My Boy Jack

Synopsis: English gentleman author Rudyard Kipling, famous for the Jungle Book, uses his considerable influence, being on a War Office propaganda think tank, to get his nearly 18 year-old son John 'Jack', admitted for military service during World war I after he is repeatedly refused on account of his bad eyesight. He is enrolled in the Irish Guards: their patriotic dream but mother and sister's nightmare. After a short officer training course Jack gets command of a platoon and embarks in France. Soon, and just after his 18th birthday, his unit suffers terrible losses and Jack is reported missing. Now mother Caroline 'Carry' Kipling proves unstoppable pushing Rudyard's influence and half of England to help find out the truth. When it finally comes, there is far less glory than gore and guilt.
Director(s): Brian Kirk
Production: Warner Home Video
  3 wins & 10 nominations.
95 min

Yellow forms, please.

Wait here.

Are your people in the navy?

- No. Yours?

Oh, yes.

My father's captain of the Unity.

What does yours do?

- He's a writer.

John Kipling?

Come on, Kipling.

Where the hell are you?

I'm a great admirer of your father's.

Will you tell him

I just polished off Kim?

Absolutely loved it.

Yes, I will, sir.

You're wearing spectacles.

- Yes, sir.

Shall we start with the eyes then,

and work backwards?

Allah's teeth. Where are they?

Ah, come on, come on, come on,

come on, come on.

Thank you.

His Majesty is expecting you, sir.

- Thank you.

Don't worry, I have it about me.

I shall catch you on the way out.

Thank you, sir.

Stand on the cross, please.

Turn around.

And read the letters on the chart,

starting at the top.

H, A, L...

...without the spectacles.

Two hours, 57 minutes.


Oh, at last.


- Thank you, Your Majesty.

Marvellous run.

Awful close.

- Whisky?

It's a bit early.

- Oh, bugger the time.

Got to toast your triumph.

I've been tinkering with fourth gear,

it adds a little something.

Plus a new stretch of tarmac

near Lamberhurst.

To the shattering

of the three-hour barrier,

on the Bateman's-windsor run.

To the Silver Ghost.

- The Silver Ghost.

How's the family?

- Well, as we speak,

my son will be plum in the middle

of his medical for the navy.


Big day.

- Absolutely.

How's your youngest?

- Not good.

Big heart, weak body.

May I read you something?

- Fire away.

This morning's Times.

'Rudyard Kipling,

speaking yesterday at a meeting...

'attended by more than 10,000 people,

'painted an alarming picture of life

in this country under German rule.'

You think they'd invade?

- I know they would...

...and our Government will be there

to welcome them ashore.

Soft-centred bloody tribe.

The Prime Minister has asked

me to beg you, those were his words,

to hold back at this sensitive time.


He believes there's still a chance

of avoiding war.

He's wrong.

- He thinks your pessimism is premature.

One million German soldiers...

...are sitting on the Belgium border

ready for the off.

It depends how you define premature.

- Quite.

Our heads are buried in the sand, sir.

We have a tiny professional army,

our weapons are 50 years old.

If we don't get our skates on,

we will pay the price.

But are you prepared to ease up a bit?

At least in public?

Certainly not.

Glad to hear it. More whisky?


This is private property.

You are trespassing, please leave now.

Mrs Kipling...

- Now, please.

And take your Kodaks with you.

Is Mr Kipling available?

- No, he is not available.

You British journalists

are unbelievable.

You treat my husband like a zoo animal.

Now if you really admire him so much,

you would respect his privacy.

How would you like it...

...if I came tramping over

your garden uninvited?

Sir, you have a very distinctive face,

and I would be happy to describe it

to the police.

Leave, please.

The injured soldier.

Thank you for this, sir.

- What an ever so impressive sight.

How far did you fall?

Fifteen feet.

- Allah be praised.

Fifteen feet is high.

Did it hurt a great deal?

- No.

That was a stroke of luck.

Now your father tells me

you've read the first Jungle Book.


- But not the second.


Here you are, Arthur.

Is Mowgli in it?

Every page is chock-a-block with Mowgli.

And I've written your name and my name

in the front,

so we don't forget who we are.

And I've done a very silly picture

of you plunging from your apple tree.

But that's in pencil, so you can

rub it out as soon as I've gone.

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David Haig

David Haig Collum Ward, MBE (born 20 September 1955) is an Olivier Award-winning English actor and FIPA Award-winning writer. He is known for playing dramatic, serio-comic and comedic roles and playing characters of varied social classes. He has appeared in stage productions in the West End and performed numerous TV and film roles over the past 25 years. He wrote the play My Boy Jack, which premièred at the Hampstead Theatre on 13 October 1997. On Remembrance Day ten years later, ITV broadcast a television drama based on the play, in which Haig played Rudyard Kipling and Daniel Radcliffe played Kipling's son, John. Haig went on to star as the Player in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead alongside Radcliffe in 2017. Haig's second play The Good Samaritan was also first staged at the Hampstead Theatre, opening on 6 July 2000. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "My Boy Jack" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 28 Oct. 2020. <>.

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