Soldiering and politics don’t mix, according to this well developed screenplay and story by Robert Holles [from his novel The Siege of Battersea, adapted by Leo Marks and Marshall Pugh, with additional material by C.M. Pennington-Richards] which dissects with a piercing personal touch the strict disciplinary attitudes that govern a true British soldier and makes him retain his own individual pride in the face of political forces unappreciative of his principles.
Producer and director come up with a strong and frequently exciting piece of work, the story of a British battalion caught in the midst of the African struggle for independence.
Performances throughout are excellent. Richard Attenborough is tough, crisp and staunch as the sergeant, playing with as much starch as the character implies. Errol John has intense qualities of fanaticism as the lieutenant who seizes the government, and Jack Hawkins, in essentially a cameo spot, plays like the resigned warhorse he is meant to be.