Major Jock Sinclair (Guinness), the rugged and popular temporary commander of a Scottish battalion, is resentful when he's replaced by Lt. Colonel Basil Barrow (Mills), a rigid martinet from an old, distinguished military family. Thus begins a bitter, barely suppressed struggle between these equally determined officers for the allegiance of their men — a struggle that becomes every bit as deadly as what they might face on a battlefield.
Ronald Neame's peerless battle of wits is a bitingly perceptive examination of the British class system as manifested in military life, exposing the dire consequences when two men of opposing wills, backgrounds and character collide in competition for the loyalty of the soldiers they lead. Guinness and Mills, reunited fifteen years after appearing in "Great Expectations," seem to feed off each other's superlative talent here; both deliver totally credible portrayals of two very different men. Don't miss that jaw-dropping conclusion.