Friday, December 10, 2010

True Story: Three Came Home (1950).

Three Came Home(1950,) is a wartime film based on the memoirs of the same name by writer Agnes Newton Keith. Produced by Nunnally Johnson, directed by Jean Negulesco. Cast: Claudette Colbert, Patric Knowles, Florence Desmond, Sessue Hayakawa, Sylvia Andrew, Mark Keuning, Phyllis Morris and Howard Chuman.

American-born Agnes Keith and her British husband live a very happy life in North Borneo with their young son in 1942. Until the Japanese invasion, they are taken to separate prison camps, one for men, the other for women and children.

Living with brutality under the control of the camp commander Lieutenant-Colonel Suga. The Lieutenant takes a liking to Mrs Keith because of her work with his people. He is also kind to the children even though his own family was killed in Hiroshima.

This is a wonderful/powerful film, if you can look past Claudette Colbert's perfect hairdo, while living in a prison camp. Other films may look more realistic, but... the ending is one of the most moving you will ever see.

Fun Facts:

It was while filming this movie that Claudette Colbert hurt her back injury forcing her to give up the part of Margo Channing in, All About Eve (1950) to Bette Davis.

This film's opening prologue states: "This is a true story. Exterior scenes were photographed whenever possible in Borneo, in the exact locales associated with the events as related by Mrs. Keith."

This film was considered by this film's lead actress Claudette Colbert's as one of her best films by her. After filming was complete, Colbert said to this film's director Jean Negulesco: "You know I'm not given to exaggeration, so I hope you believe me when I say that working with you has been the most stimulating and happiest experience of my entire career."

Cameo: Agnes Newton Keith Agnes Newton Keith (1901–1982).

The novelist of whose book this film is based as an English Woman. Keith can be seen in one scene in a process shot standing behind Claudette Colbert who plays her in this film.

The scene has Colbert walking along a pier to the Berhala Camp alongside another woman.

Sessue Hayakawa (June 10, 1889 – November 23, 1973). Hayakawa was the first and one of the few Asian actors to find stardom in the United States as well as Europe.

Between the mid-1910s and the late 1920s, he was as well known as actors Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks.

He starred in over 80 movies.

His international stardom transitioned both silent films and talkies.

Of his English-language films, Hayakawa is probably best known for his role in the film, The Bridge on the River Kwai, for which he received a nomination for Academy Award Best Supporting Actor in 1957.

In addition to his film acting career, Hayakawa was a theatre actor, film and theatre producer, film director, screenwriter, novelist, martial artist, and an ordained Zen master


  1. Wonderful article about a great movie, Dawn. It is hard to watch, but should be seen more often, especially by younger people who know little about World War II. I remember my Dad had a hard time with movies like this, because he fought in the Japanese theatre of war as a gunner in the Army Air Corps. But he thought it was important for people to know and remember what went on during that terrible war, and he introduced me to several of the best. You put in some interesting facts, too. Loved it, Dawn.

  2. Becky, Thank you. I have only seen the movie twice and each time I see something different. I also believe that it is one of Claudette Colbert's best performances. I highly recommend this film.

  3. The book was my mother's favorite book which translated in Japanese.She(1904~ 2003)lost her beloved son in North Borneo who died of starvation as a straggler at his age of 21 in 1946.


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