Sword of Honour

Synopsis: Guy Crouchback,heir to a declining English Roman Catholic family returns to England from Italy at the start of World War Two and joins the Royal Corps of Halberdiers,along with various eccentrics though his attempts to get back with his wife Virginia,from whom he is separated,fail. After being implicated in a colleague's death he is sent to train a commando brigade on a Scottish island and ends up on Crete,taking part in its evacuation and escaping to Egypt with fellow officers Ludovic and Ivor Claire. He is returned to England courtesy of Mrs Stitch to possibly prevent him from naming Claire as a deserter. Guy marries Virginia a second time by which timer she has a child by ex-lover Trimmer. Whilst Guy is in Yugoslavia having a confusing time with the partisans Virginia is killed,along with Guy's uncle Peregrine,by a doodlebug bomb. Guy returns to England after getting involved in charitable agencies and eventually remarries.
Genre: Drama, War
Director(s): Bill Anderson
Production: Acorn Media
  3 wins & 1 nomination.
208 min

(Church bell tolls) Silenzio! Basta! - (Child wails) - Mio bambino! - Cagna comunista! - (Crying) Non sono comunista! Signori! Signori! Signori! - Per favore, lascie la donna. - Il mio bambino... - Eh! - Estraneo, lei? - E inglese, lei? - Sono inglese. Ma abito qui. - Grazie, signor. - Inglese! Vaffanculo! - Vaffanculo! - I'm warning you! No, mister, you go now. - There's no need for that. - You come away from here now. He can't get away... I think you go now, sir. This is not your business. You're not in England now. (Door creaks open) Pray for me, Sir Roger. Pray for me and our endangered kingdom. Pray... Guy? Hello. Can I help you? I... erm... Father, I'm... I've come to say goodbye. I'm going back to England. So, you decided at last, eh? It's a sad day, Guy. But why go now? It's summertime, life is good. There's a war coming, Father, we can't stand back any longer. I had to make up my mind. So... you come to ask Sir Roger for some help, eh? I understand. Two English warriors, yes? On a crusade, like Sir Roger. I don't know about that. I'd like to have had his blessing, though. Well, Sir Roger, he was on his way to fight in the Holy Land. But... he only reach Italy, where his ship sink. He drown in the bay here. He never saw Jerusalem. But he was a good man. A good man? Who can say? As far as anybody can know. (Pigeon coos and flutters) Anyway, I have another battle to fight, eh? Oi! Fuori di qui, eh? Fuori! Va! Fuori di qui! Fuori! Dear General Cutter, I have recently returned to England from abroad and am urgently looking for a commission in the army. I believe it is my duty to join arms... Dear Colonel Glover, I am writing in the hope that you are looking for officers... Dear Colonel Hulme... ...I feel keenly the need to fight forjustice and freedom... ...with my admiration for the guards I would be proud to join your historic call. But you're far too old, Guy, don't you see? You're an old man as far as the army's concerned. Don't the BBC want people with languages? Your Italian might come in useful. I want to fight, Father. I want to go into battle. The army's changed, Guy. It's all about motorcars now. Yes, but the cause is just the same. Russia and Germany are allies. The enemy is there in plain view and no-one can say now that they can't see the evil. There must be a place for me somewhere in that battle. Morning, Sisters. Morning, sir. The new potatoes are ready. Take as many as you want. Oh, and the carrots. Thank you, Mr Crouchback. (Laughs) Doesn't matter what I say, however banal, those nuns think I'm a comedian. Very jolly people, nuns. Have you noticed? Er... no, no. Can't say I have. Won't you miss the house? Not at all. It's been mine for many years, the memories stay fresh. And the nuns will be good tenants. Angela's set me up in a hotel in town. You must come and see. Nice set of rooms. Are you sure you'll be all right in a hotel? Oh, don't you worry about me. You're the problem. It's you I worry about, my boy. I pray for you. I asked those nuns to pray for you. Thank you, Father. Very thoughtful. Oh, Mr Crouchback! Some more pink gins immediately. - You'll join me in a pink gin, won't you? - Well, thank you, yes. - Major and Mrs Tickeridge, my son, Guy. - Hello. - You sit here, Father, by the fire. - Thank you. Excellent. - Guy, if I may? - You may. So, you're moving in here too, eh? I've settled Madam in for the duration. Much safer. Here's how. - Oh, here's how. - Here's how. No, no, Guy's not staying here, in spite of his advanced years. - He's been making frantic efforts to join up. - Join the army? You, Guy? I call that jolly sporting. There's not much sport in it. Everyone's turning me down. - You serious about this? - Yes, deadly serious. Well, then, you should join us. We're forming a new brigade, some regulars, some temporaries, some conscripts. The Captain-Commandant was saying we could use some older chaps. - What's your regiment? - The Halberdiers. If you're serious, I'll see if the thing can be managed. What do you say? I say here's how. Squad, by the left, quick march! Left, right, left, right, left... That is not marching, Mr Trimmer! That is mincing! That is auditioning for a ballet company! Straighten that back, Mr Trimmer! Swing those arms! Do not look at him, Mr Apthorpe, or you'll fall over! Just concentrate on keeping time! Left, right, left, right! You have two feet, Mr Apthorpe! You are allowed to lead with both of them! Follow Mr Crouchback! Look at Mr Crouchback marching away! He doesn't look like some nancy boy or mental defective! Look at Mr Crouchback, you horrible bunch of useless gentlemen! And put a bit of swing into it! Let's have a bit of f***ing joy! I was wearing my rubber soles today. Mistake. Big, big mistake. - Why is that, Apthorpe? - Well, I couldn't hear my feet. But your feet weren't numb. Don't see how that affects your marching. If you can't hear yourself march, De Souza, you won't march in time. Isn't that true, Crouchback? I shall wear my porpoises tomorrow. Porpoises? My other boots. Made from the skin of the white whale. So why are they called porpoises? Trade secret, old man. Everyone wore them in the bush. - What, Shepherd's Bush? (Laughs) - No, the African bush. We all swore by them in Africa. Well, we'll all look forward to the debut of your porpoises. Ooh, I can hardly wait(!) - Evening, gentlemen. - Sergeant. - Mr Trimmer! - Sir! You are in a state of undress! You do not leave the barrack until you are fully clothed! For God's sake, it's just a glove. As far as I am concerned, you are bollock naked, Mr Trimmer! Return to your room and do not come out until you are properly clothed! Enjoy your evening, gentlemen. Sergeant. (Laughter) (Hum of conversation) (Taps glass) On behalf of our regular officers, I want to welcome our newcomers to the Halberdiers. Gentlemen, these are the men that will lead you into battle. Learn from them. Now, in six months' time, I want to report to the War Office that our brigade... is ready... for immediate action. Thank you. (All bang on table) (Bell rings) - Mr Crouchback, sir, the usual? - Thank you. Lan? Thank you. (Laughter) - Here's to brave men. - To brave men! What a little beauty. The first one I've had pinned to my chest. Guy, good Lord! Wonderful to see you. Tommy, erm... how are you? I see you're in the Halberdiers. Good lot. You've come up in the world. Hang around Bellamy's long enough, you're bound to get an amusing job. Tommy, lovely to see you. Hello, Guy. Sorry about that. I was hoping that naval chap was going to give me a job. I don't want anything too dangerous, can be a bit of a problem. - Anyway, what are you up to? - Same again, Colonel Blackhouse? - Something at HOO. - Who? Hazardous Offensive Operations. - Ooh... Hazardous? - Quite interesting. Anyway, how was lunch with Virginia? Virginia's in London? She's at the Stratton. Back from America. The Yank hubby has dumped her. She was asking Kerstie where you were. - Oh. She was asking after me? - You know Virginia, always keen on her ex-husbands. You should, er, you should go and see her. - She's at the Stratton? - Yes. You know Virginia, nothing by halves. I don't think she'd want to see me. I got the impression she wanted to see the whole world. She was all over me. Good God. Is that the Air Marshal? Would you excuse me for a moment? Air Marshal! (Rings bell) Guy. Guy, what a treat! (Laughs) How lovely to see you! I was talking to Tommy about you only yesterday. I adore your uniform. So chic. You look so young. - Virginia... - Are you lunching? We must. Today. Now! We'll stay here. Mr Troy can buy us lunch. Come on. Is he with you? Lord, no. Think he's on the way out, between you and me. Mr Troy hasn't been behaving at all well. You look absolutely marvellous! You're the first person who isn't surprised to find me in the army. Where else would you be? I've always known you were as brave as a lion. (Giggles) It is a little wicked, I suppose, but I do feel like celebrating. It's not every day you have lunch with an ex-husband. You had lunch with Tommy yesterday, that's two in two days, not bad going. I was hardly married to Tommy for a minute, so he doesn't count. I'd have been better off staying with you. Pass me a cigarette, darling. Why didn't you ever get married again? How could I? Darling, don't pretend your heart was broken for life. Well, apart from my broken heart, you know as well as I do that I'm not allowed to remarry. - You don't still keep to all that Catholic stuff? - I don't have much of an option. Poor Guy. I did leave you in an awful mess, didn't I? Yes. Yes, you did. So, have you had lots and lots of lovely Italian girls since me? No. Well, hardly any. We must keep meeting, Guy. We mustn't ever lose touch again. I'll be here indefinitely. No, erm... I should be going. I'll... I'll call you. When I next get some leave. (Door closes) Good evening, sir. Yes, it is. Get off! Help! Help! Get off me! - Get off! - Hey! Get off him! Oh! Argh! Oh! Damn blackout! Licence to steal. The bastards! Are you all right? Yes, yes, it's just a knock. - Are you sure? - Yes. Thank you. Thank you very much. Oh! What a complete dump. You call this a bloody training depot? - It's like a five-star hotel, Guy. - Very salubrious. Ah, Crouchback. This is your bed. What the hell's wrong with your leg? Met with rather a nasty accident. In the bathroom, hadn't a stitch on. I was staying with my aunt. Thought I'd go through some of our PT drills. Didn't want to get out of condition. Somehow, the first morning, I slipped. Came an awful cropper. Agony. Thought I'd broken my knee. Are you actually lame, Apthorpe? Of course I am. This sort of thing doesn't clear up in a day. Christ. What's all this bloody mess? What are you talking about, mess? This is my kit, for God's sake! You've clearly had no experience of campaigning, Crouchback. You lazy bastards! That's a good idea, Crouchback, I must get a walking stick myself(!) The effect of the advance of German armour created a salient, which became a pocket. - Now, a pincer movement by French forces... - (Clears throat) ...temporarily flattened the Bulge, but an enfilading sweep by a new division provoked a strategic withdrawal here which is now being consolidated. - Now, is that clear? - (All) Yes, sir. So, Mr Crouchback, you're firing in a wind of 20mph blowing left to right. - Understood? - Yes, Sergeant. So what do you do? - Allow for the