Savage Christmas: Hong Kong 1941

Savage Christmas: Hong Kong 1941

| 1 h 44 min

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This film is part of the Valour and the Horror series, three controversial films on Canadian involvement in World War II. In the autumn of 1941, nearly 2,000 inexperienced Canadian soldiers were sent to Hong Kong at the request of the British government as a symbolic show of strength that would deter a Japanese attack on the colony. Canada's soldiers found themselves in the midst of a desperate battle they could not hope to win. On Christmas Day, 1941, the British colony of Hong Kong officially surrendered to Japan. The surviving defenders became prisoners of war. Over the next three and a half years, many of them would come to envy the dead.

This film deals with mature subject matter. Viewer discretion is advised

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Savage Christmas: Hong Kong 1941, Brian McKenna, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

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  • director
    Brian McKenna
  • producer
    Arnie Gelbart
    André Lamy
    Adam Symansky
    Darce Fardy
  • associate producer
    D'Arcy O'Connor
  • script
    Terence McKenna
    Brian McKenna
  • cinematography
    Neville Ottey
  • line producer
    Mary Armstrong
  • sound
    Ian Challis
  • editing
    Alfonso Peccia
  • sound editing
    Les Halman
    Don Ayer
  • re-recording
    Jean-Pierre Joutel
  • narrator
    Terence McKenna
  • cast
    Andrew Tarbitt
    Jean-Michel Henry
    Randy Hughson
    David Hewlett
    Keibo Oiwa
    Greg Spottiswoode
    Paul-Augustin Querton
    Brooke Johnson
    Martin Julien
    Andrew Miller

  • vren55

    I can appreciate the techniques that went into this documentary to the point I can say that it's fairly well-directed for it's time and it's narration is particularly provoking. Unfortunately, it's a bit sad that the documentary gets a lot wrong, and it's actually unsurprising in hindsight why this series became the focus of so much controversy. Full details can be found in "The Valor and the Horror Revisited" by Historians David Bercuson and S.F. Wise, but to quote these two historians of Canadian military history, British didn't send the Canadians to death. They genuinely believed there would be no war (even if they believed Hong Kong would fall) and that they can deter them diplomatically and through the presence of the Canadians as a deterrent force. The British did screw up as that clearly didn't work and they realized this too late, but they didn't lie to the soldiers or manipulate them. Were they militarily incompetent and heavily underestimated the Japanese, of course, but that's different from saying that the Canadians were purposely sacrificed by the British to the Japanese.

    vren55, 4 Jun 2016
  • Sgtjarrod1941

    Great movie, I learned more about my great uncle in the internment camp and the how they suffered. Oh and Josh lee maybe you should keep your opinions to your self. P.s Josh, the british soldier gave the advice to the canadian soldier.

    Sgtjarrod1941, 19 Dec 2012
  • Harrison

    Discrimination was is cold hard truth for Asiatic immigrants (especially those Canadians of Japanese descent during World War I). Yet this mistreatment at home was nothing compared to the cruelty Japan unleashed upon her Asian neighbors during the thirties and into World War II. I'm willing to admit that I've had racist thoughts ,which I continue to combat and will do so for the rest of my life. But I have a little saying when it comes to people like JoshLee"- "A victim is never wrong." Are you a victim, Josh? You seem to embrace with glee the idea of Canadian soldiers suffering while in Japanese captivity. I'm also sure that you're someone who denounced the use of two nuclear bombs. The use of this weapon is something I disagree with, but the alternate solution wold have been to fight a final, savage invasion. A battle that would have done more damage to Japan than Little Boy and Fat Man did. It was horrible, but since no one in Japan wants to own-up to it's responsibility in acknowledging it's own cruelty, it makes it hard for me to take you or others like yourself seriously. It's 2012 now. The battles were fought. Many civilians perished in that era of "total war". Can't you find anything better to do with your time, such as exploring both sides of the story? .

    Harrison, 18 Apr 2012
  • BradK

    And what would you know about it Junior???? Didn't like the guy who sold you your Ipod? Be careful about how you speak about the HK veterans for they went through more than you'll ever encounter. I would love to carry the burden that my ancestors did as well being a second generation Canadian but you should probably think about continuing on with your life rather than fighting your ancestor's war........

    BradK, 2 Jun 2011
  • JoshLee

    IIts not very nice to be treated like human trash by another race isn't it? Maybe those Canadian POWs that survived the ordeal walked away with a new perspective about how they treat orientals in Canada. Hell they even treated the Chinese in Hong Kong like crap, nothing like tasting your own medicine, bet they didn't like it.

    JoshLee, 16 Feb 2011
  • hongkong

    a great record of events, recording the bravery of those involved, a question, where was the location of the Stream, the resting place of the atrocity, discovered 1945. would like to know!

    hongkong, 11 Sep 2010
  • raphael68

    A very touching movie, which encourages me to be absolute pacifist.

    raphael68, 6 Mar 2010

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