Character: Tommy Judd
Other Cast: Rupert Everett (Guy Bennett),
Cary Elwes (James Harcourt), Anna Massey (Imogen
Bennett), Tristan Oliver (Fowler), Frederick
Alexander (Menzies), Michael Jenn (Barclay),
Rupert Wainwright (Devenish), Adrian Ross Magenty
(Wharton), Guy Henry (Head Boy)
Screenplay: Julian Mitchell, based on his
Director: Marek Kanievska
Executive Producers: Robert Fox and Julian
Seymour Producer: Alan Marshall
Music: Michael Story Hymns Sung
by Trinity Boys Choir
Director of Photography: Peter
Biziou Production Designer:
Running Time: 90 minutes. MPAA
Another Country is the story of Guy Bennett, an
upper-class English boy in his penultimate year
at a public school (unnamed, but obviously Eton,
whose uniforms are imitated in the film). His
dearest ambition is to be elected to the
Gods--the schools ruling
elite--for his final year. He sees this as the
crucial first step on the ladder of success that
will later lead to the diplomatic service and,
ultimately, the ambassadorship to France and a
host of national honors.
ambition is checked by his refusal to be discreet
about his homosexuality. At public schools, a
certain amount of homosexual horseplay is
accepted as a stage to be endured in an
environment devoid of females, but one that is
tacitly ignored. Bennett starts out as an
irreverent Oscar Wilde type, content to twit the
system rather than challenge it. When the
prefects sentence him to a beating, he retaliates
by threatening to go to the housemaster with the
details of all his sexual exploits, including the
names of his partners, among whom are some of
these very prefects. But when he falls seriously
in love with a fellow student, James Harcourt, he
is forced to come to terms with his sexuality in
a public way. The schools resident heavy,
Fowler, a rigid Fascistic-type, intercepts a love
note between Bennett and Harcourt and brings Guy
before the tribunal of prefects. Bennett could
save himself by appealing to the housemaster but
this would expose Harcourt to discipline that
might include expulsion from school. To protect
his beloved, Bennett submits to a caning and
loses his chance to become a God.
only friend at school is Tommy Judd, a passionate
Marxist. The boys are united by their
nonconformity, but neither totally understands
the others position. This gives them (or,
rather, the author) the chance to expound at
length on their cherished subjects. Bennett rails
against the hypocrisy of an institution that
tolerates discreet homosexuality but punishes any
outright manifestation of love; Judd counters
with his Marxist critique of the public school
system. By the end of the film, we see Bennett
beginning to understand Judds point of view
and flirting with the idea of Communism as a way
to ensure a better world. Given that weve
already seen Bennett comfortably ensconced in a
Moscow apartment in the prologue, however, we
know how he will decide the issue.
Another Country starts out as a conventional
Merchant/Ivory type of film--the British upper
classes loving and suffering in exquisitely cut
white flannels. The director, Marek Kanievska,
encourages this expectation with lush shots of
the English countryside, boys in their cricket
whites playing on beautifully manicured lawns, an
open-air assembly of top hatted, tail-coated
young men. At the same time, he ruthlessly strips
away the pretensions of this privileged world to
reveal the brutal and essentially feudal nature
of the society that spawned it. The rigid
hierarchy of the public school, with younger boys
forced to endure years of virtual slavery to the
older ones in order to qualify for rank and
privilege as senior students, is emphasized as a
microcosm of the outside world.