wind. - You lay off for the wind. Take aim. Fire! (Click) I didn't hear the shot, Mr Crouchback. Bang. Mr Trimmer? I'd say a miss. Missed by a mile. Let's try that again, Mr Crouchback. Remember, lay off for wind. - (Click) - Bang. - Mr Trimmer? - Miss. Very disappointing, Mr Crouchback. Next! Stop, hold on. - Where are we? - I thought we were here but I'm not sure. OK, well, look. No, it's... No, it's definitely that way. - Do you think? - Yep. Erm... Do you know, I... I'm... I've got absolutely no idea. - Yes. - I thought we were there. - This way. - Yeah, it's definitely that way. - Do you think? - I'm not sure this is the right map. Morning. (Shouts) Sir! At least one of you is awake. Lazy bastards. - What's your name? - Crouchback, sir. Do you know who I am, Crouchback? - Brigadier Ritchie-Hook, sir. - That's right. And I've decided to take you lot over. Ah, Crouchback. The early bird. Yes, sir. It was not a question, Crouchback. It was an observation. - And you are? - Apthorpe, sir. Christ almighty. Is this all your kit? Yes, sir. It's taken me years to collect. Good God. Is that a thunderbox? Mm? - Is this a Connolly? - Yes, sir. (Chuckles) - Ever seen one of these, Tickeridge? - Can't say I have, sir. Had one in India for years. Never had a day's diarrhoea. Personal hygiene. Means what it says. Keep it personal and you'll stay hygienic. My thoughts exactly, sir. I bought it off a judge in Nairobi... Bloody marvellous machine. Bloody marvellous. You haven't got the clap, have you? Absolutely not, sir. Yes, well... (Clears throat) You've, er, certainly kept it in pristine condition. Carry on. At last. A real soldier in command. Why did he ask if I have the clap? (Screams) Ahh! Ahh, God! Ahh! This is not a f***ing game! These are not toys for you to play with! They are designed to kill! If you don't use them properly, they will end up killing you! This is the point of instruction! Those two bloody fools just learnt the hard way! And what's worse, they've managed to destroy a perfectly good weapon! Now, take up your firing positions. You! Clear this weapon away! Come on, come on. Prepare to fire. Fire! Absolutely disgraceful. Cease firing! - (Blows whistle) - (Gunshot) Cease firing! Right. Bastards! Come on! Shoot at me! Come on! Sergeant! Give the order! - What, sir? - Give the order! Right, sir! Commence firing! (Shouts) You useless shower! Call yourselves soldiers? (Laughs) L10 for the first man who hits me! Come on, you pathetic bastards! (Shouts) Fire! Fire! Fire! Come on! Bloody shoot me! That includes you, Crouchback! - Good shot, Crouchback. - Thank you, sir. Not half as exciting as the real thing, of course. Nothing in life's as exciting as leading a company into action. Nothing. - I can't wait, sir. - Yes. Let's hope we get a chance for a spot of biffing, eh, Crouchback? Absolutely, sir. Carry on. - Bad news, Trimmer? - It's bloody marvellous(!) What am I meant to do now? Bastard. Ooh. Bad luck. Yeah, well... See, the only good thing about the army is that it's so bloody big. I'll find something. So don't lose any sleep over me, eh? Bloody good news, eh, Apthorpe? - What's that? - Our two days' leave. I don't know about that. Can I, erm... show you something, Crouchback? Yes. It's gone, man. Vanished. - Oh, yes, I see. - Some filthy thief... I really don't think someone's stolen your thunderbox. It's probably just been tidied away. A simple mistake. - Mistake, my foot! - Have you checked the stores? Oh, I'll check everywhere, don't you worry. I've got two days with this place empty. I'll find it. You're not taking your leave? A bit of an overreaction, surely. I don't like your tone, Crouchback. This is the theft, pure and simple, of a precious antique. And I aim to find the culprit. - Evening. - Ah, evening, sir. Hello, Guy. Erm, didn't know you were in London. Tommy. (Virginia) Is that you, darling? Do come in, I'm just finishing my face! I'm, er, just leaving. Must dash. Bye, Virginia. See you at lan's. Good to see you, Guy. - Make yourself a cocktail, won't be a second. - Bye, Tommy. We did have fun, Guy, didn't we? Do you remember our famous picnics? What was our record? Oh, about five days, I think. Hm! Oh, and that time we overslept! When we finally came out of our tent, everyone had gone. (Laughs) I wouldn't call it oversleeping. Funny the way things happen. The way the things happen to me, anyway. Hey, what's going on? I want to kiss you. What a funny way to go about it. You'll make us spill our drinks. Here. Ooh! (Giggles) Is that what you want? It's rather like a French general presenting medals. (Giggles) I had something more... like this in mind. (Phone rings) - Erm, shall I get that? - (Phone rings) Please. - Hello? - 'Ah, Crouchback, tracked you down.' Apthorpe, what is it? I wanted you to be the first to know. I found it. - Found what? - 'The thunderbox.' You'll never believe where it was. I have my suspicions about... Apthorpe, I do not give a tinker's curse about your bloody thunderbox! No need to take that tone, Crouchback. - (Slams receiver down) - Anything important? No. Just some idiot back at base. I'm sorry. How about a brandy? Darling! I've barely had time to get my breath from Tommy. Two ex-husbands in a day is rather much. Virginia, did you ever love me at all? Of course. Don't look so gloomy. We had lovely times together. We could be having lovely times right now. We could be having lovely times in about two minutes. Can't a girl have a moment to digest her meal? Fine. Take as long as you like. Well, thank you kindly(!) You're just... You're just taking too much for granted. - Christ, you sound like a tart. - Isn't that how you're treating me? Isn't that what you are? Virginia, erm... I'm sorry. Forgive me. I'm going out of my mind, I didn't mean it. - Tell me what you did mean. - I was cross. I'm sorry. - You thought I was a nice, easy pick-up. - No. I've never stopped thinking about you... "I'll pick up my favourite tart" You're worse than Henry Troy. - I don't know your Henry Troy! - He was a monumental bastard! I can't be like him, then, can I? Oh, very little to choose. Except he was much fatter than you, I suppose. Come on. Let's not quarrel. It'll be the last time I see you for ages. No. No, no, no. I haven't finished with you yet, Guy Crouchback. Perhaps I do seem like an easy pick-up but I can't understand you, Guy, not at all. Jumping on top of me, it's not like you. You were never one for casual affairs. Well, I'm not, and this isn't... You used to be stricter, more honourable. I liked that in you. - What's happened to all that? - Nothing. I'm still the same man. Well, what would your priest say about your behaviour, making love to a notorious divorce in a hotel? They wouldn't mind. You're my wife. - Ah! Don't be ridiculous! - Well, you did ask! That's exactly what they would say. They'd say "Go ahead, young man, as far as we're concerned, she's... she's still your wife." This is horrible. - Horrible. - What? This is disgusting. Can't you see that? You pig. Virginia, what have I said? - You just asked me about the priest... - I'd rather be a tart. I'd rather you'd given me L5 to do something in high heels and fishnet stockings, or whatever little trick gets you going. I thought you'd chosen me specially because of what we had between us. And by God, you had chosen me specially, hadn't you? Virginia, stop this now! I was the only woman your filthy priests would let you go to bed with! That was my attraction. Get out. You obscene, disgusting sexless pig, get out! Get out! Could you get a message to her as quickly as possible that I've called? Can you take it to her suite now? It's most important. Yes, Guy Crouchback. Thank you. Crouchback, I'm glad you're back early. Wait till you see this. - Jesus Christ! - Sh! Look! - Good God, it's, er... - Ritchie-Hook. Exactly. I thought he'd taken a shine to my thunderbox. (Flies buzz) I had some respect for that man. But now... What can you do? - I can take it back. It's mine, for God's sake. - I wouldn't do that if I was you. It's a serious matter, Crouchback. It amounts to pilfering. - These chemicals aren't cheap. - Oh, yes? How much a go? It isn't the money. It's the principle. And the increased risk of infection. - Exactly. - So what are you going to do? We, Crouchback, what are we going to do? Come on. (Clattering) That was bloody heavy. I won't forget this, Crouchback. Thank you. Very much. Don't mention it. Actually, I was rather glad of the distraction. Look here, old man, if you'd care to... you know, use the thunderbox, then it's all right by me. It's very good of you, Apthorpe. I-I think I'm quite content. Sure? Yes. That's all right, then. Thanks, Crouchback. We're here because we're here because We're here because we're here... I suppose as the war goes on some good songs will emerge. No chance. Listen to that. Not good for morale, First World War songs. No, this war has begun in darkness and will end in silence. Do you say these things to depress me, Frank? No, no, simply to cheer myself up. (Lorry engines rumble) Good God. What do you think's going on? This is it, Guy. This must be France! All right, you, camp beds on the trot, now! - Hurry up with those boxes! - Sergeant, is it France? Calais? Don't you read the newspapers, sir? They chucked it in at Calais. - They don't tell us anything, Sergeant. - You'd better get a move on, sir. What? Do you think it's me, Guy? (Banging) Gentlemen. Gentlemen! This is not some sort of practical joke. I'm pleased to report that, finally, this is the real thing. We have two hours to prepare ourselves. The brigade... The brigade is going into action. We are about to embark from Liverpool for West Africa. (Cheering) Good God, Crouchback, Africa! My kit, my thunderbox! (Coughs) Biffed! Hello, yes, is that the Stratton? Good. I would like to speak with Mrs Virginia Troy, suite 415. My name's Crouchback. Checked out when? Well, could you tell me... Could you tell me where she's moved to? There must be some sort of forwarding... Right. Yes. Thank you. Erm... Bye-bye. Gentlemen, I won't beat about the bush. Dakar belongs to Vichy France and the Free French want to retake it. They will make their assault on the beach outside the town here. The Halberdiers will be in support. We will be making a diversionary raid on Alpha Beach at 0600 hours. The beach is occupied. Finally, we get a chance for some serious biffing. Well, good luck. Dismissed. It's just... You can smell it. The heat and the dust, it's... I'm afraid I can't smell anything, old chap. All my senses seem to be shutting down. You sound as if you're a mile away. Ears are playing up, you know? You don't look at all well. Shouldn't you go and see the MO? It's nothing, old chap. Bechuana tummy can get you in the oddest ways. I remember once in the bush I went blind for a week. You just have to ride it out, no fussing. Bet you can't wait to get ashore. All in good time, old man. Actually, I think I will just pop down to the MO. Apthorpe, you look a bit peaky. Guy, the Brigadier wants to see you tout de suite. - Are you feeling all right? You look like hell. - Go and see the doctor, Apthorpe. Crouchback. There's a bit of a problem with Alpha Beach. Some damn fool has convinced the force commander that it's wired and impracticable. Now, can you find twelve good men for a reconnaissance patrol? - Yes, I'm sure I... - And... a good officer to lead them? May I go myself, sir? Good man. What are we looking for, sir? Well, (Clears