Homo-erotic war film


King Rat is a unique war film especially for it's time, 1965. The Great Escape is the best of the prisoner of war camp films. Stalag 17 comes in at a close second. This is naturally just my opinion and is subjective. Both films deal with the hardships of being a prisoner of war. They both deal with death. Yet they have moments of light heartedness. It is almost like you might want to have experienced what they went through. Not in King Rat. It James Clavell's novel wich the film ws based on, shows the audiance a diferrent side of the prisoner of war camp. The dog eat dog side. In the Great Escape it is shown that all the men worked together for the common good. Sure Steve McQueen's Hilts is a loner and makes lone escape attempts but finally he joins the team and everyone is fighting together against the "Hun". In King Rat we get a bleak picture. Not for a million bucks would I want to hang out at this camp. It is filled with cheats and and swindlers. These men would do anything to get an extra ration of food even if it meant another mate would go hungry. Definately not the type of attitude shown in The Great Escape. We find George Segal aptly named Cpl. King running the camp like a king. Pardon the pun. But that is the point. He is supposed to be the King. Men of higher rank fear him. They suck up to him and curry favor just to get a cigerette but. One day King spots James Fox who plays Marlowe. This is where the homo-erotic theme comes in. Marlowe is even dressed in a native skirt. Lending to the feeling of femininity. King takes a shine to him. Through out the movie they fall in love or at least that is my take. I will not go into specifics as not to give away spoilers. But at the end of the movie when they are finally rescued and they are to be sent home. Segal rejects Fox. Fox declares his feelings for Segal saying that he was not ashamed of what they had. Naturally for 1965 you have to read between the lines because the times prevented homosexuality to be shown openly. Yet one needs not to be a rocket scientist to see the love these men had for each other. All in all it is a bleak film. Showing the worst aspects of mankind. Lacking the comraderie that The Great Escape had. But all in all it is an very good film though, dark as it is.

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You really can't compare POW stories and settings between the European theater and the pacific. The POW's were treated so differently. It was like the difference between night and day.
While you have an interesting take on the relationship between the King and Marlow in the movie. In the book I think it gives a more realistic impression of how the camps and prisoners interacted. It even touched on homosexuality in quite a lot of detail (see the character Sean).
In fact upon reflection it is even presented in the movie between the doctor and Steven.
King Rat (both book and movie) present about the most accurate description of life in a Japanese POW camp thus far.
I have often suspected that King Rat is probably autobiographical. James Clavell was a prisoner at Changi.
I recommend reading up on the Japanese POW experience. It will change your life. There are many books on the subject (topics: Hell Ships, Death Marches, Unit 761, The Burma Railway, etc)
Check out the site on the Far East POW's at
www.fepow.com


"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh"- Voltaire

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[deleted]

But Homo-Erotic.....?

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I recommend reading up on the Japanese POW experience. It will change your life.


I have read MANY of these books. and I just saw the movie 'King Rat'.

The only part I will disagree with, is in every true story I have read, when LIBERATION comes. They were all yelling and screaming. Not in King rat.

Interesting movie....

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" King Rat (both book and movie) present about the most accurate description of life in a Japanese POW camp thus far"


IMHO "Empire Of The Sun" is a more accurate portrait of life in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.


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I have a mind blowing concept for you. What War movie ISN'T Homo-Erotic?

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[deleted]

I have a mind blowing concept for you. What War movie ISN'T Homo-Erotic?

LOL.


Sigs suck, and so do people who use them.

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I can read queer into almost any good movie out there but this move is one of the most un homo erotic ones i have seen. Its a great movie and shows camaraderie in hard times but wheres the homo-eroticism? Just because there's a lot of guys around doesnt make it homo. If anything this move de-sexualizes all the prisoners.

Accept all paths to God

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Read the book. There's nothing queer in it.

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Read the book. There's nothing queer in it.

Gee, you're not homophobic AT ALL, are ya? *rolls eyes*


Sigs suck, and so do people who use them.

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I just watched it, and was very impressed. Not only is it a brilliant film that tells the truth about human relations (because most of real life really is dog-eat-dog), but it's also very moving and quite beautiful.

