Saturday 15 December 2007

King Rat

Actor turned director Bryan Forbes' 1965 adaptation of James Clavell's King Rat portrayed the Japanese prisoner-of-war camp Changi in Singapore (actually filmed outside Los Angeles) as a living hell. George Segal plays the titular King Rat, a Jack-the-Lad US Army Corporal who controls of the camp's black market.
With the war reaching its end, the movie focuses on the King Rat and his British compatriot played by James Fox and their attempts to buy their freedom before the brutal guards slaughter them.

Forbes had established a professional relationship with John Barry who supplied the atmospheric score for Forbes' 1964 release Seance on a Wet Afternoon. With King Rat, Forbes, no stranger to War movies, wanted something different from the ordinary run of the mill wartime epics. Rising to the challenge, Barry composed a haunting theme that runs throughout the film created using an exotic array of percussion instruments to reflect the Pacific environment. King Rat may be one of Barry's less familar works but nonetheless it's an essential addition to any self-respecting John Barry Prendergast fan's collection.

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