throat) it's a bit unofficial. But we want to see just how well-defended this beach actually is. If it's wide open, as I think it is, bring back some small souvenir I can send the force commander, a coconut or something. Yes? I understand, sir. Of course, someone shoots at you, get the hell out of there. Of course. I'll look forward to seeing the report in the morning. There'll be a launch waiting on D deck, take you and your men ashore at... half past midnight? - Questions? - No. Seems quite clear to me, sir. Good. Carry on. Oh, hello. I'm looking for Captain Apthorpe, Halberdiers. - He's in there, just round the corner. - Thank you. Still no better, then? Rotten, old chap. Absolutely rotten. Still, take more than a spot of Bechuana tummy to kill off an old bush hand. I've brought you a bottle of whisky. - I don't know if... - It's just the thing. Very thoughtful. Pour us a splash. What news of the battalion? Oh, well, the raid's off. Problem with the beach. However, I may be in for a spot of fun this evening... Yes, yes, it's all another world to me, old man. Actually, do give us another drop of whisky. (Chokes) Are you sure that's good for you? My dear chap, in cases like this, whisky's the only remedy. Always carry whisky in the bush. I've pulled through countless times. Actually, I'm glad you're here, Crouchback. There's something I wanted to mention to you, ...something on my conscience. - Look... there's no need for you to tell me anything about your personal life. No, no, no, no, no. You remember when we joined up I used to go on a great deal about all the time I spent in the bush? Old African hand, all that? We enjoyed it, Apthorpe, honestly. Gave our drab lives a little bit of colour. Yes, well, I just wanted to let you know, in case I don't make it through, in case I cop it, ...it was all a complete load of absolute... - Who's the lucky chap got a visitor? We've been a bit down in the dumps, haven't we? They wear you down, Crouchback. They wear you down. You'll be up and about in a day or two, I'll see you then. And, erm... we'll keep everything between you and I, eh? Thanks, Crouchback. Good of you. Much appreciated. (Engine chugs) (Engine cuts out) (Whispers) Here. Take that back to the boat. This, sir? Get back! Get back, you bloody fool! Get... (Blows whistle three times) - (Man yells) - (Machine-gun fire) (Blows whistle) (Shouting) Get back! (Gunfire) (Shouting) Get into the boats! We've got everyone, sir, present and correct! - No, there's still someone by the tree. - Everyone's here, sir, I've counted them. Wait there! Get up! Come on! You bloody idiot! I'll have you court-martialled for this! Court-martialled? I don't think so, Guy, somehow. Got one in the leg. Take care of this for me, will you? Bastard tried to bayonet me. Can you believe it? Ugh! (Laughs) You're in one hell of a bloody fix, Guy. Me? Yes. Now the Brigadier's been wounded, there'll be an official enquiry. Everything has to come out. Everything. It's just not the sort of thing you do at his age and seniority. But I don't understand... You were the only other officer involved. It won't do you any good at all. Black mark. Black, black mark. I hate to say this, but I was just obeying orders. I'm sorry, Guy. By all accounts I should be recommending you for a Military Cross but I have to send you back to England as soon as possible. England? What about the rest of the battalion? We're staying in West Africa for a while, Sierra Leone. I'm sorry, Guy. There is no alternative. (Foghorn sounds) Ah, Crouchback. The two condemned, men, eh? Where's our prisoners' escort? Good to see you, sir. Looking remarkably well, considering. What's this about you poisoning an officer? Sorry, sir? What's his name? The orderly said you smuggled him whisky. - Apthorpe. - That's the chap, yes. - Drank the lot, apparently, all in one go. - Did he? Is he all right? Certainly not. Fell into a coma, died last night. - He's dead? - As a doornail. Come on, you chaps! We have a flying boat waiting for us! Bloody navy! (Big Ben chimes) Ah, Guy! Lan! Lan Kilbannock, what the hell are you doing here? I'm a press officer. It's so good to see you, it's been ages. Come on, come on up. Crouchback? Crouchback, Crouchback... I can't find it, lan. Have you tried the Ritchie-Hook files? Seen Virginia lately? Kerstie was asking... No. Not since the Stratton. Months ago. Ah, you've been appointed to special duties. Do you know what they are? Er... no. I wonder where she is, then. Anyway, yes, have you heard of the Commandos? Yes, a bit. You shouldn't have done. They're a top-secret elite unit. I've got a movement order here for you. You're to report to X Commando, the Isle of Mugg, Scotland. Commandos? What about the Halberdiers? You've been transferred because of that bad business in Dakar. Your brigadier's been pulling some strings, that's why you're a Commando now. Report to Colonel... Blackhouse. Tommy Blackhouse? - Friend of yours? - Yes, he married my wife. Did he? Maybe he'll have seen Virginia. - Who's Virginia? - My wife. - I thought she married Blackhouse. - She did. Then she married someone else. Oh. How... coincidental. Anyway, Blackhouse has got some good chaps with him in the Commando. Thank you, sir. You'll like Mugg. Wonderful island. Some particularly good deerstalking. (Sea birds call) - (Clock chimes) - Hello? Hello? Anybody there? (Clears throat) Afternoon. And a good afternoon to you. Do you mind if we don't talk too much? I fell fifty feet down a cliff this morning. Oh, I'm sorry. I was looking for Colonel Blackhouse. Ah, Colonel Tommy! He'll be off climbing mountains somewhere. Ivor Claire. This is Freda. Guy Crouchback. I've seen you in Bellamy's. - I think you'd just won a medal. - Oh, yes, my bauble. Oh, how one longs for Bellamy's. Do you want a drink? There's some rather good Kmmel. Just help yourself and note it down in the book. I suppose I should go and look for Tommy. Thanks for the offer. I'll see you later. Excuse me, I'm looking for Colonel Blackhouse. (Scottish accent) Och, the Colonel's a wee bit faither doon the road. Aye, you'll need to gang a wee bit alang the cliffs. Trimmer? (English accent) Bloody hell! Crouchback, it's you. Good God, Trimmer! What on earth are you doing here? Actually, Crouchback, I'm known as McTavish here, if you don't mind. It's my mother's name, see? I command this gun position. (Laughs) But I sent all the chaps on a spot of leave to Glasgow. Thought I might as well join 'em. A Scottish regiment, that's, erm... that's splendid. And a captain as well. I'm impressed, Trimmer. Very. Good old Jocks, eh? I joined up, did a few months' officer training and here I am, on defence duties. The rest of the battalion's been posted to Iceland. (Laughs) Luckily, somebody had to stay behind. Ooh, I'll have to run if I'm going to catch that ferry. The Commando boys, about ten minutes further on. I told you the army was too bloody big, didn't I? Cheerio, Crouchback. Pretty good. Next. Colonel. Captain Crouchback reporting for duty, sir. Guy! Duty? Are you joining us? Yes. Couldn't believe my luck. Right. News to me. Still, good to have you on board. Haven't seen you since, er... The Stratton. Last year. Oh, yes. With... Virginia. Yes. Oui, monsieur? Bring me the menu and a dry martini, please. Thank you. Do you mind if I join you? - I'm just leaving. - (Tuts) You've forgotten me, haven't you, Mrs Troy? We used to meet often. On the Aquitania. (French accent) I think a rinse and a set. Madame's hair is un peu fatigu, n'est-ce pas? It is the sea air. Gustave? No! It can't be you! I always kept 11.30 free for Mrs Troy, no matter how big a tip the old trouts offered me. So you did. Gustave, how could I have forgotten? But you must admit, you have changed a bit. Is, er... Mr Troy about? He's in America. Ah. All alone, then. I came to see a friend off, he's in the navy. Had to go away suddenly. Oh. Do you, er... do you fancy a spot of dinner? It's very expensive. My bank manager's been very tiresome since Mr Troy and I parted company. (Chuckles) I understand. Well, my treat, then... Virginia. How strange that we should meet again in the middle of this war. I call it fate, Virginia. War brings people together. To hell with the war. Tell me more about the Aquitania. How I adored the Aquitania. Great days, weren't they? Do you remember how I used to give you that special massage? Gustave's healing hands. Oi! Garon! (Bombs whistle) (Explosion) Could you fix me another drink, Gustave? Trimmer, my sweetheart? Bit more soda, this time. Docks are taking a right pounding. Big fires. Voila, Mrs Troy. Yeah, er... why did you marry an old toad like Troy? I mean, you're far too good for him. Well, he was rich! (Giggles) And very generous. And I was used to being married. I was always married. I was very young the first time. He was a kind man, kind and honourable. He was too kind and honourable, really. Oh, then I met someone I fell for. Ohh! Head over heels! That didn't last. But he had money, you see, the second one, and I got a taste for it. Got used to the fast cars and the travelling and the parties. He was a soldier, like you. Like me? Well, no. Sort of like you. He was a soldier and he was going to be posted to India and I just couldn't face the thought of India after our lovely time in France and New York and the Riviera. That was when old Mr Troy came along and he had even more money. Pots and pots of money. You remember how I used to live, don't you, Trimmer, darling? Even you were part of it all, I suppose. On the Aquitania, part of the fun. (Giggles) All the fun in the world. Hmm. And here we are now. Yes. - Here we are now. - (Bombs whistle) (Explosions) - (Giggles) - (Fire engine alarms ring) They've got to be good seats. Stalls, or, er... royal, er... circle. - What's playing at the King's, anyway? - McTavish! What are you doing here? (Scottish accent) Er... I'm on... leave, sir. Aye. Lucky I found you. The battalion's back from Iceland, embarking at Greenock this evening. We couldn't get an answer from you at Mugg. Report to headquarters this afternoon. No, er... I'm not with the regiment any more, sir. No, I'm on... er, special service. That's right, I've been seconded to the, er... (Whispers) Commandos. First I've heard of it. - I can do you two seats in the upper circle. - Don't bother. No, they're all on Mugg, (Whispers) the Commandos. It was, erm... it was Colonel Blackhouse himself who requested my secondment. Oh. I suppose it must be all right, then. - Enjoy your leave? - Erm... aye, aye, it wasnae too bad. Aye. Well, it's good to see you again, sir. Oh. It's no accident that we're on Mugg, gentlemen. These cliffs on the southern coast of Crete almost exactly replicate the ones we've been shinning up and down. Guy will give you all your objectives. Start time is midnight. I know this is only an exercise but you may tell your men this isn't just something we've thought up to ruin their evening but that action is imminent. This is serious, gentlemen. Let's play it that way. Good luck. Carry on, Guy. Interesting bunch of fellas, might get some good copy. We're looking for heroes to boost civilian morale. Heroes in very strong demand at the Ministry of Information. There's plenty of men of action here. Isn't that what your newspapers are after? I don't know. I think we need something fresh, we need a new angle. How far to go, Sergeant? I'd say about eight miles, sir. Right. Then I think Plan B is called