Major Keller (Laurence Payne) is a highly decorated and respected British army officer, who is now facing a court-martial for willfully bringing about the death of his commanding officer Colonel Winch (Ralph Michael) on a WWII battlefield.
The prosecution has a number of witnesses to testify that Keller was coveting Winch’s attractive wife Laura (Susan Stephen) and his psychiatric report indicates he is a man motivated by ambition who killed the colonel to secure a promotion for himself.
Keller maintains that while he did bring about the death of his commanding officer, he did so with justification and in the line of duty as he considered him to be unfit to command (Winch had been drinking excessively and was cracking up mentally as a result of severe battle fatigue).
Keller claims that while his regiment was in France, Winch’s condition was such that he led his men into a situation where they were heavily outnumbered by the Germans and at least one-third of them died.
Worse followed when Winch put the security of the entire army at risk leaving Keller with no other option but to shoot him. Unfortunately, Keller has no one who can corroborate his story.
A surprise witness eventually throws an unexpected light on the situation and the case against Keller is dropped. It seems, though, that the killing was unnecessary after all.
The story is told in flashback through the eyes of witnesses and Keller himself. Though clearly made with a very low budget (the use of archive footage is particularly poor), the script is good (“Mr Avengers” Brian Clemens did the writing) and the acting is never less than acceptable.
Although filmed in 1961, this British-made B-movie from the Danziger Brothers (who churned out dozens of cheap and cheerful “quota quickies” in the 1950s and 1960s) was not actually released in the UK until 1964.
Lt. Gen. Sir Harold Power
J. Mark Roberts