Yesterday's Enemy (1959)

93 or 95 mins | Drama | November 1959

Director:

Val Guest

Writer:

Peter R. Newman

Producer:

Michael Carreras

Cinematographer:

Arthur Grant

Editor:

Alfred Cox

Production Designer:

Bernard Robinson

Production Company:

Hammer Film Productions, Ltd.
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HISTORY

According to Mar 1959 HR news items, Yesterday's Enemy was part of a deal between Hammer Film Productions, Ltd. and Columbia Pictures Corp. that stipulated that Hammer would co-produce five films per year for Columbia over a period of five years. Columbia had previously acquired a 49% interest in Hammer's Bray Studios, and under this new arrangement, was to provide 50% of the financing for the co-productions.
       Although a HR news item and the Var review noted that British writer Peter R. Newman adapted his play for the screen, other sources indicate that Yesterday's Enemy was based on an original story and screenplay by Newman. Modern sources add Barry Foster to the cast. ... More Less

According to Mar 1959 HR news items, Yesterday's Enemy was part of a deal between Hammer Film Productions, Ltd. and Columbia Pictures Corp. that stipulated that Hammer would co-produce five films per year for Columbia over a period of five years. Columbia had previously acquired a 49% interest in Hammer's Bray Studios, and under this new arrangement, was to provide 50% of the financing for the co-productions.
       Although a HR news item and the Var review noted that British writer Peter R. Newman adapted his play for the screen, other sources indicate that Yesterday's Enemy was based on an original story and screenplay by Newman. Modern sources add Barry Foster to the cast. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
28 Sep 1959.
---
Daily Cinema
24 Jul 1959.
---
Daily Variety
23 Sep 59
p. 3.
Film Daily
1 Oct 59
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Mar 1959
p. 1, 6.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Mar 1959
p. 1, 4.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Aug 1959
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Sep 59
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Sep 1959
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
3 Oct 59
p. 437.
New York Times
4 Mar 60
p. 19.
Variety
23 Sep 59
p. 6.
DETAILS
Release Date:
November 1959
Premiere Information:
London opening: 17 September 1959
Production Date:
12 January--19 February 1959 at Bray Studios, Windsor, England
Copyright Claimant:
Hammer Film Productions, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
10 October 1959
Copyright Number:
LP14573
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Widescreen/ratio
MegaScope
Duration(in mins):
93 or 95
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Burma during World War II, an exhausted patrol of British soldiers trudges through a jungle swamp urged on by their ruthless captain, Alan Langford. Their radio had been disabled by water, causing them to lose contact with headquarters, and their commander, Brigadier, has been mortally wounded. After fording the river, the patrol comes upon a small Burmese village where they are met by machine-gun fire emanating from some Japanese soldiers hiding in the native huts. Returning fire, the British overpower their enemy, killing eight Japanese soldiers and one full colonel. They also capture an uncooperative Burmese man who was working as an informant for the Japanese. When the captain questions the informant about the colonel and a map with strange markings they found, the man refuses to talk. The captain then threatens to kill him unless he cooperates, and to convince the informant that he is serious, orders two villagers shot unless he answers the questions. The captain’s callousness enrages both Max, a war correspondent traveling with the patrol, and the patrol’s chaplain, affectionately known as “Padre.” Sgt. McKenzie supports his superior’s decision, however, and carries out his orders. After the villagers are executed, the frightened informant tells Langford that the map, in code, outlines a major attack that will trap the British and cut off their supply lines, leaving them helpless. Realizing that the lives of thousands of British soldiers hang in the balance, the captain orders McKenzie to kill the informant so that he will never be able to divulge that the map has been found and deciphered. Because it is imperative that the ... +


In Burma during World War II, an exhausted patrol of British soldiers trudges through a jungle swamp urged on by their ruthless captain, Alan Langford. Their radio had been disabled by water, causing them to lose contact with headquarters, and their commander, Brigadier, has been mortally wounded. After fording the river, the patrol comes upon a small Burmese village where they are met by machine-gun fire emanating from some Japanese soldiers hiding in the native huts. Returning fire, the British overpower their enemy, killing eight Japanese soldiers and one full colonel. They also capture an uncooperative Burmese man who was working as an informant for the Japanese. When the captain questions the informant about the colonel and a map with strange markings they found, the man refuses to talk. The captain then threatens to kill him unless he cooperates, and to convince the informant that he is serious, orders two villagers shot unless he answers the questions. The captain’s callousness enrages both Max, a war correspondent traveling with the patrol, and the patrol’s chaplain, affectionately known as “Padre.” Sgt. McKenzie supports his superior’s decision, however, and carries out his orders. After the villagers are executed, the frightened informant tells Langford that the map, in code, outlines a major attack that will trap the British and cut off their supply lines, leaving them helpless. Realizing that the lives of thousands of British soldiers hang in the balance, the captain orders McKenzie to kill the informant so that he will never be able to divulge that the map has been found and deciphered. Because it is imperative that the British command be informed about the attack, Langford decides to leave the wounded behind so as not to impede their progress to headquarters. Although Max and Padre are outraged by Langford’s decision, Brigadier announces that the wounded have unanimously decided to remain behind. When a division of enemy soldiers is spotted in the area, the captain realizes that they must all remain in the village to prevent the Japanese from suspecting that their attack plan has been discovered. Consequently, Langford dispatches McKenzie, Padre and Max to headquarters to alert them about the attack while he and the others remain behind to repair the transmitter. Knowing that they will slow down the sergeant, Max and Padre insist on staying behind, although it means certain death. As the sergeant and two other men make their way through the jungle, they are killed by the enemy. While the men desperately try to repair the radio at the camp, Langford’s second-in-command, 2d Lt. Paul Hastings, wrestles with his fear of dying. When word comes that the Japanese are approaching, Langford leads a patrol to ambush them at the river, but one of his men fires his rifle too early and alerts the enemy to their position, resulting in their capture. The Japanese commander, Maj. Yamazaki, wonders aloud why the British stayed in the village when they easily could have escaped and begins to suspect that they may have found the map. In order to pressure Langford, the major threatens to execute his men unless he divulges all he knows. When Langford protests that Yamazaki is ignoring the code of conduct in war, the major chides that there are no morals in war. While Langford watches from a window in the hut, the major orders the British soldiers lined up in front of a firing squad, then tells Langford that he has two minutes to cooperate or his men will die. Unwilling to watch his men be executed, Langford makes a dash for the radio transmitter and is gunned down by one of his guards. As the others bravely face death, Padre leads them in prayer, while in the background, a speech from the commander of the British troops is broadcast over the radio, praising the bravery of his men. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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