Mitchells main concern, however, is neither
the class structure of society nor the promise of
Marxism, but in making a plea for the acceptance
of homosexuality as a natural condition. When Guy
tells Tommy that Martineau, the boy who hanged
himself at the beginning of the picture when he
was discovered in flagrante delicto with another
boy, had told him that he knew from the age of
ten that he was gay, Tommy scoffs, saying that
you cant know a thing like that at such an
early age. Guy retorts, Are you a Communist
because you read Marx? No, you read Marx because
youre a Communist. The other efforts
at drawing a parallel between the two boys
situations as dreamers of a better world are
increasingly strained, especially when one
considers that some Communist states have been no
more tolerant of homosexuality than capitalist
difficulty is the portrayal of Bennetts and
Harcourts romance, which is photographed in
the same idyllic terms as the school landscape,
all ardent glances, romantic dinners and punting
in the moonlight. Since we have seen these images
of Eden brutally exposed as nothing but the
outward face of a cruel and sordid society, it is
difficult to accept the apparently sincere
attempt to present the affair as anything but an
critic noted that Another Country has the
air, but not the substance, of a tragedy.
From the dirgelike anthem, sung by a chorus of
young boys, that opens the film, we know that we
are looking at a doomed world. The oppressive
atmosphere of the 1930s hangs over the action.
The privileged class will never have it so good
again. One of these boys, we already know, will
become a traitor, and we realize that many of the
others will die in World War II. The news that
Tommy Judd was killed in the Spanish Civil War
comes as no shock. However, the pervasive
atmosphere of grief is hard to understand. Are
Mitchell and Kanievska saying that such an
outcome was inevitable, given the conditions
existing at the time? Or are they, in the
Brideshead Revisited vein, mourning a glamorous,
on Colin as Tommy Judd
Tommy Judd is, in one sense, the prototypical
Colin Firth character--the upper-class gentleman
(see Camille, Dutch Girls, The Secret Garden,
Tumbledown, Valmont, Circle of Friends, Pride and
Prejudice, The English Patient, My Life So Far,
Shakespeare in Love). As much as he likes to play
ordinary blokes like Fever Pitchs Paul
Ashworth, there is always something aristocratic
about his looks, bearing and voice that lead him
back to the role of English (or French or
another way, however, Tommy Judd is an unusual
character in the body of Firths work.
Judds intense commitment to Marxism and his
absolute certainty that he has the world figured
out are strikingly at odds with the internally
divided, tortured souls of later films such as
Robert Lawrence, Tom Birkin, Neil Truelove,
Alexander Scherbatov, Adrian LeDuc, Joseph
Prince, Freddie Page, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Jess
scenes are scattered through the film and most of
them are with Bennett (Everett), since he acts as
Bennetts sounding board. Judds more
human side is shown in his struggle between his
leftist principles and his friendship with
Bennett over the issue of being a prefect.
plays the role with an assurance that fits the
character of Judd. The first shots of Colin in
this film are the first film shots we have of
him: the film pans to show a courtyard in the
school with the boys singing in a memorial
service for World War I, and if you look closely,
you will see that Colin is decidedly not singing.
less serious vein, Colins loose, almost
bushy, long hair style, wire-rimmed glasses (worn
in some scenes), and moth-eaten sweater help to
define Judd as the leftist intellectual. We even
get to see Colin doing laundry and making his bed
in one scene as he and Bennett discuss their
sexuality, hetero- versus homosexual. As a public
school boy, Colin is engaged in several sports:
In one scene, Colin is in cricket whites
practicing the game, and in yet another, he is
punting on the river and talking to Bennett.
? Colin Firth played the role of Bennett onstage
(see below Stage and Screen). After
playing Tommy in the film, he resumed his stage
role as Bennett in the West End.
? Another Country was filmed partly at Cambridge
and Oxford Universities and partly at Althorp
Hall, Cambridgeshire, Princess Dianas
girlhood home. One of the extras was her brother,
the present Earl Spencer.
? The films producers asked permission to
shoot at Eton, but were refused.
? Rupert Everett and Colin Firth will appear
together again in the film Shakespeare in Love,
which is scheduled to be released in North
America in December 1998.
?Film Producer Robert Fox is also producer of the
film A Month in the Country starring Colin Firth,
Kenneth Branagh and his future wife/ex-wife
FROM COLIN FIRTH
a rebel against the system but he's more open
about it than Guy Bennett. Bennett is
underhand, he wants to take advantage of the
comforts, and that's really his undoing. Judd's
more upfront, he's a proselytizer. He could never
have been a spy."