for. What shall we do now, then, sir? We wait. But not for long. What the hell's this? Oh, no. Oh, no. Bloody hell. Evening, everyone. It's frightfully boring but I'm afraid you're all going to have to get off. This bus is being commandeered. Guy, come and have a look at this. Just over there, sir, look. It can't be. That's lvor. D Troop. Exercise HQ. Message received. Out. But I gave D Troop the furthest objective, make lvor do some work. Sir, D Troop have reported that they're already in position. What's he playing at? Go and check, Guy, will you? Mind if I come too? Good God! It's a bus! (Chuckles) What is this? I think this is what's called initiative. - Halt! Who goes there? - All right, Sergeant. - Good evening, sir. - Is that you, Guy? What are you doing here? Colonel Tommy sent me. How the bloody hell did you get here so quickly? What you might call "captured transport". - Do you fancy a drop of rum? - Ooh, yes, please. Can we get the chaps home? It's damn cold. Position occupied, defence consolidated, you know. - We've done everything we were asked to. - I suppose so. Tommy's not going to be too pleased. Oh. Well, I was expecting congratulations. I don't know what anybody else is going to say but... congratulations from me, if that means anything. In fact it does, Guy. Thanks very much. Right, you lot! Fall in! Theoretically, the road you took leads through an enemy infantry battalion. Theoretically, yes, sir. There was nothing about that in the orders. All right, lvor. You win. Thank you, Colonel. I'll make sure the troop is ready. He's a sly one. Well, I suppose he has got a point. Commandos were raised for irregular action. I mean, he has won the Military Cross. I wish I had your faith in him, Guy. I think he just didn't fancy walking. Anyway, what's the problem? You remember Captain McTavish? The Highlander commanding the gun emplacement? Yes, he's come back, wants to join us. Well, we're short of an officer, aren't we? Since Angus's fall. True. But I know McTavish, he's no good. - But he's keen. - Very keen, that's what worries me. I can use anyone who's keen, even McTavish. Up to you, sir. We'll take him. See to the paperwork and find him something useful to do. (Shouts) Quick march! Left, right, left, right! There you are, lan, there's your hero for you. No-one better. No, no, no, it won't do at all. He's a delightful fellow but, er, completely the wrong period. Great War stuff, went out with Rupert Brooke. Rupert Brooke? You think he's poetic? Nope, nope. Hopelessly upper class. You may be "the fine flower of the nation" and all that but it won't do. This is a people's war. Yeah, the people won't have poetry and they won't have flowers. Flowers stink. The upper classes stink. We need a hero of the people, to or for the people, by, with and from the people, a people's hero. Completely normal man. Completely run-of-the-mill bloke, somebody you'd never, ever dream of that would be a hero. Believe it or not, I think I have exactly the person you might be looking for. So, erm... where is this observation tower? It's probably... here. Or here. Well, not far from the beach, anyway. You should see it on the skyline as you land. Yes. Well, there you have it, McTavish. Get the train to Portsmouth tonight, you'll meet your section there. The navy will lay on the submarine, they shouldn't keep you hanging around. Pop ashore, blow up this tower and then, er... home again. - What are we calling this operation? - Ah, Operation Popgun, sir. Mm, I like it. So, McTavish, you are in charge of Operation Popforce. - All right? - Erm... Yes. Yeah, yeah, I think so, sir. Thank you. Well, in case I don't see you again, good luck. Kilbannock wants a word with you. Why don't you pop round to my house and I'll take you to the station later? Oh, er... Well, he, er, took that quietly enough. Remember, he is a Commando. And I gather there's not much prospect of opposition. But McTavish doesn't know that. No, I'm impressed. (Air-raid siren) If I come along, too, I can write it up better, eyewitness stuff. You'd be amazed. That's fine with me. Suit yourself, mate. Now, the press, they'll probably want to know something about your background. Think you can think up something colourful? I don't know, I might. Actually, I... I think my wife is probably in. ( Palm Court orchestra) My darling, I have someone I would like you to meet. This is Captain McTavish of X Commando, off to death or glory. - This is my wife Kerstie. - Captain McTavish, how do you do? Hello. - What'll you have to drink? I've got some gin. - Oh, lovely. And this is my friend who's staying here, Mrs Troy. Mrs Troy. We meet again. Hello, Trimmer. You do get around, don't you? Well, I had to join the Commando... - Sorry, Trimmer? - Yeah, it's, er... it's a nickname. "Trimmer" McTavish. - We met in Glasgow. - Really? Small world. - Captain McTavish is off to death or glory. - Is he? Well, Portsmouth, actually. In fact, I won't have that drink. Erm... I'd better get off, get my kit together. - I'll meet you at the station. - I'll see you out. Goodbye, Mrs Troy. It was, er... it was very good to meet you again. Goodbye, Trimmer. Right, so, er... I'll meet you at the station, eight o'clock, and, er... Was there ever anything rum between you and Trimmer? Rum? Whatever makes you think that? Don't be absurd. Is that gin? May I? (Giggles) I think we're there, sir. Can't see a thing. (Whispers) All right, lads, stop. Stop. - Is it all right to smoke, sir? - Eh? Yeah, yeah, I don't see why not. Could do with a fag myself. Right... we'll stick to the plan. Er... you lot wait here and we'll... find this tower. - Come on. - Very good. I thought they said we'd see the bloody thing on the skyline. Seems much flatter than it's meant to. "Very flat, Norfolk." Norfolk? What are you talking about? Sorry, I was just quoting. It's my favourite play. - Are you drunk? - No, no. No, not yet. Jesus Christ. Come on. Hey, look. - Sh! - OK. See that? Yeah? That's your tower, there. That don't look like a tower to me. Looks like a cottage. "Moonlight can be cruelly deceptive, Amanda." Look... let's go and investigate. (Gunshot) What did you do that for? You think I did it on purpose, you idiot? Va te faire enculer! Va te faire enculer, sale Boche! Argh! Oh, bloody hell! (Out of breath) It's... it's a railway line. Ahh! Exactly! There aren't any f***ing railway lines on this island! Good point. Actually, that woman, she was... she was definitely speaking French, and, er... Sorry, isn't this island supposed to be uninhabited? Yeah. So where in the name of Christ are we? Well... Yeah, I think we must be in, er... in France. Bastard navy! Useless bastard navy! Right, come on, we're off. Where's Sergeant Tozer? When he heard the shots, he took the explosives and went inland. What's he playing at? We're meant to rendezvous with the sub in ten minutes. We'd better wait for him. That woman would've raised the alarm, the Gestapo will be here in a minute. - It's his own bloody fault if he's left behind. - (Explosions) (Explosions continue) What the hell was that? I came across some railway lines. Thought I'd lay a few charges, set the timer and clear off back here. Splendid idea. Heroic idea, in fact. I just thought we'd better let the Jerries know we'd paid them a visit. Right, let's get out of here! Excellent idea, Sergeant. In a day or two, you and Captain McTavish will wake up and find yourself heroes. "Captain 'Trimmer' McTavish trained and led a small raiding force which landed on the coast of occupied France." "While carrying out his personal reconnaissance, he came under small-arms fire." "Fire was returned and the enemy post silenced." Well, I never! "Captain McTavish pushed inland and identified the railway line." "A section of the line was demolished, thereby gravely impeding the enemy's war effort." "Throughout the latter phases of the operation, he showed exemplary coolness." How wonderful! To think he was once a hairdresser. Yes. Odd trade for a Highlander. But there you go. This is why we'll win the war, ladies, when we need them, the right men come to the fore. That was Guy's unit, X Commando. They must have trained together, surely? Yes, funny that. Guy never mentioned him. "Throughout the latter phases of the operation..." "...exemplary coolness..." Good God! Is everything all right, sir? Someone I know's just done something untypically heroic. It makes no sense. How gratifying for him. And for you, sir. We must all pull together in this crisis. - When can we expect Major Hound? - (Car horn toots) Lmminently. "Man is what he hates, so the philosophers tell us. But somehow I do not believe Crouchback could ever be Hound." (Horn toots) What sort of gesture was that? - Were you waving hello to me, man? - No, sir. Was there a fly bothering you? Did you want to scratch your head? I was saluting you, sir. You're a disgrace to the British Army. Even Australians salute better than that. You're on a charge. Ah, Crouchback! Anything from GHQ? No, sir. A quiet night all round. So I see. Glad you have time for your newspaper. If you can spare me a moment from the gossip column... I want you to go through all the obliques from the cancellation of Operation Badger ...and cross-reference... - 'Fraid not, sir. That wasn't a request, Crouchback. Colonel Blackhouse has asked me... er, ordered me, to go into Alexandria to see Captain Claire. In fact, er... I should be gone now. I'll be back some time this afternoon. What are you staring at, Ludovic? I was wondering if you might like a refreshing cup of tea, sir. (Drillmaster barks orders outside) (Knocks) (Clears throat) Oh, how do you do? Hi, there. How are you? How's the leg? Guy! How delightful! My two favourite people. Julia Stitch meet Guy Crouchback, fellow Commando. I feel sure we've met many times before. How do you do? Are you free for lunch? You must come. He will. I accept for you, Guy. Tommy's getting a bit restive, wants you back in Sidi Bishir as soon as possible. Even on crutches. Oh. Always in such a hurry, Tommy. So am I. Bye, darling, must run along. - That's not much of a visit. - Come to lunch yourself. Come on, Guy. What's the news, Guy? Greece has fallen, Crete's been invaded. Oh, we've got this vile new brigade major called Hound. Don't worry, darling, I'll be back. Come along, Guy, we'll be late for the Maharajah. Julia, darling. Guy Crouchback, my husband, Algernon. - How are you? - Come on. Hello, Admiral, dear. How do you do? Ah, bonjour, chries! C'est tres, tres mignon, comme toujours. Madame Stitch, vos chaussures! Five piastres from a lovely man in the bazaar. Maharajah! Are you ignoring me, Maharahah? Naughty Maharajah! Hello. Hello. Guy, follow me, darling. You must know the Commander-in-Chief, I suspect. Sir. Er, Guy Crouchback, sir. - Ah, Halberdier, eh? - Not now, sir, I'm with X Commando. Ah, Operation Popgun. You fellows did a wonderful job there. We were very impressed. So, you'll be pretty busy soon, I can tell you. Excuse me. Algernon! You'll be going to Crete any day now. Lunch, everybody! Thank you. Left, right, left, right... Major Hound is bald and his face and scalp shine. Captain Crouchback despises Major Hound. Colonel Blackhouse finds him useful. L"m barely aware of Major Hound"s existence. I set down these observations in order to fix him in my mind. Jesus Christ! Ludovic, it's the Commander-in-Chief. Here! No, no. I wouldn't bet on it either. Sir. It's you, Crouchback. I thought that was the