Especially all the sweaty shirtless buff gorgeous men. ;)

And the homoeroticism was so evident, I was almost expecting a declaration of tru wuv from Marlowe at the end.

::ponders::

Come to think of it, I guess his actions really were a declaraion of love, weren't they? Just not in those *exact* words.

Pity, that. A lot of people would've loved to see some kissing (and much, much more!) in this film. :)

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And then the Magic Mushroom wore off and he/she realized that he/she was no longer in the closet......

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No, the magic mushroom wore off, then King Rat, and others, stepped back into the closet. They came out, when nothing else mattered. What'd they have to loose. Most of them probably ended up in Washington, where they held Congressional seats and voted on everything against homosexuality, making statements like, "I'm not gay," while playing footsie in the men's public bathrooms, gesturing, "Look what I got. Wanna' play?" It's sad that they feel they can't be themselves, in normal life. Even sadder when they harm those who can, just to divert suspecion.

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Geez...

This film is based upon James Clavell's own experiences as a prisoner of the Japanese in Changi camp. Regarding the homo-erotic aspects being discussed, IMHO, the point of the story (book AND film) is being missed. The portions in both film and book which touch upon the sexual are _incidental_ to the thrust (you'll please pardon the unintended sexual connotation of that word) of the story which is genesis, man being forced to begin again, stripped of all but one's character. Clavell makes this quite clear both in the very beginning of the book and again at the very end.

Whether or not a lot of people would have wanted to see these poor, starving and degraded men kissing is questionable. I hardly think this was uppermost in the author's or director's minds! I'm certain Mr. Clavell would have been repulsed.

TjB

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Geeze, they even used a sledge hammer to force the point, and you guys still missed it. Segal gave his little speech about how he never had anything. He never had the money. He never had the girls. He never had the good life. He was always a loser -- until his time in the camp. That was the sole time that he was a winner.

When peace was near, he withdrew from Marlowe and his friends. He started to call them by their rank.

When peace came (when Dawson the paratrooper showed up), he deliberately tried to get his butt in trouble by talking to Dawson. He knew his time at the top was over.

Apparently, any movie without women is going to be homo-erotic to you guys. Sure, there are always going to be gays, but that isn't the driving force here. More than a few soldiers in the movie were forced to wear "native dresses" because their pants fell apart from wear. Segal didn't look out the window and see a guy with a nice butt talking to a native. Segal looked out the window and saw a guy talking to a native. Segal knew he could make better deals if he had a translator. God, how could you guys miss that.

Marlowe thought he had a true friend. He was shocked that King Rat would abandon him after all they had gone through. The Rat had no friends. In the entire movie, he talked only to those who he was scamming or those that helped him with the scams. Marlowe was helped through his gangrene by King only because King needed him. Otherwise Marlowe would have lost his arm, and perhaps, his life.

The point of the whole story is: unlike almost everyone else who has ever been in a prisoner-of-war camp, King found it to be the best situation that he had ever experienced in his life. When it was over, he was devastated. The end of the war took everything away from him.

God, how could you miss it.

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Praise be to the Gods of Commonsense.

King found an unique way to survive in the horrible maze that overwhelmed them all and he triumphed. Other blokes fell ill, went troppo, became subservient or hid themselves away from the crazy new reality. For King it was a good idea at the time.

Then the madness that caused the need ceased.

User-18362 postulates "The end of the war took everything away from him" and I reckon this is as good a summary as you'll see.

As to the "Aha - I spy a hidden homo!" theorising - good luck with that. I think you're sighting ships on the horizon shimmering through the mirage of your own preoccupation.

PS: visit any number of Asian provinces and you will find men, tough men, old men, young men, skinny men, normal men and the otherly inclined all wearing some form of native "dress".

Westerners wear trousers and they wear wrap arounds, sarongs or whatever the local noun is, because they are way more comfortable and practical in the tropical climate ... not because they are on the look out for a bloke to bed down with!

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I second that. Always looking for hidden homos. If you look at the current state of education, you will find the reasons for this.

Ridiculous.



