When Singapore surrendered to the Japanese in 1942 the Allied POWs, mostly British but including a few Americans, were incarcerated in Changi prison. This was a POW detention center like no other. There were no walls or barbed-wire fences for the simple reason that there was no place for the prisoners to escape to. Included among the prisoners is the American Cpl. King, a wheeler dealer who has managed to established a pretty good life for himself in the camp. While most of the prisoners are near starvation and have uniforms that are in tatters, King eats well and and has crisp clean clothes to wear every day. His nemesis is Lt. Robin Grey, the camp Provost who attempts to keep good order and discipline. He knows that King is breaking camp rules by bartering with the Japanese but can’t quite get the evidence he needs to stop him. King soon forms a friendship with Lt. Peter Marlowe an upper class British officer who is fascinated with King’s élan and no rules approach to life… —IMDb
Bryan Forbes, CBE is an English film director, actor and writer. Bryan Forbes was born John Theobald Clarke on 22 July 1926 in Queen Mary’s Hospital, Stratford, West Ham, Essex (now Greater London), and grew up at 43 Cranmer Road, Forest Gate, West Ham, Essex (now Greater London).
Forbes trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts but did not complete his studies. After military service from 1945 to 1948, he played numerous supporting roles in British films including in 1955 The Colditz Story, alongside John Mills, as well as appearing on the stage, but was obliged to change his name by British Equity to avoid confusion with the adolescent actor John Clark. He began also to write for the screen, receiving his first full credit for The Cockleshell Heroes in 1955. Another noted screenplay of his from this period was for The League of Gentlemen in 1959, in which he also acted.
He formed a production company with his frequent collaborator Richard Attenborough… read more
Strange how an impressive number of characters played by actors in this film could have been played by actresses. Of course, I don't mean by that that Changi prison was a prison for repressed or unconscious homosexuals but rather that the behaviour of the men surrounding King or Grey results from a feminine psychology. Now, I also love this film for numerous other reasons. Masterpiece.