Great performances and a thoughtful meditation on whether war can ever be "civilized."
Clever propaganda movie nice story and worth seeing.
An epic that details the life of an upper class English soldier over 40 years. The film has a flashback structure that places scenes around major events in three wars without actually depicting anything significant from these events. The central character, General Candy, is initially played as a caricature of upper British class nobility and there is a lot of humour derived from the character throughout. But as much as the film makes fun of some of these traits, it equally humanises Candy as the story develops. The film depicts his relationship with three women over the course of the film, all played by Deborah Kerr who convinces as three distinct characters in one film, but the emotional centre to the film is his friendship with Walbrook, which gradually becomes deeply moving. These relationships lead to a wonderful reevaluation of the character and the “death” of the caricature by the close of the film. Walbrook in particular is fantastic with two key moments in which he delivers a monologue concerning his life after World War I and another that epitomises one of the themes of the film - the changing nature of warfare that Candy in particular seems unwilling to acknowledge. There is also a very clever balancing act that the film does in exploring the younger generation’s perception of an older generation, initially encouraging the audience to join with the young soldiers mocking Candy’s steadfast refusal to change, but gradually leading the audience to sympathise, if not quite agree with his position. That this was made in the middle of World War II gives the context of the film an added dimension, but this is still as thematically relevant today as it was at the time. Wonderful film.