Push the button, Max

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I haven't seen the film , but i've read the book and I can tell for sure there's no romantic side to Marlowe's and King's relationship.I wouldn't try to read between the lines to discover homosexuality in this book, because it's debated openly.At one point, some prisoners share different opinions about their relationship, most of them being just non-sense.Someone implies taht homosexuality is involved.Some of the others don't agree.In my opinion, it is stated clear in the book that they are just friends.But you're free to see it as you like.

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I agree there is nothing between King and Marlow other than the King reconizing Marlow as a "tool" to help build his fortune better. (hence King only helping out Marlow's gangrenous arm only because if he didn't Marlow would not reviel the location of the diamond) Marlow saw their friendship as more. But certainly not in a "man-love" way.

In the book (My favorite and read it a dozen times or better) there is certainly references to homosexuality around the camp. But if you remember Marlow's "past friend" was a fellow flyer named Sean who when he discoverd Sean had become a transvestite for the camps theater (and homosexual...obstesivly for food but later admited it had changed him) Marlows disgust for Sean drove Sean to an attempted suicide. Sean at the end can't deal with what he bacame and drowned himself in the ocean after the liberation..."and the sea removed all trace of "her".

Homosexuality is refered to very often in the book, and even in the movie if you notice the scene in the hospital when Sgt Masters dies.






"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh"- Voltaire

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There is nothing Homo-erotic in the relationship between King and Marlow. Not in the book at least and the movie skipped some important things from the book, that made some other stuff look exactly the opposite of what they are.

Marlow is an upper class English officer and he has trouble understanding the US POW society, like why they call their officers by the first name and so on. You can consider this story as the story of the transformation Marlow went through and the last "chat" he had with King, came like a conclusion.

Anyway, long story short, this is a movie about a POW camp, but it ruined the book. There are lots of stuff in the book that wouldn't look good in a Vietnam-era movie.

Read the book, but attention, you will want to read the other books too :) Awesome stuff.

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I don't see the Marlowe-King relationship having anything sexual in it. But on the subject of homoerotic subtext, how about that conversation between Dr Kennedy and Stevens, the nurse? (This is on the Memorable Quotes page.) I thought that Kennedy was implying something about Stevens. There were a few scenes in *The League of Gentlemen* (also scripted by Bryan Forbes) which have this sort of subtext, especially the ones which touch on what Kieron Moore did to get cashiered from the army.

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I agree. There wasn't anything sexual.. at least, you couldn't seriously say that they were boning each other.

But that doesn't make it NOT homoerotic in some sense!

Marlowe got played, and King played him, and it's done in the most heartbreaking way you can tell it - Marlowe if anything considers him somewhat of a brother. If they were just loud drinking buddies who talked about tits and puke, you would never have had something so powerful as that final conversation or last scene before King gets on the truck.

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Segal saw Marlowe as an opportunity to make money. It was his Speaking Javanese that piqued his interest not his skirt.

The reason that King acted the way he did, begins when Tex complains that he is worried about his Rats, "They were raised in captivity, they don't know any better" This coupled with the Top Sergeant's blow up on King forces King to realize that that he didn't really have any friends. And now that he had nothing to offer they wanted nothing from him. I also think he may have been ashamed for using people the way he did, but the wife disagrees.

The reason the Marlow said he wasn't ashamed was that he was a British officer having an almost subservient friendship with a corporal. Yes he was friends but he did become friends with king because of what he could offer, offer to help him survive as he stated at the end in what you thought was his homo-erotic claim for love.

Remember in his argument with Grey where Grey Commented about kissing a corporal's ass. And Marlowe said he already said that.

That, together with the lifestyle they lead, trading with guards etc is what he is saying he didn't feel ashamed about.

But like the other poster said, if it gives you a warm and fuzzy thinking it was homo-erotic then by all means have at it.

The nurse holding Marlow when he got his arm stitched up was definitely that. And it wasn't subtle. "What’s wrong" “Nothing" You’re a liar....you shave your legs and your a liar" Why be overt with that but subtle with the King and Marlowe?

Well that is my wordy thoughts.

