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Dramatic, pseudo-documentary reconstruction of the rise of the nationalist movement in Algiers between 1954 and 1957, the crushing defeat it faced at the hands of the French, and its resurgence three years later. Highly influential both in terms of style and content, and originally banned in France for fear of its potential to incite civil unrest, Gillo Pontecorvo's film was one of the benchmarks of 1960s political radicalism.
John Mills gives one of his most distinguished performances as Captain Anson, a grumbling alcoholic sent on a WW2 mission to Alexandria. En route, Anson makes the acquaintance of nurses Sister Diane Murdoch, Sister Denise Norton and a South African officer, Captain Van Der Poel.
But though Van Der Poel proves invaluable on their perilous journey through enemy territory, is he all that he seems?
Depicting one of the Allies' most difficult periods of the Second World War, as the Germans made apparently unstoppable advances in the North African desert, the film is remarkable for its prominent female characters, audacious representation of English masculinity, and sympathetic characterisation of German characters.
The film's denouement - a paean to loyalty and solidarity - is one of the most iconic moments of British war cinema.
In black & white.
Documentary examining the nature of trench warfare in the First World War, and the ways in which the armies of the time were not prepared for the effects of modern, industrialised conflicts. Featuring archive footage, photographs, and dramatised reconstructions and 'eyewitness' reports. Narrated by Terry Molloy.
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