Revisitations

RSS
Joss Ackland and James Maxwell in Enemy at the Door (as Major-General Laidlaw and General-Major von Wittke, brothers-in-law planning treason to end WWII).   I love this scene, and it’s hard to explain exactly why, but I think it’s typical of EatD’s deliberately low-key, subtle approach - the characters are on opposite sides but under the very matter-of-fact plotting here are sharing their despair - they both feel that their lives are already over.

Laidlaw: Coup d’etat, is it?… Some would say treason when your country is at war…  They’ll hang you for what you do.
Wittke: And you, for that, would find no fault with them?
Laidlaw: I was a soldier.  Treason has a stench that curdles my stomach.
Wittke: Then have no doubt of me.  My duty is to beat your country to her knees.  If I must, so I will.  Where is the treason in that?
Laidlaw: You swore an oath, and there’s the treason!  You… and Beck and all the others, all the Generals, all the officer corps, you swore -
Wittke: By God, this holy oath that we would render unto Adolf Hitler supreme command-
Laidlaw: An Austrian corporal!
Wittke: We swore obedience without question.  God help us, we swore it.
Laidlaw: In God’s name, why?
Wittke: He was the destiny of Germany.  For good - or for evil.
Laidlaw.  And now you know. […]  Kill him, then.  Or is it not an office for Generals to kill in cold blood?


Regulars Major Freidel (Simon Lack) and Major Richter (Alfred Burke) step in to save them both from the Gestapo while pretending to everyone (including each other) that they have no idea what’s been going on.  At the end, Richter, speaks of Laidlaw, (and von Wittke) to Freidel: “He is an honourable man.  They are both honourable men.”

Joss Ackland and James Maxwell in Enemy at the Door (as Major-General Laidlaw and General-Major von Wittke, brothers-in-law planning treason to end WWII).   I love this scene, and it’s hard to explain exactly why, but I think it’s typical of EatD’s deliberately low-key, subtle approach - the characters are on opposite sides but under the very matter-of-fact plotting here are sharing their despair - they both feel that their lives are already over.

Laidlaw: Coup d’etat, is it?… Some would say treason when your country is at war…  They’ll hang you for what you do.

Wittke: And you, for that, would find no fault with them?

Laidlaw: I was a soldier.  Treason has a stench that curdles my stomach.

Wittke: Then have no doubt of me.  My duty is to beat your country to her knees.  If I must, so I will.  Where is the treason in that?

Laidlaw: You swore an oath, and there’s the treason!  You… and Beck and all the others, all the Generals, all the officer corps, you swore -

Wittke: By God, this holy oath that we would render unto Adolf Hitler supreme command-

Laidlaw: An Austrian corporal!

Wittke: We swore obedience without question.  God help us, we swore it.

Laidlaw: In God’s name, why?

Wittke: He was the destiny of Germany.  For good - or for evil.

Laidlaw.  And now you know. […]  Kill him, then.  Or is it not an office for Generals to kill in cold blood?

Regulars Major Freidel (Simon Lack) and Major Richter (Alfred Burke) step in to save them both from the Gestapo while pretending to everyone (including each other) that they have no idea what’s been going on.  At the end, Richter, speaks of Laidlaw, (and von Wittke) to Freidel: “He is an honourable man.  They are both honourable men.”