Film Comment, March 1985
never have Judd's strength in terms of allowing
himself to become a joke in order to publicise
his convictions. The way he sticks by these
convictions all the time makes him unique. Most
people don't have that kind of courage. They
prefer to go along with the crowd. Judd wouldn't
turn out to be a spy because he is a prosletiser.
By fighting, doing something definite and
physical, he takes the opposite course. He's not
a victim of ambition. Whereas Bennett wants the
comforts and benefits of social status, Judd is
nauseated by the hypocrisy of it all.
wasn't a Communist [at school], and when I
rebelled against those assumptions, it was more
as Bennett would have done. I was scruffy, I was
cocky and I was trouble, but I didn't go around
voicing principles. I wasn't politically aware
but that doesn't inhibit my performance. With
acting, it's not how like the character you are
that counts, but whether you have an instinctive
understanding of how he'd behave.
Another Country Press Kit
wasnt nearly as concerned about the change
of roles as the change in medium. It was not
knowing if there was anything specific I should
be doing that was so frightening.
Premiere, December 1989
stage, you function on adrenalin, but the medium
of film is very bizarre. The energy is different
because the work is so detailed, so subtle."
Another Country Press Kit
performances won widespread praise, although a
few critics thought the young actors were not
quite young enough to be convincing schoolboys.
isnt an overblown or a weak performance in
this huge cast, said Sheila Benson in the
Los Angeles Times; both Colin Firth
and Rupert Everett are superb.
is outstanding as the token leftist wrote
Rex Reed in the New York Post, handling a
mouthful of Marxist propaganda with vigor and
Womens Wear Daily, Howard Kissel
agreed: Colin Firth is very strong as
[Judd], whose commitment to Marxism predates the
action and is never explained, but which Firth
makes credible and imposing.
George Robinson in Films in Review wrote that
Firth, in particular, is effective at
conveying a weary sort of disgust and is, I
think, an actor to look for in the future.
some praise for its serious subject and
intelligent dialogue, Another Country received
generally unfavorable reviews. Many critics were
unpersuaded by Mitchells central
argument--that Guy Burgess turned to treason and
espionage to take revenge on a society that
wouldnt accept his homosexuality. The
pettiness of his motivation is not only
incommensurate with the end result, wrote
George Robinson in the October 1984 edition of
Films in Review, . . . but does a
disservice to the emotions that lead a real life
Burgess to work quite hard at treason. And
in New York magazine, David Denby observed,
Surely a good many public-school
homosexuals must have been double-crossed by
friends and even unfairly caned without becoming
of critics mentioned the pervasive claustrophobia
of the school setting, but were divided on
whether this was inadvertent--a consequence of
adapting a stage play to the screen--or
deliberately done to emphasize the stifling
nature of public schools. Some criticized the
pretty pictorialism or
Vaselined romanticism of the
cinematography, apparently unaware that it was
being used ironically.
Favorite Moments from the
I cant do it. I just cannot be a prefect.
Guy: Why not?
Tommy: I do have my reputation, you
Tommy: Im the school joke, I
quite realize that. But I am, dont you
think, a respected joke? I do at least
stick to my principles. People appreciate that.
If I abandon them now, what will they say?
Guy: You dont care what people think.
Tommy: About me personally? No. Theyll say
its all a fake.
Guy: No. No.
Tommy: Theyll say, Thats what
we said all along. Its just a form of
Guy: On the contrary. Theyll see the ends
justifying the means. What could be more
Communist than that?
Tommy: Theyll think it was all a fake. They
think all Communists are fake. Thats
what they say about Stalin.
Devenish: I dont see why you have to be
Tommy: Im not. Im for revolution.
Fowler: If you mean the housemaster, kindly use
his proper name.
Tommy: You didnt.
Tommy: Use his proper name. His proper name is
Fowler: Are you trying to be clever or something?
