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Another Country

DVD Cover
Directed by Marek Kanievska
Produced by Alan Marshall
Written by Julian Mitchell
Starring Rupert Everett
Editing by Gerry Hambling
Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox
Release date(s) 1984
Running time 90 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Another Country is a 1984 film by Julian Mitchell adapted from his play of the same title. The film, directed by Marek Kanievska, stars Rupert Everett as Guy Bennett along with Colin Firth as Tommy Judd. Also starring are Michael Jenn (Barclay), Robert Addie (Delahay), Rupert Wainwright (Donald Devenish), Tristan Oliver (Fowler), Cary Elwes (James Harcourt), Piers Flint-Shipman (Jim Menzies) and Anna Massey (Imogen Bennett). Also present in three scenes as an extra without any dialogue is Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, who is the younger brother of Diana, Princess of Wales.



Another Country is loosely based on the life of the spy Guy Burgess, Guy Bennett in the play, and examines the effect his homosexuality and exposure to Marxism has on his life, and the hypocrisy and snobbery of the English public schools.

The setting is an 1930s Eton-esque public school, where Guy Bennett and Tommy Judd are friends because they are both outsiders in their own ways. Bennett is openly gay, while Judd is a Marxist.

One day a teacher walks in on Martineau (Philip Dupuy) and a boy from another house engaged in mutual masturbation. Martineau subsequently kills himself because of the shame of having been found, and chaos erupts as teachers and the senior students try their hardest to keep the scandal away from parents and the rest of the outside world. The gay scandal however gives the army-obsessed house captain Fowler, who dislikes both Bennett and Judd, a welcome reason to scheme against Bennett to keep him from becoming a "God" - a school name for the elite pupils of the school. Fowler is able to intercept a love letter from Bennett to James Harcourt. Bennett agrees to be punished so as not to compromise Harcourt. (On an earlier occasion he had simply blackmailed the other Gods for their own "experiences" with him.)

Meanwhile, Judd is reluctant to become a prefect, since he feels that he cannot endorse a "system of oppression" such as this, and has a memorable, bitter speech about how the boys oppressed by the system grow up to be the fathers who maintain it. He however eventually agrees to become a prefect in order to prevent the hateful Fowler from becoming Head of House. This never comes about, however, because Devenish agrees to stay at school and become a prefect if he is nominated to become a god instead of Bennett.

Devastated at the loss of his cherished dream of becoming a god Bennett comes to realize that the British class system strongly relies on outward appearance and that to be openly gay is a severe hindrance to a career as a diplomat. The epilogue of the movie states that he emigrated to Russia later in his life, after having been a spy for the Soviet Union. Judd has died fighting in the Spanish Civil War.



The title refers not only to communist Russia, which is the "other country" Bennett turns to in the end, but it can be seen to take on a number of different meanings and connotations. It could be a reference to the first line of the second (or third, depending on the version) stanza of the hymn I Vow to Thee, My Country, which is sung in both the play and film, as well as referring to the fact that English public school life in the 1930s was indeed very much like "another country".

Another Country is also the title of a novel by James Baldwin, which includes gay and bisexual characters.

The Go-Between is a novel by L.P. Hartley (1895 – 1972), published in London in 1953. The novel begins with the famous line:

"The past is a foreign country (often misquoted as 'another country')...: they do things differently there."

The most direct reference is to several well known lines from British literature, originating from Christopher Marlow's play The Jew of Malta

Friar Barnadine: "Thou hast committed--"
Barabas: "Fornication-- but that was in another country; / And besides, the wench is dead."

Here "the wench" may refer to Martineau. Most of the students are more interested in covering up a potential scandal than worrying about the actual death. If so, the "adultery" may refer to what is done to Martineau and perhaps all students by the school, rather than his actual sexual liaisons.


The film was entered into the 1984 Cannes Film Festival where it won the award for Best Artistic Contribution.[1]

See also


Further reading

  • Mitchell, Julian (1982). Another Country: A Drama (First edition ed.). New York: French. ISBN 0573640408.  

External links

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