C-in-C's car. It was. That driver should know he can't fly the C-in-C's flag without the C-in-C being inside. - He was inside. - You're not trying to pull my leg, are you? I wouldn't dare. I met him at lunch today, he offered me a lift. Very decent of him. Ludovic, get hold of every map of Crete that you can lay your hands on. We have some in battalion stores, sir. Wait a minute, wait a minute, hold on! Crete? That's nonsense. Crete is swarming with Germans, we're in no position to reinforce Crete. Stay where you are, Ludovic. Who told you we're going to Crete? The Commander-in-Chief. They're moving out all units, immediate move. We're going to need some maps of Crete. Issue them to all section leaders. All under control, sir. Ludovic, get down to battalion store. - Right away, sir. - Well done. At bloody last, chaps. At bloody last. Ah, Crouchback. Did you mention that matter to Ludovic? No. Not yet. Now would be a good time. He's in the signals room. Funny little chap, isn't he? Yes. See you later, Michael. Ah, Ludovic. Major Hound seems to think you're keeping some sort of diary. Well, I can hardly call it that. I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask to see it. Security risk. "Captain Crouchback has gravity." "He is the ball of lead which, in a vacuum, falls no faster than a feather." Is that it? I left the rest at camp. I can hardly see why that's much of a security risk, but, erm... how am I meant to take it? It was not intended for your eyes, sir. Right. Even so... - (Crash) - Argh! - Good God, Tommy! - Get the orderly, quick! Gentlemen, X Commando will now be under the command of the Brigade Major. Major Hound and Captain Crouchback will move forward immediately to establish the Brigade HQ. The main thing is to keep the Commandos together. We don't want to be lumped in with other infantry. Understood? This is a great chance for us, attacking lines of communication. The Germans are faltering, overextended. I want you to make sure that X Commando gets stuck in. - Yes, sir. - No hanging back. Sorry I won't be with you. - Bad luck, sir. - Bad show, sir. A lorry, Crouchback. We shall need a lorry. Make sure you get that from Movement Control the minute we land. Guy, one second. Hound's an efficient man up to a point. But I need you there with him. Provide some backbone. I understand. Don't worry, sir, I'll make sure, plenty of backbone. Good luck. Thank you, Tommy. The main road inland should be just over this hill. (Plane whines) - (Gunfire) - Look out! (Artillery fire) My God! What's happening? They're all retreating. - I thought... - We ought to move on, sir. (Starts ignition) (Distant shellfire) (Crickets chirp) (Male voice crackles on radio) (Radio static crackles) Sergeant, have you got through to Captain Claire's unit yet? (Sighs) Still trying, sir. Well, let me know when you do. - Sir... - Thank you. That's the last of the tea, sir. Hm... Anything to eat? No, sir. It seems the rations are with the main unit. Food and water, alas. Jesus Christ. I'm starving. This is a total shambles. We'll get a better picture when we see the GOC. I say, do you mind if I call you Guy? Not particularly. My friends call me Fido. Philo? No, Fido. Hound, you see. Fido, hound. I see. (Stuka engines scream) Take cover! (Cries out) - Everyone all right? - Think so, sir. That's it for me, mate. I'm not movin' till nightfall. You can't stay here, you men. This is a brigade headquarters area. Oh, you must be f***in' jokin', mate. What did you say, man? You can't make us move in daylight, sir. It's murder. I am just asking you to take cover elsewhere. I'm sorry. This is Brigade HQ. Come on, lads. You! Erm... Sergeant. You don't have any of that to spare, do you? Not to spare, sir. But I'll sell it to you if you've got some smokes. I can spare two. Make it four and I'll throw in a biscuit. It's a deal. - Colonel Tickeridge! Sir! - Guy! Well, I never! Good to see you! Frank, how are you? Where are the Halberdiers? Just over that hill. What about the Commandos? One reason why we're here. We all got split up when we landed. - We were sent on ahead... - Bloody nonsense. No-one knows anything. Shall we go in? Good to see you, Frank. The enemy are advancing strongly from the north. German paratroopers have attacked our intervening brigades. They have been severely mauled, and it must be admitted that... proper administration has broken down. So I regret to inform you, gentlemen, that, consequently, the decision has been taken to abandon the island. The navy have promised to lay on as many ships as possible. With luck, we should get most of the men off. - Aircraft! Take cover! - (Engines roar and bomb whistles) (Returning machine-gun fire) Most inconsiderate. As I was saying, the rearguard will be formed by the Commandos and the Halberdiers. The lines to be held are here and here. Is it a last-man, last-round defence, sir? No, it's a planned withdrawal. Pull back when you feel hard-pressed. Tonight, I'll be moving my headquarters to lmbros. Good luck to you all. (Soldiers mutter) This is not what I regard as proper soldiering. As far as I can tell, X Commando are now here, and here... or... well, somewhere here. No, you're wrong. Ivor said they're outside this village here. Look here, do you think I'm incapable of understanding plain English? Fido, there is absolutely no point in them positioning themselves there! As far as I am concerned, that is where they are positioned! Don't quarrel with me, Crouchback! We have to know where our units are, Guy. It's our job, pure and simple. (Clears throat) Found some more petrol, sir. - Any rations? - Alas, no, sir. Might I suggest I go with Captain Crouchback in the lorry? Might find more rations a bit further afield. Bloody good idea. And I can establish exactly where our units are. No point in wild guesswork, is there? Come along, Ludovic. - Should I turn left or right up here, sir? - Turn right. No, left. Left. Sorry. What do you think that was? I think that was a German soldier. - I suppose I ought to have shot at him. - He didn't give us much time, sir. Definitely should have turned right at that last junction. About turn. (Distant machine-gun fire) That sounds like action. Indubitably, sir. You wait there. (Explosion) (Gunfire continues) (Gunfire) Guy! I just wanted to verify your position. Anything we can do? Oh, yes. Hot dinners for the men, artillery support... A few squadrons of fighter... Shanks, it's under those bushes there! Just skirmishers. Trying to annoy us. I reckon the main force will come along tonight. - Any chance of a platoon I could take over? - Really, Guy. You can't put in for a cross-posting in the middle of an organised retreat. - But what if you have casualties? - Absolutely not. No can do. Sorry, Guy. Well, I'd better go and find lvor's lot. If you see anyone from the navy, tell them to leave a ship for us. (Gunfire continues) Ludovic! Oh, Jesus Christ. (Shouts) Ludovic! Ludovic! (Artillery rumbles) (Crunching) (Car approaches) (Hinge creaks) (Pigeons coo) (Flies buzz) May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, in the mercy of God, rest in peace. I'll take a look, sir. What's the hold-up? There's been a landslide, sir. They're trying to clear it now. Jesus Christ almighty. What's happened? Engineers blew the road too bloody early. We've got to get this clear. You won't do it! There are 5,000 men waiting to come through here. - I need volunteers for a working party. - Look, erm... I'll report it. All right? I'm going to headquarters now. I'll tell you what, I'm going to cut across country, take a short cut. - You'd be better to stay and help! - Must push on! (Coughs and gasps) (Rustling) I... am British. I am ally. I fight the Germans. Me hungry. Me want food. Give me that. Give me that, or I'll shoot! - Sergeant. - Sir. We thought you were lost. - Has Ludovic come back with the lorry? - No, sir. Oh, Christ. (Sighs) Where's Major Hound? Erm... Major Hound has left, sir. Left? One minute he was here, the next minute he was gone. Right. Erm... Listen, this valley is going to be overrun with Germans by the morning. So we're going to have to move back to our final position. Gather your gear together, collect as much water as you can carry. It's going to be a long night. All yours, Sergeant. Right, boys, you heard the Captain! Get your gear together, carry as much water as you can, and move it! Don't shoot! I surrender! I'm unarmed! Please! Major Hound, you're not yourself, sir. Try some of this. There. Now, come with me, Major. Not far to go. (Grunting and snuffling) That's it. - How do you come to be here, Ludovic? - Much the same way as yourself, sir. I expected you to report back to headquarters. No, you see, I've got a problem, Major, that only you can solve. We can't get through to the embarkation beaches without an officer and that's where you can help me out. Sir. It's out of the question. What you're suggesting is most irregular. Major Hound, don't you think we might drop all that? After what's happened? If I were you, I would do what I was told and keep my bloody trap shut. Don't you dare speak to me like that! Under any other circumstances, I'd have you arrested for insubordination! Yes, you probably would, wouldn't you? (Cicadas buzz) For God's sake, Ludovic, where are we? I was looking forward to a proper breakfast. Plenty of time for breakfast. Don't be so bloody greedy. I've already warned you, Ludovic. Show more respect. Remember, I am the senior officer. Oh, I'm hardly likely to forget that, am I? (Cicadas resume buzzing) Afternoon, lvor. Left! Left! Left, right, left! Left! Left! Left, right, left! Good old Halberdiers, eh? You'd think they were on a parade ground. You know, I get the impression the Germans aren't that anxious to attack. No. They want us to get into the ships, so they can sink us at their leisure from the air. I'm looking for the Intelligence Officer, sir. That's me. Thank you. Well, we don't have to worry about ships. The rearguard is to surrender tomorrow. That's a bit of a bugger. When exactly is this surrender meant to happen? When we choose. Any time after the last ship has gone. Then we don't qualify as rearguard any more. How bloody tiresome. What does one do all day in prison? Guy? I've managed to unearth the last of my whisky. Good. This is a damn fool business, Guy. Are you sure the orders aren't muddled? Got them direct from the General. We're to surrender tomorrow. Last ship leaves tonight. Navy aren't laying on any more. Too dangerous. Well, it's all right for the General - he leaves for Egypt on his flying boat tonight. (Sighs) Guy, what would you do if you were challenged to fight in a duel? I'd laugh. - Of course you would. - Why do you ask? to fight in a duel, you'd fight. Today, we'd just laugh. What's your point? It doesn't make any sense leaving the fighting troops behind and taking off a defeated rabble. Isn't it more honourable for an officer to try to leave? To train new men to take the place of prisoners? Not if he was ordered to stay. In that case, that officer would be a deserter. But that officer might still be respected for being more intelligent. More fly. Ideas of honour change. You admit it yourself. You wouldn't respect me if I agreed to fight in a duel. You'd think I was a fool. All this talk of honour's a bit academic. We've been given our orders. They're not asking us to be fly. They're not leaving it up to our so-called intelligence. It's all very clear cut. Yes. I