It’s rare for a first-time novelist to get the chance to adapt his or her work to the screen, but that’s exactly what happened with James Kennaway, who scored his biggest success with his 1956 novel set in the peacetime headquarters of an unnamed Scottish military regiment. He turned in an Oscar-nominated adaptation that proved a career highlight for its two stars, Alec Guinness and John Mills. Guinness plays an up-from-the-ranks officer who assumed command during wartime action. In peace, the high command wants a more patrician leader, so they replace him with Mills, who spent the war in a Japanese POW camp. Their clashing styles provide the drama, heightened by Mills’ continuing trauma after having been tortured by the enemy. Ronald Neame shot most of the film at Shepperton Studios after being denied the use of Stirling Castle in Scotland when the commanding officer was offended by the paperback cover of Kennaway’s novel. They were only allowed a few long shots at the beginning and end of the film, but that hardly got in the way of the drama. Both stars were nominated for a BAFTA Award and Mills was named Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival. (d. Ronald Neame, 107m, Digital)
**This screening is the world restoration premiere. Restored by the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation in collaboration with Janus Films and The Museum of Modern Art. Restoration funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation.