King Rat

Synopsis: 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. As the st
Genre: Drama, War
Director(s): Bryan Forbes
Production: Columbia Pictures
  Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 nomination.
134 min

Lift it.

You! Corporal.


Turn your pockets out, corporal.

You won this gambling, of course.

Why do you think it is?

Why do you think you have so much

and the rest of us so little?

One day, you're going

to make a slip.

All this wealth you've got

won't check against my list.

And when you do, when that happens,

I'll be ready.

Then you'll be in there.

In my cage.

I'm not playing at being

provost marshal.

And I never heard of luck

that didn't run out.

Yours will, depend on it. Because

you're like all criminals, you're greedy.

I'd like to point out that

I don't have to put up with this crap.

I'm not in your two-bit army.

I'm in our two-bit Army.

If you're looking for something

to live for, when we get out of this...

...come looking for me.

I'll hand you your head.

We'll see.

But you make one slip,

just one...

...and we'll see how long you survive

in my cage.

And after my cage, I'll personally...

I'll personally hand you over

to the Japs.

- What's happening here?

- Nothing, sir.

I'm just searching the corporal.

You're in order to search him,

question him, Grey...

...but threats and abuse aren't on.

They aren't on.

You ought to know better than

to go around dressed like that.

Asking for trouble. Just asking for it.

Even so, quite wrong to threaten.

Not the way to treat an enlisted man.

I think... apology...

If you request it, sir...

...then I apologize.

- Very good.

All right, corporal, you can go,

but watch the way you dress.

Yes, thank you, colonel.

- Yeah?

- He had one invite out to number four.

Okay, I'll take care of it.

Find Col. Brant

and give him this.

Tell him not to be so late next time.

Right. Do you know where he'd be?

By the jail. It's his day

for watching Grey.

- That's all?

- That's all for him.

Then go find that guy with the arm.

He's got a delivery.

Come on, Tojo, time for tea.

Choice of litter, right?


- You hear the news, Max?

- No.

The war's gonna last

another 10 years. Official.

The last three years

was just for openers.

Lee told me to tell you

he'd done your laundry.

I asked him especially,

and he told me to tell you.

Take one.

King, you don't have to...

It's okay. I'll call you

if I need you.

You want my chow today?

- You bet.

- You got it.

Max. See that guy out there

with the wog?

Get him for me.

Hey, fella.

The King wants to see you.

- The who?

- The King.

What, is it Garden Party Day

or something?

Save the jokes.

He wants to see you.

I'm not joking. We take our royal family

very seriously.

- What's he want to see me about?

- How would I know? Come on.

Extraordinary court procedure.

Come on. Come on.

- I was sent for, I believe.

- Yeah.

Yeah. Take a seat.

Do you smoke?


Yes, I do.

Well, help yourself.

How come we never met before?

- No idea. I haven't been anywhere.

- What's your name?

Marlowe, Peter Marlowe.

What's yours?

How's that chair feel?


- Cost me 80 bucks.

- Did it?

- Yes. I'd never have guessed.

- You'd have said more, huh?

I don't think I'd have said

anything, really.

I've never been a great

chair-price guesser.

I was gonna fix some chow.

Wanna join me?

I've just had lunch, thank you.

You could use some more,

couldn't you? You want an egg?

Excuse me, what's all this in aid of?

- Do what?

- People just don't give eggs away.

Well, I'm not people.

- Am I, Max?

- No. No, you're not people, King.

- Well, you want an egg or don't you?

- Well, of course I want it.

Okay, then, you got it.

How do you like it?

- Fried.

- Okay.

So you got yourself a fried egg.

You're not related to either

Fortnum or Mason, are you?

Who are they?

It doesn't matter. They run a little

family grocery shop back home.

That's pretty neat, huh?

Max wired it for me.

Just telling him

you wired the hot plate.

- It's working okay, huh?

- It better be.

- I gotta impress the British.

- The British are impressed.

- You speak it pretty good, don't you?

- British? I mean, English?

- No, you know, the lingo, out there.

- Yes, I suppose so. Not too bad.

Say something for me now.

- In Malay?

- Yeah.

- What sort of thing?

- Anything. I just want to hear you.

That's pretty good.

You hear that, Max?

What's that mean?

It doesn't really have

a literal translation.

But roughly, it means:

"When do I have to kiss thee

on the ass?"

After the egg, never before meals.


Thank you.

How about that?

Not bad. Not bad at all.

The egg ain't been laid

that tastes better than that.

Don't get excited, Fortnum.

When we say not bad,

we don't mean "not bad."

- We mean it's bloody marvelous.

- Yeah?

What do you mean when

you say it's bloody marvelous?

Bit dicey.

Forget it.

- Lift your feet.

- What?

Lift your feet.

- You're slumming, aren't you, Marlowe?

- Don't be a snob.

Never make a good policeman

if you're a snob.

Everyone looks the same

with their knickers down.

- Where's your armband?

- In my pocket.

It should be on your arm.

Those are orders.

- They're Jap orders. We stuff those.

- They're also camp orders. Put it on.

- What's the matter with you?

- Nothing, sir.

Just recovering from the pleasure

of seeing you twice today.

Col. Sellars has reported

the theft of a gold ring.

A gold ring. Gee.

- Gee, that's tough, sir.

- I believe you know Col. Sellars.

- Could you describe him to me?

- You play cards with him?

Rate this script:2.5 / 2 votes

James Clavell

James Clavell (10 October 1921 – 6 September 1994), born Charles Edmund Dumaresq Clavell, was a British (and later naturalized American) novelist, screenwriter, director, and World War II veteran and prisoner of war. Clavell is best known as a writer for his The Asian Saga series of novels and their televised adaptations. Clavell also authored screenplays, such as The Great Escape (1963) and To Sir, with Love (1967). Clavell wrote science fiction as well, including an episode of the early sci-fi TV series Men into Space in 1959, titled "First Woman on the Moon", as well as the film script for the original (1958) version of the sci-fi/horror film The Fly, starring Vincent Price. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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