suppose you're right. Ah, well. The path of honour lies up the hill. Good night, Guy. Good night, lvor. Where are all the officers? Bloody deserted us, didn't they? (Australian) Get it out of the way! This stuff's bloody lying there! - Calm down! - Wait for the Jerries! (Soldiers shout and swear) (Shouting and snarling) (Explosion) What do you think, sir? Should we stay here? Well, we might as well. Here's as good as anywhere. Doesn't seem to make much difference. The Jerries'll be here soon enough. Well, in the meantime... I'm going to go for a swim. (Chuckles) I'm right behind you, sir. Come on, boys! Bath time! (Soldiers whoop and laugh) Cigarette, sir? - Where the bloody hell have you been? - At my post, sir. - I thought you'd deserted us. - Did you, sir? Perhaps we both made a... miscalculation. - I was with Major Hound until recently. - Yes, well, where is Major Hound? He disappeared, sir. Oh. So. Well, what are you doing here? I was thinking about drowning myself until you popped up. Sir. Well, we're all prisoners of war now. It's not the end of the world. Why don't you come with me? Join the rest of headquarters. - What's left of them. - Not a bad idea, sir. I'll follow you round. Oi, catch this! (Soldiers whoop and shout) They're barmy. They haven't got a hope in hell, sir. Anyone coming with us? What are your chances? Might get picked up by a ship. Might make it all the way to Egypt. You coming? Let me have a word with my men. We've got some kind of chance. What about it? I'll stick to dry land if you don't mind, sir. Tunnelling out's more my thing. - (Outboard engine starts) - What about you, Ludovic? I'm gonna risk it. We're not waiting! Anyone who wants to come, come now! - Good luck, sir. Rather you than me. - Good luck, Sergeant. Bye-bye. Cheerio! Hang on! (Engine sputters) - Good luck, lads! - Cheerio! (Soldiers shout) So long! Have a beer for me! (Roar of aeroplanes) Bombers! - Take cover! - (Bombs whistle) Night and day You are the one Only you beneath the moon And under the sun... - (Continues to sing) - Hello, Virginia? Virginia, is that you? Yes. (Chuckles) No. No... Yes, I've got Colonel Trimmer with me. Yeah. Yes, he's a colonel now. Yeah. I know, it's astonishing, but there you go. Yeah. Anyway, er... yeah. He wants to say something to you. Yes. - Yes, he's here for you now. Yeah. - Why is it so That this longing for you follows wherever I go? In the roaring traffic's boom In the silence of my lo... (Chuckles) Really, Virginia. She wants to talk to you. (Whispers) Tell her I love her. - (Hums Night and Day) - Virginia, hello. Yes. Yes, of course. Yeah. Yes. She says, er... she says you're to go to hell. Night and day Under the hide of me There's an, ooh, such a hunger burning, yearning, inside of me... (Mumbles) Yeah. What's the matter? - Give me your pistol. - What are you talking about? I'm in charge of this ship. I'm the only man entitled to bear arms. Nonsense. I know his plan, see? Now the other two are dead, if I have the pistol, I can stop him. (Clanking) (Mumbles) Why did you throw him off, Ludovic? I can't stand Trimmer. Certainly not in this lovesick spaniel mode. There are dozens of girls flinging themselves at him, why does he have to pick on me? That's because the poor fool thinks that he's madly in love with you. Yes, it's disgusting. Anyway, that's his problem. No, it's not, actually. It's my problem. Well, sorry, rather, it's our problem. Because, you see, Colonel Trimmer is the only genuine success that my department's had in the entire war. So if we can't actually keep Colonel Trimmer happy, then, er... everything... everything goes by the board, including me and... including you, Virginia. Meaning what, lan? Erm... Meaning... er... your life here, er... in my house... er... your room here in my house, er... it's all... it's all rather dependent on keeping Colonel Trimmer... erm... happy. So where exactly is he? (Clanking) (Birds and insects chirp) (Camels grunt) (Children shout) You don't seem quite yourself this evening, Julia, darling. Not bad news, I hope. Not bad. A little concerning, perhaps. I've had a rather intriguing phone call. Ah. Do tell. Guy Crouchback has returned from Crete. He's in a hospital in Cairo. Splendid. Good old Guy. And would you believe it, Tommy Blackhouse is here too. Just down the hall. - Colonel Tommy's here? - Complications with his leg. They reset it. Anyway, as I was saying to lvor, imagine, two of my favourite men in the same hospital! - Ivor? - Ivor Claire. He was staying with me. Ivor got out? (Whispers) lvor got out? That's wonderful. How did he do it? On a destroyer, I think. M-My God, I mean... What about the rest of X Commando? Well, no, er... none of the other Commandos got out. Tommy said they surrendered. They were taken prisoner. I... I don't understand. How did lvor get out, then? - I imagine everything was complete chaos... - Well, it was, but... Nothing making much sense. No orders or anything. But there were orders. Perfectly clear ones. I don't suppose you can remember what those orders were exactly. Word for word. Well, yes, I've got them written in my notebook... Ah. Well, you see, lvor was told that X Commando was in another destroyer. That's why he felt he could leave himself. That's his story. That's our story, Guy. - Where is he? - He sailed for India yesterday. What are you going to do with that notebook of yours? I don't know. I suppose somebody might want to look at it one of these days. As soon as you're better, I'm going to get you moved up to the villa. Goodbye for now, Guy, darling. Get well. Ludovic turned out well. It was Ludovic who carried you ashore, you know. Sailed the boat himself. All the way. Thanks. Did he? I was quite delirious most of the time. He must be as strong as a horse. He was only in hospital for a couple of days. I've put him up for a commission. I sent him back to England. Training to be an officer somewhere. Julia Stitch was here this morning. Told me about lvor. - Did he tell you how he escaped? - One version of it. You didn't believe him? What do you take me for? Nobody believes him. But lvor Claire, of all people. He won the Military Cross at Dunkirk, for God's sake! He shot three Territorials who threatened to swamp a boat he was on. That's how he won his Military Cross. Crouchback was the chap who survived that ordeal in the open boat, wasn't he? - Why would you want to...? - He won't admit how unwell he is. He claims he's longing to get back to his regiment. But personally, I think he needs a long rest. A long sea voyage home. He mustn't know, of course. Ah. A-ha. Back to England by way of, let's say... Cape Town, Trinidad, New York, via Nova Scotia, that sort of thing? Then a nice cushy desk job at HOO HQ? Give him a chance to heal. That's what he needs. Consider it done, Julia, dear. What a friend you are. I still don't understand. Did you try everything? Well, you know me, darling. But they wouldn't budge. Said the order came from very high up. Why do I have to go to Cape Town? Why now? My regiment's here. It's too tiresome, I know, but that's the military for you, darling. They move in the most mysterious ways. But I shall miss you. Dear Guy. Oh, I completely forgot. Erm... do you think you could ask Algie to get someone to send that to headquarters? - Headquarters? Yes, of course. What is it? - Just some unfinished business from Crete. Algie's secretary will know who to send it to. Consider it done. Thank you, Julia. - Bon voyage. - Cheerio. I'm sorry to have to say this, Guy, but, er... I'm worried about you. You're worried about me? I haven't seen you smile since Italy surrendered. I think I've been training soldiers for too long. Thousands of faceless recruits... I feel like I work in a bloody factory. Training soldiers is important work, Guy. But if that's what you feel about it, then you've no business being a soldier. I want to be in the war. I want to do some fighting. I just don't understand why I'm not being allowed to. I don't want to quarrel with you, Guy, but that sort of question isn't for soldiers. However unfair it seems, you mustn't sulk, Guy. Ever. The important thing to remember as you go through life is that God accepts suffering and injustice. For God, quantitative judgments don't apply. If only one single soul has been saved, then it's full compensation for any amount of suffering and injustice. Isn't it a bit hard to live like that? I mean, maybe not if you're a saint. But as a human being, that's... it's almost impossible. We must not repine, Guy. That is the key thing. We must not surrender to despair. I saw the doctor yesterday. Yes? Anything wrong? Mm, yes, quite serious, apparently. I gather... I gather I may be dead fairly soon. - Oh, Father, please, don't talk like that. - Oh, nonsense. I've been thinking a great deal about death at the moment. Quite suitable for a man of my age. Anyway, after I'm dead, you must come back and live here. The community needs a more active man running the estate. And it's important to belong somewhere, Guy. (Bell chimes three o'clock) - Just in, sir. - Thank you. (Scrunches up memo) Sorry, sir! Virginia! Virginia! There you go. Oh, it's amazing! Six months in the US of A! Six months! (Laughs) They want me to leave on Monday. The Yanks are crying out for an authentic British hero, apparently. It's going to be just like the old days! Drive on, mate. - I hope you have a lovely time. - No, no, no. You and me both, darling. You don't think I'd have agreed to go on me own, do you? Claridge's, mate. We are celebrating. I don't feel like celebrating anything ever again. Ta very much(!) Here. You all right? You don't look yourself. No, I'm not all right. I don't feel well. If you hadn't been so bloody besotted with your own ineffable heroism, you might have noticed I haven't been well for two weeks now. Drop me here, driver, will you? Jesus Christ. Take me to Leicester Square, mate, then you can knock off. Thank you, sir. (Laughs) Where would we be without them, eh? The lovely ladies. It's a complete bloody mystery to me, I tell you. Excellent news, Mrs Troy. - I'm happy to say the test is positive. - What do you mean, positive? I mean, Mrs Troy, that there is a happy event in prospect. You're going to have a baby. - A baby is completely out of the question. - I'm sorry? It's quite impossible for me to have a baby. Impossible in what sense? I presume marital intercourse took place at the appropriate time. - What do you mean? - Let me put it this way: I'm sure Mr Troy will be absolutely delighted. (Whispers) It's all right. It's all right. (Whispers) I must say, I'm impressed. All these people come to see Gervase. When I die, there won't be a soul there. - I'll be there, Uncle Peregrine. - So will I. You're family. You don't count family. No, I think Gervase would be delighted to see how many people turned up. Excellent showing. (Angela) I saw him last week. He was fading, but he seemed perfectly happy, in no pain or anything. I said "Father, is there anything you want me to do?" He said "Just don't make a fuss, dear." "I've been looking forward to this for years." He was a good man. I don't think he'll be in purgatory for long. I actually think he was the best man. Only entirely good man I've ever known. - Is this musquash? - Mink. I'll give you five pounds for that. Have you got a ball gown? Gorgeous. - I'll give you two pounds ten shillings. - A fiver! Three. What about that navy blue dress? Mm, not for