142 The Virgin Soldiers

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142 The Virgin Soldiers

#1 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:11 am

(John Dexter, 1969)
Release date: 18 March 2019
Limited Blu-ray Edition (UK Blu-ray premiere)

Pre-order here

Set in Singapore in the early 1950s, this impressive adaptation of Leslie Thomas’ best-selling, scandalous novel centres on a group of naïve, young British Army recruits billeted to Malaya who have no experience of either love or war.

Both affectionate and affecting in its look at young men in wartime, the film has a wonderful cast which includes Lynn Redgrave (Georgy Girl, The National Health), Hywel Bennett (The Family Way, Twisted Nerve) and Nigel Davenport (The Third Secret, The Mind of Mr. Soames), along with early appearances from Christopher Timothy, Wayne Sleep, James Cosmo – and a young David Bowie. Genuine and heartfelt, The Virgin Soldiers is an insightful and hugely underrated British comic drama.


• High Definition remaster
• Original mono audio
• Interview with co-screenwriter Ian La Frenais (2019)
• Interview with actor Roy Holder (2019)
• 16mm On-set Footage (1969): rare and previously unseen material shot on location
Operation Malaya (1953): David MacDonald’s acclaimed feature-length docudrama on the Malayan Emergency
• Theatrical trailer
• Image gallery: on-set and promotional photography
• New and improved English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
• Limited edition exclusive booklet with a new essay by author Scott Harrison, an overview of contemporary critical responses, and film credits
• UK premiere on Blu-ray
• Limited Edition of 3,000 copies
• All extras subject to change

BBFC cert: 15
EAN: 5037899071908

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Re: 142 The Virgin Soldiers

#2 Post by der_Artur » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:06 am

This Instagram-Post makes even more sense now: https://www.instagram.com/p/BsY7Dneg9s4/
Never heard of this movie and still don't know what to make of it after the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UZIsrd_JvI

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Re: 142 The Virgin Soldiers

#3 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:42 am

That trailer was clearly made for the US market!

In Britain, I suspect much of the film's target audience would at least have heard of the source novel (a whopping bestseller), and pretty much all British men older than their late twenties in 1969 would have immediately picked up on the core situation - which is that the younger soldiers are all doing their National Service, whereby all males from 17 to 21 were required to do an eighteen-month stint in the British Army. (My dad was one of them.) The novel was strongly autobiographical, and dealt with Leslie Thomas's own experience of being shipped out to Malaya and having to combine the first responsible job of his life (and we're talking life-or-death responsiblity at times) with all the preoccupations that young men in their late teens usually have, although with the additional challenge here that the choice of available women is hugely restricted. A lot of it is played for laughs, but by no means everything - in fact, the shock moments are all the more effective for generally occurring right in the middle of lighthearted bits.

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Re: 142 The Virgin Soldiers

#4 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:55 pm

The longer version of the trailer, although in rough shape, captures things a bit better. It has been a while since I last saw it but it definitely does have that comic tinged with tragedy aspect to it, as mentioned. The Virgin Soldiers occupies an interesting position as being more serious but sort of anticipating Columbia Pictures later producing bawdier British sex films with the Confessions of... series. I have not had the chance to see the sequel, 1977's Stand Up Virgin Soldiers, but that comes just after the peak of the 70s British sex film (when even Carry On films were now trying to jump on the trend and be a bit more explicit with Carry On Behind and Carry On Emmanuelle, without much success) and looks to be much more in the vein of a British sex comedy, even starring Robin Askwith!

Just a warning to the curious that David Bowie is in this film incredibly briefly, as in 'less time than he was in Fire Walk With Me' briefly!

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