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The reason the Marlow said he wasn't ashamed was that he was a British officer having an almost subservient friendship with a corporal. Yes he was friends but he did become friends with king because of what he could offer, offer to help him survive as he stated at the end in what you thought was his homo-erotic claim for love.

THANK YOU. And no, there was nothing homo-erotic in the Marlowe-King relationship. It's very clear in the novel that Sean, who undoubtedly had prior tendencies, had become the camp "girl" and many of the men are hot for him and look forward to his performances. However, it's pretty clear that their collective behavior is on par with that of men in prison, albeit without the rape-dominance factor. And for anyone who's interested, Peter Marlowe goes on to marry and have children in Noble House, a later installment in Clavell's Asian Saga. Marlowe makes reference to both his internment and The King, whom he credits with keeping many men alive including, ironically, Grey.

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I remember seeing this as a teenager and couldn't believe how it differed from the Great Escape. It wasn't until I was older when my parents told me how my grandfather, a sergeant in the Royal Leicestershire Regiment, (The Fighting Tigers)had been a POW in this camp. Apparently this film only touches on the way that the POW's were treated. Until the day my grandfather died, (and my grandfathers doctor confirmed this)he had grooves in his back where the gaurds had tied him up and then beaten him with split bamboo. My grandfather somehow, (I dont know how), with a group of others escaped from this camp and island hopped round the south China seas until an Austrailian Navy vessel picked them up and then dropped them off in India. It would appear that my grandfather made a habbit of escaping as he did the same when captured by the Germans during the expeditionary force to Norway.

My grandfather would never talk of his experiences in Burma and at the hands of the Japanese. What we know we do through his being mentioned in despatches.

The Burma campaign must of been hell and I can't understand why film makers havent used it for material before.

On a final note, have a look at the Burma Star web site. It contains a message board posted mainly by relatives of the men who fought in Burma and who are trying to find out more about their relatives actions in this campaign. The reason why they want to know ?............in nearly every case are the phrases 'He wouldn't talk about it.....he sent his medals back'. Some thing bad happened in that area in WW2 and its only been touched on so far. I hope that there is a budding film maker out there who will grab this by the horns and give us the truth.




VNAQUISH3443

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I'm so sick and tired of people backwards arguing anything with male relationships into homoeroticism. Newsflash: The whole world isn't gay.

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[deleted]

Wow. Homosexuals have a real problem with the concept of love without sexuality. The fact that men can love each other without any sexual element involved is something they just can't seem to deal with. And then they claim THEY'RE not the ones in denial. Pitiful.

Have none of you ever heard of non-fraternization? The idea of a military officer and a non-com becoming friends was quite a taboo, particularly in the British military at the time. And for the officer to have a subservient relationship to the enlisted man...you could be brought up on charges for something like that. This was the point of the relationship, and the thing Pete was "not ashamed of." It's also why King rejected Pete. He knew, once back in civilization, his friendship with Pete would no longer be tolerated. King was back to being a nobody, a mere Corporal, while Pete would be forced back into being the "superior officer".

Great movie.

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[deleted]

Sex is a long, long way behind food and shelter.

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To a certain extent, it exists in all of us. We just choose whether not to acknowledge it.


There isn't a shred of empirical data with which to back up that rather ridiculous statement.

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[deleted]

I'm so sick and tired of people backwards arguing anything with male relationships into homoeroticism. Newsflash: The whole world isn't gay.
To a certain extent, it exists in all of us. We just choose whether or not to acknowledge it.
There isn't a shred of empirical data with which to back up that rather ridiculous statement.

Except that there is.

Newsflash: Try picking up a newspaper or an encyclopedia some time, sametic. You'd be surprised what you're missing as the modern world continues to develop and understand itself while you continue to live under a rock with your head buried in the sand.

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[deleted]

I do encourage you to take up your latent potential and I implore you to enthuse your mates down the same path. That will reduce the competition, you see.

I've had a good look around for a few decades now and, given the impossibly fabulous boobs and butts I see all about all the time - and the continuing joy and gaeity I feel when I see them - I say you can take my hypothetical unacknowledged allocation too 'cos I won't be needing it.

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[deleted]