversive group. Confess your crimes!”
“I haven’t committed any crimes, you’re wasting your time.”
“Are your sympathies with the Chinese People’s Republic?”
“Then you are a self-confessed criminal!”
“I am not.”
“If you have no sympathy with the Chinese People’s Republic, then you must be against it!”
“I’m a soldier.”
“You are a war criminal! Only the Chinese and the North Korean people are soldiers.”
The troops are rather green, a corporal in Intelligence joins their number after one of them is beaten to death for “sabotaging study” with a question about the Geneva Convention and admitting to it (cf. Hitchcock’s Bon Voyage).
A Russian interrogator lends himself to torture (cf. Godard’s Le Petit soldat).
Two words in reply.
Philip French (The Observer), “a harrowing movie that illuminates its time and has immediate relevance for our own.”
Cf. Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
“Even if I’d known what I know now, could I or anyone have held back the terror?”
An astoundingly precise basis of Preminger’s The Human Factor, by Tom Stoppard out of Graham Greene, mutatis mutandis.
Which, in the realms of Intelligence and Space Research and mind projection and so forth, brings you to Ball of Fire (dir. Howard Hawks), not overlooking the cultivated recollection of Rilla’s Village of the Damned.
A substance “more powerful and destructive” than heroin (diamorphine), cf. It Came from Outer Space (dir. Jack Arnold). The wife is a bit of Swiss cheesecake with the upstaring eyes of Ken Russell’s mental patient in Altered States when first seen, “I’m telling you she has no pulse. And I’ll tell you another thing, she doesn’t blink her eyes at all, not at all!” Her hands are impervious to the heat of a Lancashire hot pot, but she is alarming to children and administrators. The couple met on what Gerald Thomas calls “Swiss hols” in Carry On Abroad, cf. Sam Wood’s Goodbye, Mr. Chips.
Devil Girl from Mars (dir. David MacDonald) for the calcination from Baudelaire. “Hit with such a cataclysmic force, no human being could possibly have been responsible.”
“Like a patient etherised upon a table” (cf. the Man who fell to Earth, dir. Nicolas Roeg), and the real basis is Ninotchka (dir. Ernst Lubitsch), in turn (cf. Invasion, dir. Alan Bridges).
A fascinating masterpiece, proceeding from the script to its conscious realization, a major work.
TV Guide, “the film is a little too earnest in its intent, but a cast of fine actors and an appealing premise overcome many of its limitations.” Britmovie, “accomplished sci-fi chiller”. Hal Erickson (Rovi), “takes a romantic approach to standard sci-fi material.” Halliwell’s Film Guide, “surprisingly effective minor science fiction.”