Tommy: I dont have to try. I am clever.
Fowler: Ive half a mind to ask Barclay for
permission to beat you.
Tommy: Well, youve half a mind, we can all
agree on that.
Guy: My God, the man is really cracking up.
Tommy: Liberals always do, under pressure.
Guy: You know, youre a very hard man,
Tommy: Ive no time for him. He just wants a
nice, easy life with a nice, easy conscience, and
hes no right to either.
Tommy: You were easily bought.
Devenish: Well, my father was a God himself, and
when I told him . . .
Tommy: Ah, yes. And your son will be a God, and
your sons son, even unto the end of school.
Barclay: We saved the house from Fowler.
Devenish: We saved your conscience.
Tommy: Oh, yes. All problems solved for life. No
Commies and no queers.
Guy: Wouldnt it be wonderful if Communism
were really true?
Tommy: It is true.
Guy: What, heaven on earth?
Tommy: Earth on earth. A just earth.
Country provided Colin Firth with his first two
professional jobs. In the spring of 1983, while
still a student at the Drama Centre, he made his
professional debut in the role of Guy Bennett in
the stage version of Another Country. When Rupert
Everett (the original stage Bennett) won the role
in the film version, he encouraged Firth to
audition for the role of Tommy Judd. Colin did
and won the part.
pic of theater program cover, clickable to link
to large-size pic. And maybe another of the cast
list that I xeroxed and can send to Meluchie or
whoever for scanning.]
as it is for any drama student to begin his
career by starring in a West End play,
Firths accomplishment is even greater, for
after making his professional debut at Bennett,
he was able to turn around and play the utterly
different character against whom Bennett acts for
most of the play.
of CF as Bennett, looking through binoculars with Judd
behind him, and a snappy of the equivalent moment in the
film, with CF as Judd. Pics should be put up side
by side or above/below one another, and should be
clickable to reveal a large-size version.]
from the stage version suggest that Firth
emphasized the rebellious aspect of
Bennetts character, in contrast to the more
romantic and hedonistic interpretation offered by
playing Bennett on stage for several months,
Firth spent two months playing Tommy Judd. After
filming was finished, he went back onstage as
Mitchell adapted his own play for the screen,
making some significant changes. In the play,
which has only ten characters, Harcourt is never
seen, only talked about by the infatuated Guy.
The ending was ambiguous, leaving open the
question of Judds influence on
Bennetts politics; the film, with its
prologue and epilogue of an elderly Guy in
Moscow, makes explicit what the play merely
stage version of Another Country provided many
young British actors with their first major
roles. In addition to Everett and Firth, Daniel
Day-Lewis also played Guy Bennett, and Kenneth
Branagh won the Society for West End
Theaters Most Promising Newcomer award as
actors who appeared as various other schoolboys
in the play who later in appeared in films with
Colin Firth include James Wilby (who appears in
Dutch Girls), Julian Wadham (The English Patient)
and Anthony Calf (Pride and Prejudice).
generally praised the way the play was adapted to
film, but some didnt like it:
finished product is fascinating, not so much
because it is a good film--it isn't--but because
of what seems to have happened between stage and
screen. The rainbow-hued rhetoric of Mitchell's
play has done a bunk, leaving behind something
leaner and more larval. This defecting-butterfly
process has had its auspicious influence,
especially in Peter Biziou's doom-and-velvet
photography, which out-Caravaggioes The Verdict.
But there's also a lost-and-lusterless feeling in
the characters now, brooding away in black. And
the actors have clearly been encouraged to
semi-soliloquize rather than stage-semaphore
their dialogue, in the vain and earnest hope that
this will be more cinematic.
