Having just reviewed The Camp on Blood Island next in the Powerhouse Films Hammer Volume 3 boxset is another war film from director Val Guest and is certainly worth a look and comparing to Blood Island. So without further ado here’s my Yesterday’s Enemy (1959) Blu-ray Review.
- Yesterday’s Enemy (1959) (Part of the Hammer Volume 3 Boxset)
- Genre: War Film
- Directed by Val Guest
- Running Time: 94 Mins
- UK Rating 15
- Discs: 1
- Released By Powerhouse Films aka Indicator
- Blu-ray Released: 30 July 2018
The remnants of a British Army brigade struggle to make their way through the dense Burmese jungle in hope of joining up with other British forces. When they discover a small village amongst the jungle they find themselves coming under attack from the Japanese. With the village cleared out Captain Langford (Stanley Baker) discovers some vital information but needs to take extreme actions to fully understand its implications.
Style / Direction
The film is directed by Val Guest with the cinematography handled by Arthur Grant. It’s shot in black and white which seems to intensify the emotion. Guest delivers another tense and powerful film that deals with the darker side of war with the focus shifting from the Japanese as in The Camp on Blood Island (1958) to the British forces and the brutal realities that war drives men to commit actions they may not believe themselves capable of.
Make no mistake this is a claustrophobic feeling film with much of it taking place in a small village surrounded by dense jungle.
Music / Audio Effects
There is no music with the film relying entirely on great sound design with the sounds of jungle ramping up the tension to almost unbearable heights.
Acting / Characters
Stanley Baker takes the lead and is backed up by a solid cast that really does bring the brutal realities of war to life in an incredibly uncomfortable way. Baker plays Captain Langford the man left in charge following death of the Brigadier. Much of his acting is conveyed by his piercing eyes that tell you just what is at stake should they fail to relay vital information. He really does play the role well and leaves you in no doubt about who is in charge.
Other key characters include Sergeant MacKenzie played by Gordon Jackson and Guy Rolfe as the Padre. Leo McKern is Max a war reporter whilst Philip Ahn takes on the role of Yamazuki the Japanese commanding officer. Ahn is given a fully developed character that is more than an equal for Stanley Baker’s Captain Langford.
All of the cast deliver good performances meaning Yesterday’s Enemy leaves a lasting impression long after the films conclusion.
- Stanley Baker as Captain Langford
- Guy Rolfe as Padre
- Leo McKern as Max
- Gordon Jackson as Sergeant MacKenzie
- David Oxley as Doctor
- Richard Pasco as 2nd Lieutenant Hastings
- Philip Ahn as Yamazuki
- Bryan Forbes as Dawson
- Wolfe Morris as The informer
- David Lodge as Perkins
- Percy Herbert as Wilson
- Russell Waters as Brigadier
- Barry Lowe as Turner
- Burt Kwouk as Japanese Soldier
Conclusion: Yesterday’s Enemy Film Review
It would appear that Hammer were well aware of the negative reception that The Camp on Blood Island received from the film critics of the today. And despite the British film audiences making it a hit at the box office Yesterday’s Enemy seems to be an attempt to counter any criticism that Blood Island received by showing that both sides are capable of atrocities.
It in many way it reminds me of Dirty Harry, many critics were simply shocked to see Clint Eastwood dispatching the bad guys via his .44 magnum without seemingly being too concerned. Then came Magnum Force the second of the Dirty Harry films that goes to show that there are far worse forces at work in the San Francisco Police Department than a certain Harry Callahan. After all Harry merely bends the rules while the rogue element within the SFPD takes the law into their own hands deciding what crimes should have punishment meted out.
Going back to Yesterday’s Enemy, I highly recommended watching both this and The Camp on Blood Island before judging either film too harshly. In the end this is an extremely powerful and shocking anti-war film that sees a truly outstanding performance from Stanley Baker.
If you like my Yesterday’s Enemy Blu-ray Review you may want to check out these films:
- Cash on Demand (1961)
- Dunkirk (1958)
- Never Take Sweets from a Stranger (1960)
- The Camp on Blood Island (1958)
In the end this is an extremely powerful and shocking anti-war film that sees a truly outstanding performance from Stanley Baker.
Conclusion: Yesterday’s Enemy Blu-ray Review
Powerhouse Films deliver yet another outstanding Blu-ray release with simply flawless audio and picture quality. On the extras front Powerhouse have delivered yet another excellent set with the must see feature being the 25 minute documentary “Total War: Inside Yesterday’s Enemy” that includes insight from the likes of Hammer experts Jonathan Rigby and Alan Barnes.
- The Guardian Interview With Val Guest
- Total War: Inside ‘Yesterday’s Enemy’ (25 mins)
- Hammer’s Women: Edwina Carroll (8 mins)
- Introduction by Stephen Laws (8 mins)
- New Territory (13 mins)
- Frontline Dispatches (8 mins)
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Image Gallery
- Reversible Sleeve
On to my movie rating for Yesterday’s Enemy (1959)
- Movie Rating: WELL WORTH WATCHING
- Blu-ray Picture: EXCELLENT
- Extras: EXCELLENT
Yesterday’s Enemy (1959) is available now on Blu-ray.
Amazon UK Links
- Blu-ray Boxset https://amzn.to/2EcoJwl
For those of you yet to see the film I’ll leave you with a little taster…
Clip may not be representative of the Blu-ray version
So that’s my Yesterday’s Enemy Blu-ray review, if you have any thoughts on this film you can leave them in the comment section below:
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Summary: Yesterday's Enemy (1959) Blu-ray Review
Director(s): Val Guest
Actor(s): Stanley Baker, Guy Rolfe, Leo McKern, Gordon Jackson, David Oxley, Richard Pasco, Philip Ahn, Bryan Forbes
- Movie Rating
- Blu-ray Picture Rating
An extremely powerful and shocking anti-war film that sees a truly outstanding performance from Stanley Baker.