7.1/10
513
21 user 8 critic

Yesterday's Enemy (1959)

In World War II, during the Japanese invasion of Burma, the lost remnant of a British Army Brigade HQ, led by the ruthless Captain Alan Langford, escapes through the jungle toward the British lines.

Director:

Val Guest

Writer:

Peter R. Newman
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Nominated for 4 BAFTA Film Awards. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Stanley Baker ... Captain Langford
Guy Rolfe ... Padre
Leo McKern ... Max
Gordon Jackson ... Sgt. McKenzie
David Oxley ... Doctor
Richard Pasco Richard Pasco ... 2nd Lt. Hastings
Philip Ahn ... Yamazaki
Bryan Forbes ... Dawson
Wolfe Morris Wolfe Morris ... Informer (as Wolf Morris)
David Lodge ... Perkins
Percy Herbert ... Wilson
Russell Waters Russell Waters ... Brigadier
Barry Lowe Barry Lowe ... Turner
Burt Kwouk ... Japanese Soldier
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Storyline

Cut off by the Japanese advance into Burma, Captain Langford (Stanley Baker) and his exhausted British troops take over an enemy-held jungle village. Despite the protests of an elderly padre ('Guy Rolfe (I)') and of war correspondent Max Anderson (Leo McKern), Langford orders Sergeant McKenzie (Gordon Jackson) to shoot two innocent villagers, thereby "persuading" a Japanese informer to surrender vital information. When the Japanese recapture the village, their commander uses Langford's own desperate war-born tactics in a similar effort to extract information from the British. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Most Controversial War Drama Ever Filmed! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Burmese | Japanese

Release Date:

11 July 1959 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Feinde von gestern See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stanley Baker regarded this as one of his best films, although he regretted they did not have a larger budget. See more »

Goofs

There are six prisoners in front of a firing squad, but only five soldiers in the firing squad each fire one shot. See more »

Quotes

Captain Langford: He knew there's only one way to fight a war, any war. With your gloves off.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is no 'The End' at the end of the film. The camera merely pans away from a memorial which reads 'WHEN YOU GO HOME TELL THEM OF US AND SAY- FOR THEIR TOMORROW WE GAVE OUR TODAY'; and silence, but with just birds singing. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Looking for Peter (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Burma March
(uncredited)
Composed by Franz Reizenstein
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Stunning!
28 March 2015 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

"When You Go home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"

There's a school of thought in film world that all war films are anti-war films, some, however, are the definition of such and are cream of the crop. Yesterday's Enemy is one such picture.

Out of Hammer Films, it's directed by Val Guest and written by Peter R. Newman. It stars Stanley Baker, Gordon Jackson, Guy Rolfe, Leo McKern and Philip Ahn. Story has the surviving members of a British Army Brigade holing up in a Burmese jungle village, where Captain Langford (Baker) happens upon a map that could prove critical to operations involving the Japanese forces in the area. Unable to get clarity from a potential traitor, Langford must make decisions that will outrage those in his quarters, but could well be for the greater good of the war effort. All while the Japanese are advancing on the village.

There is no music here, this is purely a sweaty black and white piece that booms with literary class. These men caught in a claustrophobic crossfire of moral quandaries, faiths and life altering judgements. Complex issues are brilliantly handled by Guest and his superb cast, with ace cinematographer Arthur Grant (shooting in MegaScope) completely making a mockery of the stage bound production to make real a Burmese jungle village. Come the sobering finale the realisation dawns that this was a bold movie for its time, pushing the boundaries of 1950s war movies. It's a must see film for anyone interested in the real side of that famous saying, war is indeed hell. 9/10


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