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Army Colonel William Edwards (Richard Widmark) is investigating the case of Major Harry Cargill (Richard Basehart), accused of collaborating with the enemy while he and his unit were held captive in a North Korean prisoner of war camp. Cargill willingly admits his guilt and brings forth evidence that proves that he signed a germ-warfare confession and broadcast anti-American speeches over the radio, seemingly an act of treason.It seems to be an open-and-shut case, were it not for Cargill's inexplicable refusal to defend himself. Arousing further suspicion is the fact that his collaboration immediately followed the deaths of two of his soldiers, and the unit's survivors all recite an identical, rehearsed account of those deaths. Edwards' commander, General Connors (Carl Benton Reid), has a strong personal interest -- his son, Captain Joe Connors (Yale Wexler), was one of those who died -- and presses Edwards to recommend a court-martial, but Edwards delves into the mystery, refusing to accept the facile explanations.In the end, the shocking truth comes out. Lieutenant George Miller (Rip Torn) reveals that after Lieutenant Harvey (Manning Ross) was killed trying to escape, the rest of the men discovered that, under torture, Captain Connors had betrayed him. Over Cargill's strong objections, they decided to execute Connors. Drawing the short straw, Miller had to strangle him. Meanwhile, their captor, Colonel Kim (Khigh Dhiegh), had given Cargill an ultimatum: give in, or all his men would be executed.General Connors calls his son a traitor. Cargill argues, stating that there must be a time limit on being a hero. He denounces the unwritten "code" espoused by General Connors for demanding too much from soldiers, but the general reminds him that while Cargill anguished over the lives and families of 16 men, that many commanders had to anguish over the effect of their orders on the lives and families of thousands.Edwards agrees with General Connors that although Cargill acted out of a humane selflessness, Cargill's judgment was flawed. He recommends that all charges be dropped, but warns Cargill that there will be a court-martial. Edwards himself will defend Cargill. Maybe they won't come up with all the answers, Edwards tells him, but "they'll know we asked the questions."
DVD : 2009-05-12