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Operation Malaya (film)

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Duration  
Language  English
Director  David MacDonald
Country  United Kingdom
Operation Malaya (film) movie poster
Release date  August 1953 (UK) (Edinburgh Festival) 1955 (USA)
Writer  John Croydon, David MacDonald

Operation Malaya is a 1953 British documentary about the actions of British troops during the Malayan Emergency.

Contents

It was also known as Terror in the Jungle.

Plot

Scenes from the action of English troops against Communists in Malaya, focusing around the tracking down of a group of communist who killed a rubber planter. Scenes included:

  • Sir Gerald Templer thanking troops
  • a patrol of armoured cars ambushed by terrorists
  • Singapore
  • history of the communist insurrection
  • a journalist travels through Kuala Lumpur
  • a military patrol finds a communist camp
  • a look at a squatting community which is removed to a resttlement area
  • the role of the Malayan navy and air force.
  • Production

    David MacDonald had previously made a documentary movie about World War II, Desert Victory. He approached the Colonial Office for money to help make a similar movie about the Malayan Emergency but was refused by Sir Gerald Templar on the grounds it was a commercial venture. Instead MacDonald obtained commercial funding from Sir Alex Korda.

    The film mixed genuine documentary footage with dramatic re-enactments of real life incidents. The voices of professional actors were used, including Chips Rafferty. The film was shot partly in Merton Park Studios.

    Release

    The film debuted at the Edinburgh Festival but struggled to find commercial distribution in England. The Manchester Guardian called it "an honest-to-goodness attempt to describe the course of politico-military events in post-war Malaya" but "it often looks and sounds quite unnecessarily bogus." C. A. Lejeune of the Observer thought the film was less effective than David MacDonald's earlier Desert Victory because of all the "reconstructed school of documentary" scenes but did succeed as "a picture of hard work and good soldiering gradually overcoming the fears of the native population, the incredibly difficult terrain, and a relentless enemy shielded by the jungle."

    US release

    American rights to the film were bought by the American Releasing Corporation, the forerunner of American International Pictures in 1955. It was one of the first movies released by that company. Herman Cohen was credited as producer for this version.

    References

    Operation Malaya (film) Wikipedia
    Operation Malaya (film) IMDb


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