πŸŽ₯ Carrington V.C. – 1954

The Story …

Major Charles ‘Copper’ Carrington (David Niven), who has a distinguished Second World War record and was awarded the Victoria Cross, is arrested for embezzling Β£125 from his unit’s safe.

Other charges include leaving the base and entertaining a woman officer in his room, this being forbidden by the battalion commander Colonel Henniker (Allan Cuthbertson).

Appearing in his own defence, Carrington’s case at his court-martial is that he took the money openly because of back pay owed him. The Army Paymaster had failed to pay him for expenses during postings in the Far East and his wife Valerie (Margaret Leighton) was pressuring him for money …

She lives in another part of the country and has become ill and suicidal as a result of financial worries.

Carrington claims he told his superior, Colonel Henniker, about his decision to remove the money. He transferred Β£100 of it to his wife’s account to give her relief from her financial problems. He then left the base to compete in a major horse race in which he bet the rest of the money on himself, hoping to be able to pay back the cash taken.

When he fell from his horse, his friend Captain Alison Graham (Noelle Middleton) tried to return the money, but was denied access to the safe.

As for the incident in his room, it is established that Carrington was bed-ridden from his fall and that Graham was visiting him to discuss the embezzlement. She was fully dressed and sitting on a chair when Colonel Henniker stormed in, reminding them that it was against regulations for male and female officers to be together in private quarters.

Henniker admits waiting for some time between seeing Graham go to Carrington’s room and then entering himself.

Henniker is in fact Carrington’s enemy, resenting his war record, achievements and popularity at the base. There is an element of sympathy for Carrington’s actions and it is pointed out that the Major could be cleared if established that Henniker had forewarned knowledge of his intentions.

He thus perjures himself at the court-martial by denying being told by Carrington of his decision to take the money from the safe. Much of Carrington’s debts were due anyway to Henniker’s constant delays in pursuing the Paymaster to give Carrington the money owed him.

Due to her ill health, Carrington did not intend to call his wife Valerie as a witness, but decided that he will have to when the case goes against him following Henniker’s “evidence”. She resents the idea of washing their dirty linen in public but finally agrees to turn up.

Things go wrong when Valerie becomes suspicious of Carrington’s relationship with Captain Graham. Under pressure, Graham admits to Valerie that she had a one-night stand with Carrington when they became stranded in a pub in the middle of a storm.

But Carrington then insisted that a full affair would not be fair to anyone, and ended it. He and Graham are now just friends.

In her evidence, Valerie also perjures herself, denying her husband ever mentioned telling Colonel Henniker he planned to take the money.

Carrington produces a letter she wrote to him in which she does mention his argument with Henniker. Carrington intends to only read the parts relevant to his defence since the letter also contains embarrassing matters about the couple and Valerie’s health. But when the judge insists that he and the other officials read it before it is submitted into evidence, Carrington tears it up.

The officers who are to determine his fate have seen through the lies told in court and sympathise with Carrington. But the law finds Carrington guilty on all counts, which means dismissal from the service.

All the regular soldiers at the base are near-unanimous and it is an unfair decision. One of them, Owen (Victor Maddern), was a sergeant demoted when loyalty to Carrington resulted in his failure to cooperate with the investigation.

His defiance in and out of court on the subject results in his demotion again to a mere private.

Having made his grievances public, Carrington has decided not to appeal the verdict. His marriage is also over, but, with an attitude typical of him, he puts it down to the fact that Valerie is still in love with her late husband, killed during the war, and the father of her sons.

However, in the course of gossiping about the case, a telephonist at the exchange admits overhearing Carrington’s phone call with his wife and what was really said.

The telephonist’s testimony (if heard at the court-martial) would have provided evidence that Valerie was lying under oath.

Without Carrington knowing, as he exits the court-martial building, the other soldiers rally around and display their support for him.

Moved, he decides to go along with the appeal; and there is the strong possibility that when the telephonist’s evidence is heard, the verdict will be quashed and Carrington acquitted …

Credits :

  • Directed by Anthony Asquith
  • Written by John Hunter
  • Based on Carrington V.C. by Campbell Christie and Dorothy Christie
  • Produced by John Woolf and Teddy Baird
  • Cinematography : Desmond Dickinson
  • Edited by Ralph Kemplen
  • Production Company : Romulus Films
  • Distributed by Independent Film Distributors
  • Release Date : 9 December 1954

Cast :

  • David Niven as Major Charles ‘Copper’ Carrington VC
  • Margaret Leighton as Valerie Carrington
  • Noelle Middleton as Captain Alison L. Graham
  • Allan Cuthbertson as Colonel Henniker
  • Victor Maddern as Bombardier Owen
  • Raymond Francis as Major Jim Mitchell
  • Geoffrey Keen as Brigadier AyersΒ Meadmore, President
  • Newton Blick as Judge Advocate A. Tesker Terry
  • Mark Dignam as Major Morse, Prosecutor
  • Robert Bishop as Prosecutor’s Assistant
  • Maurice Denham as Lieutenant Colonel B.R. Reeve
  • Laurence Naismith as Major R.E. Panton
  • Clive Morton as Lieutenant Colonel T.B. Huxford
  • Michael Bates as Major A.T.M. Broke-Smith
  • Stuart Saunders as Sergeant Crane
  • John Chandos as Adjutant John Rawlinson
  • Fred Griffiths as Fred, Soldier
  • Johnnie Schofield as Hallam
  • Vivienne Martin as Pte. Smith
  • John Glyn-Jones as Evans, Reporter
  • Timothy Bateson as Soldier in Naafi
  • R.S.M. Brittain as Sergeant Major

Film Information Source :


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