Comment, March 1985
Fiction:[JANET/MELUCHIE: Perhaps this quote could be a
sidebar instead of part of the main text?] In his book Children of
the Sun, Martin Green described two common
types of post-World War I Englandwhich
seem to describe the characters of Bennett and Judd,
respectively, as well as the real-life figures on which
is a type one often finds in conjunction with the
dandy-aesthete, even though he is the latters
opposite by ordinary criteria. The rogue is often coarse,
rough, brutal, and careless. He is like the dandy,
however, in his conscious enjoyment of his own style and
in his rebellion against mature and responsible morality.
Sexually he is as much the narcissist as the dandy is,
but typically the rogue is heterosexual and
the dandy homosexual. . . . There is an alliance between
the dandy-aesthete and the rogue-rebel in a common cause,
the cause of defying their fathers mode of
is a fictional story inspired by the lives of several
Bennett is Guy Burgess, diplomat, financial
consultant, broadcaster, spy and traitor, a colorful
figure in the England of the 1930s and 40s, whose
adventures inspired several of Evelyn Waughs
novels. Flamboyantly homosexual even during his
schooldays at Eton, he was fond of telling people that
his aversion to women stemmed from the experience of
having to extricate his mother out from under his father,
who, he claimed, had died in the act of copulation. His
homosexuality prevented him from being elected to
Pop, the self-elected prefectorial elite,
which was a serious disappointment to him. He was
trying very desperately to be one of the group,
recalled Christopher Isherwood. At Cambridge University,
he finally succeeded. After flirting with the reactionary
Pitt Club and the snobbish, predominantly gay Society of
Apostles (which has been called the most
influential and elitist network at Cambridge), he
fell in with a group of leftists, among them John
Cornford, Donald Maclean and Kim Philby, and joined the
Communist Party late in his final year. For most of the
next seventeen or eighteen years he spied officially for
Britain and covertly for the Soviet Union, finally
fleeing to Moscow in 1951 with his cohort Maclean. He
died in 1963, shortly after the defection of his other
Recommended: For an entertaining rather than a political
view of Guy Burgesss life as a defector in Russia,
see An Englishman Abroad starring Alan Bates
and directed by John Schlesinger, based on a real-life
encounter of the actress Coral Browne with Burgess.
Judd was inspired by the lives of Cornford and
Esmond Romilly, a couple of upper-class leftists.
Cornford, a grandson of Charles Darwin, was an intensely
idealistic and committed Marxist from his days at Stowe
School. At Cambridge, he became a leader of the Communist
movement, working tirelessly to recruit and organize new
members. Handsome and swarthy, with piercing dark eyes,
Cornford was the stuff of which heroes are made. He died
a martyrs death in the Spanish Civil War the day
after his twenty-first birthday. Romilly, a nephew of
Winston Churchill, was a rabble-rouser from his days at
Wellington, a public school with a strong military
orientation. In 1934, when he was 16, he ran away from
school and founded a radical magazine called Out of
Bounds, which he distributed to other public schools. He
refused to go to a university, but fought in the Spanish
Civil War, eloped with Jessica Mitford at the age of 17,
and moved to the United States. He was shot down over the
North Sea in 1941.
Do you think that photos of Burgess, Cornford and Romilly
would be a good idea here? I can tell you which
books contain good pics of them.]
The hidden group and the exclusive club were very much a
part of their education and their heritage. From the age
of eight, boys were separated from their families and
herded into preparatory and public schools, which became
a substitute for the family. The boys sought among
their contemporaries affection which they associated with
the school, Noel Annan wrote of Stowe, and
reciprocated by giving their hearts to the place.
From the self-electing Pop of gaudy prefects
at Eton who ran the college, through the innumerable
societies at Oxford and Cambridge, of which the Apostles
and the Communist cells were secret ones, through to the
London clubs and the Masonic lodges so powerful in the
world of business, an Englishman from the privileged
classes expected to achieve a male bonding exclusive of
others, even of his own peers, certainly of the other
The Red and the Blue: Cambridge,
Treason and Intelligence
Ratings from the Friends of Firth (10 is the maximum):
8 for film, 9.3 for acting, 9.1 for looks, and 7.8