sale, darling. What's the grand total? - L24. - That should just about do it. You want cash, I suppose. I can stay on here, though, can't I? For a bit, darling. I can't keep lan pacified forever. That doctor you mentioned. Where exactly does he live? (Hammering) Excuse me. I'm looking for number 14. (Boys whoop) Hey, let's have a look. - Is it dead? - Course it's dead! (Crash) I want this as we practised it! Up, man! Up! Right, let's go! That's it! Keep your arms up! Bend your knees! Ready for landing! And roll! Roll, roll! Get clear! Next man! Next to the front! That's it! Now go! Keep your elbows in! Knees up! Look for impact! (Men's voices) - (Rapping on door) - Yes! Oh, good God. Fremantle, for God's sake, what do you mean by knocking on my door like that? - You sent for me, sir. - Yes. Did I? Er... Does my name happen to appear anywhere on any of the daily or standing orders? - Your name, sir? - Yes. My name. Ludovic. Does my name, Ludovic, appear on any of the daily or standing orders? No, I think it usually just says "Commanding Officer". Good. Or "by order of the Commandant". That sort of thing. My name must appear nowhere on any of the written material issued from this unit. - Is that clear? - Yes, sir. May I ask why? Oh, it's just a question of security. This station is on the secret list and there've been some leaks. My identity must remain absolutely one hundred per cent secret. Of course, sir. What's going on? (Grunts and strains) This is supposed to be a smooth descent! What the hell are you doing? Get those bloody weights sorted, for God's sake! - How do you feel? - Terrified. Liar. You can hardly wait. Right, Mr Crouchback! Go! (Squelchy thud) - (Coaxing kisses) - (Yaps) - (Rap on door) - Who is it? It's me, sir. Fremantle. - Are you alone? - Totally alone, sir. Come in. Quickly. Shut the door, man, shut it. Report on this afternoon's trial, sir. - There's been one casualty. - Oh, who? Crouchback. Crouchback... Crouchback! Do we have a Crouchback? One of the Halberdiers, sir. I thought he was a little on the elderly side. (Chuckles) Is he dead? - No, broken leg. - Oh. We took him to the RAF hospital, but he's going to convalesce with an uncle. - In London. - Oh, London, excellent. - I don't think he'll be back. - Mm. I don't think a slight accident should jeopardise his chance of a foreign posting, do you? Isn't he a pretty little dog, Fremantle? - As pretty a little dog as I've seen in ages, sir. - (Chuckles) What should I call him, eh? Something... Chinese? I know! I've got it. I know what I'll call him. You may think it a rather conventional name, but it has poignant associations for me. His name will be Fido. I'm delighted to read that Paris is virtually untouched. - Did you hear that, Guy? - Yes. I'd never have forgiven Hitler if he'd harmed Paris. - Don't you agree? - Mm-hm. - Cup of tea? - No, thanks. - Orange squash, barley water? - No, thanks. Something stronger? Sherry, pink gin? No, thank you, Uncle Peregrine. (Doorbell) Hello. You don't remember me, do you, Uncle Peregrine? I'm Virginia. I've come to see Guy. Guy? Are you up for a visitor? (Chuckles) So, you're, erm... you're living with the Kilbannocks and you're working for lan? That's very cosy. It's so dreary. (Laughs) I've had the dreariest war. I should've stayed in America. (Sighs) Guy, I... I've got something to tell you. I've been seeing this man... this officer... a rather revolting man called Trimmer. I know. - About Trimmer? - Yes. And I know Trimmer. Then you'll know how disgusting it all is. The things that happen to one. Anyway, it's all over now. He's gone to America. Good. But I'm glad you know about it. Anyway, look at you! Parachuting! Commandos! - And lan says you're rich now. - Yes. Well, I suppose I am. - Very rich? - Rich enough. So what are you doing here? Why aren't you in the Dorchester? I'm waiting for my lawyers to tell me I'm rich, officially. Well, I'm dead broke. That's not like you. (Laughs) Ah, well, such is life. (Clears throat) Shall I come back tomorrow? I'll bring some cards and some gin. We can play piquet and get sloshed. Yes. Yes, I'd like that. See you tomorrow. Bye, darling. Ah. See you later, darling, I'll be very late. - You look wonderful. - Thanks, darling. (Low, rumbling drone) Oh, God. (Silence) (Explosion) Ghastly. Where are you off to, then? Deadly dull. Friend of a friend. Bye! Peregrine's gone all stiff and formal. Very Crouchback. - Where is he, anyway? - He's in the country with some friends. Hmm! So we're all on our own. - Yes. - (Giggles) He said you had designs. - On who? - On me. He warned me. He said "You know what women are." Mmm. The trouble with you Crouchbacks is that you don't do enough f***ing. (Laughs) Well, I don't know about other Crouchbacks, but I, erm... I tend to associate f***ing with love. And don't you love any more? I don't know. Ow! Jesus! My leg. (Both laugh) Your injury's getting in the way of my designs! Yes? And what are your designs? You know me well enough - what do you think? I think... that you're unhappy. There's no-one around who you're especially interested in at the moment, and for the first time in your life, you're actually frightened of the future. You see, the funny thing is, I need you, Guy. Now more than ever. There's something I'm going to tell you. And please believe me, I was going to tell you even if your broken leg hadn't got in the way and the evening had turned out differently. You remember me well enough to know I was never one for dirty tricks. True. So what's your problem? My problem is I'm pregnant. And the father of the child is Trimmer. (Virginia) Darling Kerstie, l"m so sorry not to be here to say goodbye, but I know you"ll be thrilled to have me out of the house. Let"s meet very soon and l"ll tell you all about everything. - Virginia told you? - Of course she did. - And you're marrying her in spite of... - Not in spite of, because of. You poor bloody fool. You're being chivalrous about Virginia. You think she's a damsel in distress! - Well, she is in distress. - Oh, come off it, Guy! Don't you see how ridiculous you'll be, playing the knight errant? - It's Trimmer's child, not yours. Trimmer's! - If only a single soul is saved... What the hell does that mean? Well, it... it's something my father told me before he died. Look, this was put in my hands. It's most unwelcome. You could say it's... it's beyond the call of duty. But think about it. There's another soul, another life here to consider - her child. The world is full of unwanted children, Guy. Half the population of Europe are homeless. What's one child more or less in all that misery? In all my life, I don't think I've ever done a single positively unselfish action. This is one case where I can help. Only I can help. So I had to do it. I want to do it. I'm actually doing something good, for once in my life. Don't you see? You're insane. That's the only explanation. Let's have one of you on the steps. I'm ready. Yes, throw it. - Now? - Yes. - (Laughs) - Lovely! And a little kiss. Shall we? (Applause) (Giggles) Ah... (Laughs) (Woman) Hajde! Evo ih! Vidim ih! Dolaze! Hajde! Evo ih! Pouri! (Woman sings eastern lament) Welcome to Begoy. Squadron Leader Cape. - Crouchback. - May God have mercy upon your soul. I thought I was going to Italy. Italy? Papers I got said you were an expert on Yugoslavia. Had the most amazing report from your parachute school. Really? - Hop in, I'll run you into town. - (Dog barks) - Move over, Tito. - (Dog growls) Hello, boy. So how many are there in my team? Oh, you're it, I'm afraid. You are the military mission. - Just me? - Well, and an interpreter. But I'd watch him if I were you. Everything gets back to the partisan government. They don't trust us capitalists. Who do I actually liaise with? The Minister of the Interior. He'll tell you what they want, then you give me a call and I'll see what I can do. Ah, here's your interpreter. Baki! This is Baki. This is Captain Crouchback, the new head of the military mission in Begoy. Hi, Cap, how ya doin'? Welcome in Begoy. Pleased to meet you. I'll show you round later. You want-a something, you asking Baki. Anything, I fix you for it. Right. Thank you. Perfect. Are all the red bits under partisan control? Absolutely. These fellas are pinning down huge numbers of Germans. Not to mention the Serb and Croat Nazis. Three times as many as in the Italian campaign. Good Lord. Which is why we're quite keen on our partisan friends. We just keep them supplied. You tell me what they want, I'll fly it in. - Are all the partisans communist? - To a man and woman. They accept us as allies, but to them, Russia is the real leader in this war. Best thing to do is to keep politics well out of it, hm? Right. No politics. The way I look at it, neither you or I is going to make our home here after the war, are we? No, true enough. So how they choose to govern themselves and what happens afterwards is entirely their business. I understand what you're saying. See you later, Crouchback. Kako si? ta kaes? (Moans) Blagoje, molim, dodji vamo. (Murmurs in Serbo-Croatian) - (Woman groans and pants) - Hvala. (Murmurs in Serbo-Croatian) (Screams) Trebamo generatore. Trebamo ih hitno! He say electric lights, we need generators. I'm sure that's possible. We need aeroplane. We demanding our own aeroplane! You have use of our planes day and night. Baki, dodji vamo. (Partisans murmur) (Murmured conversation) What's happening? They were not happy with your answer, pal. Trebamo dvadeset pisaih maina, penicilin. - Trebamo artiljeriju. - Artillery. - Puno puaka. - Many guns. - Terenske bolnice. - And field hospitals. Field hospitals. Right. (Woman screams and baby cries) (Partisans murmur and laugh) (Baby cries) - To young Gervase. - Cheers. Oh. Could you...? (Grizzles) Very good of Virginia to name him after my brother. They never exactly saw eye to eye. - He's certainly got a powerful pair of lungs. - (Baby grizzles) Wetting the baby's head. Sherry? I'll have a gin and orange. You are a darling. - Did you send that telegram to Guy? - Yes. It may take a couple of weeks, my dear. Mm. Poor Guy. So far away. We'd better be off. I think you should get the little chap changed. (Cries) - You must come down any time you want to. - Of course. But he won't be talking for ages. He hardly knows who I am yet. Much better off with you in the country. Peregrine, we have to have a party! ( Gershwin: Lady Be Good) I've got some news for you about Trimmer. Lan, I don't care any more, I'm a married woman. I told him about you marrying Guy. Sent him a cable. Thought he ought to know. And, er... he just jumped off a train outside Chicago. He's never been seen again, just sort of disappeared. He must have been very set on you. It's most inconvenient for us, though. Good for Trimmer. I hope he'll be very happy. What a splendid party, my dear! And you look wonderful! Thank you. I feel wonderful! Married life must agree with me. Ah, there he is! (Laughs wickedly) - What's happening now? - You're going to dance with me. - I don't know this tune, I'm afraid. - Oh, you're doing wonderfully. (Low, rumbling drone) (Drone intensifies) (Drone cuts out) (Distant explosion) Thank goodness! I always think they're aimed at me! (Laughter) (Whispers and giggles) (Laughs) Zbogom. (Bell tolls) - Good morning, Baki. - What was you doing in there? - I was at mass. I'm a Roman Catholic. - Oh, yeah? Well, the Jews are here. Jews? What Jews? (Soldiers talk in Serbo-Croatian) (Speaks