Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
Based on a true story about the execution of a psychopathic American G.I. by the U.S. Army in 1942, this wartime drama opens in Melbourne, Australia. U.S. forces and the Australians are at loggerheads, and this antagonism reaches a flash point when Edward J. Leonski (Reb Brown) is spotted running away from the scene of a brutal murder. That action sparks a gun battle between American and Aussie soldiers at a train station that makes it seem as if the two nations are at war with each other. U.S. Major Patrick Dannenberg (James Coburn) covers up the shooting incident and puts top priority on hunting down the killer. It is suggested that orders from the highest echelons of the U.S. military demanded the execution of the killer in order to preserve a working relationship with the Australians. Meanwhile, Aussie Detective Sgts. Adams (Bill Hunter) and Martin (Maurie Fields) are also looking for the murderer, hoping to bring him to justice in an Australian court of law. When Leonski's roommate belatedly turns him in, his attorney gets seriously ill and Major Dannenberg has to take over his defense. There is no doubt the man is mentally unbalanced, as witnessed by his behavior in Melbourne's bars and brothels in the first half of the movie. At the trial, Dannenberg unsuccessfully argues for his client's internment in an asylum for the criminally insane.
war, execution, investigation, killing, lawyer, maniac, murder, soldier