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Defence of the Realm

The state of the nation's press and the evil antics of its secret services in the nuclear age are combined in this fast-paced thriller.

With:
Gabriel Byrne Greta Scacchi Denholm Elliott Ian Bannen Fulton MacKay Bill Paterson

The state of the nation’s press and the evil antics of its secret services in the nuclear age are combined in this fast-paced thriller.

Script unravels a relatively uncomplicated story of events following the near crash of a nuclear bomber on an American airforce base in the English countryside. A left-wing MP who gets wind of the event is framed as a Russian spy and forced to resign. His journalist friend is bumped off secretly shortly before publishing details of the incident.

The story centers on a younger hack who enjoys the triumph of cracking the link between parliamentarian Markham and a Russian agent, only to discover after the death of his friend that he has been set up by the secret services.

A female character, Nina Beckman (Greta Scacchi), is strangely marginal. By the time she enters center stage as Mullen’s journalistic accomplice, her only function is to tie up a few loose ends.

Gabriel Byrne is somewhat one-dimensional as Mullen. He’s a perfect foil, however, to the older journalist caught between friendship, the truth and his career. Denholm Elliott gives an extraordinary performance in that role.

Defence of the Realm

UK

Production: Enigma/NFFC/Rank. Director David Drury; Producer Robin Douet, Lynda Myles; Screenplay Martin Stellman; Camera Roger Deakins; Editor Michael Bradsell; Music Richard Harvey; Art Director Roger Murray-Leach

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1985. Running time: 96 MIN.

With: Gabriel Byrne Greta Scacchi Denholm Elliott Ian Bannen Fulton MacKay Bill Paterson

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