Serbo-Croatian) Oh, for heaven's sake. Get them off the bloody train! Pusti idove! Ajde! (Soldiers shout in Serbo-Croatian) - Ajde. - Polako, polako, polako! (Shouts) - Ajde, ajde, ajde. - (Jewish man shouts in Italian) Un momento, per favore! Hajde, hajde. - Ajde. - (Whimpers) Ajde. Ajde. - (Coughing) - Ajde, ajde! (Toddler cries) Ajde. There's a woman here, and she say she speak English. She wanna talk to you. I'm Madame Kanyi. You are the British military officer? - Yes, I'm Captain Guy Crouchback. - I must speak with you in confidence. Certainly. Ajde, brzo. We are survivors from Italian concentration camp. The partisans freed us, but then brought us to Yugoslavia. We are skilled workers. Professionals. Then they move us. For two weeks, we've been living in this train. - It is intolerable. People are sick, hungry. - Well, you're among friends now. D'you smoke? Can I offer you a cigarette? Please. I like very much. Thank you. We want to go to Italy. We have friends there. Get us to Italy, we will be no more trouble. Put us in a plane and fly us to Italy, Captain Crouchback. Tonight. Look, I can promise you nothing. I'm a military liaison officer, nothing more. I can get you off the train and into more comfortable quarters, perhaps. But apart from that... Get us to Italy, Captain Crouchback. It's all we ask of you. Help us. I'll see what I can do. Baki! We need to find somewhere these people can live. I don't suppose you have an electrician amongst your skilled workers? We have some new electric generators and no-one can make them start. My husband is electrician. Very skilled electrician. Excellent. Somehow I think your luck might be changing, Madame Kanyi. "108 displaced persons require immediate transportation to Italy." Are you sure you want me to send this? It looks a bit political to me, old chap. It's not our business. I don't see why not. They are displaced people. We are meant to look out for them. Well, I suppose I can send it off. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Thank you. Vi, gospodjo! Dodjite vamo. Vi, gospodjo. Vi dodjite vamo. Da. Dodjite vamo, molim. Baki! Where are they taking Madame Kanyi? The Kanyis gonna live in their own house, next to electric generator plant. Very nice. Very safe. Oh, right. He can make the generator work, can he? Oh, yeah. Very good with the dynamo. Very useful guy to us. Good. (Knock at door) Hey, Cap! The Minister wants to see you. ASAP. (Generator rumbles) (Muffled cheering and whistling) Ovi idove, ponekad jako korisni. (Partisans laugh) Why are you helping these Jews? All displaced persons must be returned to their homes. Reci mu da centralna vlada misli da se ponaa nekorektno. They are mighty sore at you, Cap. They think you may allow trouble with these Jews. Will the central government co-operate with me? Yes or no? Ah, u pizdu materinu! (Generator sputters) - Frank De Souza! - Guy! (Laughs) Wonderful to see you. - How are you? - I'm well. - Come in. - Thank you. This really should be for the Minister, but I don't suppose he'll mind if we've made a start. Good Lord, I've just suddenly noticed. You're a major. Oh. Yeah. The whirligig of war, Guy. Who'd've thought I'd end up your commanding officer? - Here's to Begoy. - Begoy? Mm. Begoy's about... well, at least its neighbouring countryside's about to become a very important place. I'll believe that when I see it. No, you will, you see. The Americans are coming. If we can get the Americans behind the partisans, things will really change: Endless supplies, military materials. Things'll really start to move. They do realise the partisans are communist? Well, we're all fighting in a common cause, Guy. - The aim is to defeat fascism. - Of course. By any means. Exactly. By any means possible. You always did see the bigger picture, Frank. Well, that's my job. Well, erm... I'd better get off to see the Minister. I'll, er... see you later. Goodbye, Frank. (Woman) Evo ih! Pouri! Desno! Desno! Ah! Here's your Americans. Better late than never. (Aeroplane rumbles) (Engine spits and starts) (Engine sputters) (Engine roars) (Tremendous crash) (Men shout in Serbo-Croatian) Run like hell, boys! (Coughs and splutters) General Spitz? Thank God. Are you all right? (Coughs) I'm fine. Did we get everybody out OK? (Coughs) Hello? Hello? (Boom and splintering glass) (Slurs) Are you the f***ing pilot? You're under arrest! Absolutely disgraceful driving! - (Retches) - Crouchback, sir. Halberdiers. Crouchback? Give me a hand. There's a man here unconscious. Come on! That's it! - All right. - (Grunts) There you are, my good man. (Coughs and retches) (Explosions) Mind his head. Can you get me a large gin and tonic, please? I, er... Jesus! Where am I? - Lan. Good God! - I think... - You all right? - Guy. Yes, yes. I, er... I was in Bellamy's, I thought, and there was a... there was an air... air raid. Oh, dear. - We get everybody out? - Everybody except the pilot. Ha! The dog it was that died. Serves him bloody well right! That's the German blockhouse. The partisan forces have gathered in the woods on the other side of the valley. - Through there. - Right. (Whispers) Crouchback. How long before the mortar barrage? - 20 minutes. - Good. Nice young chap called "something-ic" said I could join the attack on the blockhouse. You do know, sir, that there's a certain amount of humbug attached to this attack? It's all been laid on especially to impress the Americans. Of course it is. It's a demonstration. Sort of thing we used to do at Southsea, remember, Crouchback? Great days, sir. This'll be the last chance I'll get for a spot of biffing. If anyone asks where I am, tell them I felt ill. Went back. Sir. (Chuckles) (Boom) (Mortar fire) (Whistling and thuds) - So what happens next? - Er... the partisans will attack. It seems there's a German armoured column on its way. The attack's been postponed. Oh, no, it's not. Look. Just look over there. (Machine-gun fire) (Bullets ricochet) Come on, you...! (Snarls) Come on! (Machine-gunner screams) (Bird flutters and shrieks) Now that is what I call a brave man. - That is heroism. - Well, that's the partisan spirit, General. Er... whatever the odds, absolutely undaunted, prepared to die for their cause. My God, that's impressive! So the captains and the kings depart. I think that did the trick. The Americans seem fully committed. - Thank God for General Ritchie-Hook, eh? - Well, any means available, Guy. What's for you now, Frank? I'll go back to Italy, coordinate things from there. - What about me? - Well, Begoy has served its purpose. I think we'll close the mission down. Come back to Italy and we'll find something for you. Right. Don't forget the Jews, Frank. Oh, yes. Your Jews. - You have to get them out. - I'll see what I can do. Major! See you in Italy. We're winning, Guy. We're winning! Come along. Come along. So, it's nearly all over. Well, I can't say I'll miss Begoy. A letter came in for you on the plane. (Angela) My dear Guy, I have dreadful news for you. Be prepared. Virginia has been killed. And Uncle Peregrine. A flying bomb landed on the flat at ten in the morning yesterday. They were all killed instantly. Little Gervase is safe with me. I wish you could have seen Virginia these last few weeks. She was still her old sweet, gay self, of course. But there was a difference. I was beginning to understand why you loved her. Madame Kanyi! Good evening. Come on, let me carry that. - No, please, it's better not. - I insist. - Are you all right, Captain Crouchback? - Oh, I've had some bad news. Bombs in London. Even in London there's still a war going on, people being killed. I'm sorry for you. You are a kind man, Captain Crouchback, but what can you do against evil? None of us can do anything. It isn't a question of evil. It's just a question of... bad luck. It's a war. People get killed. People who want war forget that people get killed in war. Well, I think the Nazis went to war just so they could kill. It's too easy to blame the Nazis, to say only Nazis wanted war. These communists wanted war, too. Only this way could they get power. Many of my own people wanted to fight the Germans to get revenge. Everywhere people actually wanted to go to war. They wanted the war. They needed the war. Even good men thought that by going to war, they would win a kind of honour. No. They think "I kill somebody. That proves I'm a man." I knew many people who felt like this. Many. Was there nobody in England who felt the same? God forgive me. I was one of them. We had a telegram yesterday. Planes are to be sent to take you and your people to Italy. - You'll be there by Christmas. - Not me. - Why not? - My husband is too important. They need him for the electric. They don't let him go. I'm to be recalled myself. I thought... you might enjoy these few things. You are very kind. Thank you. Mm. Madame Kanyi... please, don't lose heart. When I get to Italy, I'm going to raise Cain about you and your husband. I'll get you there, I promise you. Do you have cigarette, please? Yes, of course. - Thank you. - Look... please, take them. He can't make any trouble. Not for you. You are leaving. Goodbye, Captain Crouchback. I'll see you in Italy, Madame Kanyi. (Woman sings eastern lament) No, they all came out. All of them. Four Dakota-loads of Jews. About a month or so after you left. That's wonderful. It's absolutely wonderful. Thank you, Frank. Nothing to do with me. I think people were fed up with you telegraphing them every ten minutes. (Chuckles) Still, it's great news. We've put them in this transit camp. They complain like hell and now they all want to go to Palestine. (Excited chatter) Dall'lnghilterra, il capitano! - Grazie, grazie! - How are you? Good to see you. - Hello! Good to see you. - Grazie! Hello, there! Hello. - Grazie tante. - O, grazie! - (Murmurs) - Thank you. O, grazie, grazie! Erm... is there a spokesperson that I... Hello, sir. There's a couple I'm looking for called the Kanyis. Ah. No. The Kanyis. No, they're not here. Come, I'll fill you in. The Kanyis never left Begoy. They were taken off the truck just as it was about to go to the airport. Why? It turned out the woman was the mistress of a British officer. - Nonsense! - No. No, apparently, this man, who has not been identified, was seen visiting her house. And the husband was accused of deliberately sabotaging the electric light. They found a whole mass of American propaganda in their room. Well, so what happened to them? Well, they were put in jail, and duly tried by a people's court and found guilty of treason. - Treason? What the f*** does that mean? - It means, Guy, that justice was done. Steady on, Guy. Aren't you making rather heavy weather of this? You got 106 of them out. They think it's a miracle. Why isn't that enough? Because I made a promise, that's why. (Birdsong) - Won't you miss Italy? - No, I don't think so. It's all ancient history to me now. Got a good price for the house, though. Extraordinary thing is, it was bought by a man who saved my life after Crete, a man called Ludovic. Earned a fortune writing a novel. Father would be pleased, Guy, knowing you're back at Broome. (Child laughs) Shall I take you over? No, I'll, erm... I'll go myself. Da! (Giggles) Doo-dat! (Child babbles) (Laughs) Yeah, yeah! Hello. I'm your father.

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William Boyd

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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