The Affair (1995)

Film details

Synopsis

Story about a platoon of black GIs in England during World War II, the racism they have to put up with from white GIs and tragic consequences that arise from relationships between some black soldiers and local village women. In particular, an affair between Travis and white English housewife Maggie. Travis meets Maggie at a dance organised to welcome the soldiers, and they begin by enjoying conversations with each other and liking each others company. Maggie is slightly estranged from her husband, who is in the Navy, after learning of a recent affair he had with his secretary. She and Travis become more closely involved, and in spite of initial attempts not to start an affair, they soon become lovers. Maggie's husband Edward returns unexpectedly, and pretending to be unwell, she leaves him and her parents-in-law to return home early, running to meet Travis. She wants to end their affair and they make love for the last time. However, she has been out too long and her husband, worried at her absence, sets out to find her. He encounters her and Travis in the act of love-making and immediately jumps to the conclusion that she is being raped. He attacks Travis and goes to the Police station with Maggie, reporting a rape. She is too stunned to contradict him, and Travis is arrested. Edward begins to suspect the truth, but when Maggie tells him there was no rape, he blackmails her into supporting his report at the Police station. He threatens her with sueing for divorce due to adultery and the loss of her son, as a court would deem her an unfit mother. He persuades her that it would only mean a few months imprisonment for Travis and at the court-martial she, Edward and her friend Esther all lie about there being a long-term affair between Travis and Maggie. When she realises that it is actually a hanging matter if he is found guilty she rushes back to find the court martial over. She goes to the Colonel in charge and the platoon's Commanding Officer to withdraw her statement and tell the truth. Her husband slyly has a word with the Colonel, who is a racist, and pretends that his wife is just hysterical and there is no truth to her confession. The Colonel decides to ignore Maggie's new statement, even though he recognises it is the truth, and does nothing. Travis is therefore hung, although he realises that Maggie was being forced into testifying against him. When Maggie receives a letter from the authorities telling her that Travis is dead she is devastated.

Cast & Credits

Latest from the BFI

  • Latest from the BFI

    Latest news, features and opinion.

More information

Films, TV and people

  • Films, TV and people

    Film lists and highlights from BFI Player.

More information

Sight & Sound magazine

  • Sight & Sound magazine

    Reviews, interviews and features from the international film magazine.

More information

Back to the top