An Ungentlemanly Act (1992)




Director:     Stuart Urbin.

Starring:     Ian Richardson (His Excellency, Gov. Rex Hunt),  Rosemary Leach (Mavis Hunt),  Ian McNeice (Dick Baker),  James Warrior (Don Bonner),  Marc Warren (Tony Hunt),  Elizabeth Bradley (Nanny),  Kate Spiro (Connie Baker),  Hugh Ross (Maj. Garry Noott),  Bob Peck (Maj. Mike Norman),  Antonio Valero (Vice-Commodore Hector Gilobert),  Fulgencio Saturno (Vice-Adm. Carlos Busser).

Made for TV movie. 

British Royal Marines defend the Governor of the Falkland Islands


Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film. 

The Falkland Islands lie between the Argentine Republic to its west and South Georgia to its southeast.  There are two main islands, East Falkland to the west of Falkland Islands.  The port of Stanley is on the east coast of the Falklands Islands. 

"In 1833, Britain resurrected its claim to the Falkland Islands and sent Royal Marines to evict the Argentinean settlers.  Successive Argentinean governments swore to recover the territory."

A sign says:  "Port Stanley/Twinned with the Port of Whitby (N. Yorks)."  A woman walks a sheep on a leash down the road.  A man rides a horse. 

April 1st, 1982, 7:55 a.m.  "Stanley Golf Club."  A submarine monitors the shore where the golf club is.  Operation Rosary is confirmed for tonight.  People are going on about their daily business as usual. 

In South Georgia the patrol ship Endurance will put a party of Royal Marines ashore today to end the illegal presence of Argentine scrap metal workers.

Government House (GH).   His Excellency, Gov. Rex Hunt and his wife Mavis greet Major Mike Norman and hope he and his men will have a wonderful year on the Falklands.  Maj. Garry Noott and his men will be leaving the Falklands.  The Majors discus the military situation with Gov. Hunt.  They worry about the Argentines landing a force of men from a submarine.  There are only five men in their submarine reaction party.   

Mavis Hunt goes shopping. 

Argentine Airline Office, Stanley.  The Majors say they are doing a little spying.  An Argentinean named Hector, well-known on the island, comes out to talk with them.

News arrives that an Argentine Task Force will gather off Cape Pembroke early tomorrow morning, the second of April. Major Norman says he only has forces enough to defend one beach in Stanley.  The Majors suggest they take the Governor up into the hills because he would be a prime target for any Argentine snatch squad.  Rex Hunt won't go. 

Mavis back from shopping bolts into her living room to show her husband what she bought.  She is absolutely shocked to find the room full of gentlemen.  Rex tells her that he forgot to tell her, but he has to speak with members of the FIG (Falkland Islands Government).  Whitehall says the Argentines are being supplied good information on the islanders via an inside source.  The Governor talks about taking into custody all the Argentines on the islands.  Meanwhile, they are burning government documents out on the lawn.

Rex asks Dick Baker, his right hand man, if he could have Mavis and his son Tony stay at his place for awhile.  He is afraid that Mavis may want to go down with the ship, so to speak. 

The South Atlantic.  7:15 PM.  The Argentine navy is sailing to the Falkland Islands.  On board one of the ships the commanding officer Admiral Busser says that they are going to recover the Malvinas (Spanish word for the Falklands).  The soldiers and sailor give a big hurrah. 

Rex tells his wife what is happening and she is amazed.  She can't understand why the Argentines would bother over the Falklands/Malvinas.  Mavis is filled with resentment over all the out-of-the-way places her husband and she were posted.  And now, with her husband near retirement, they expect him to lead a battle.  Rex tries to calm her.  He says that this may even be his finest hour if he can keep his head. 

Rex goes on the radio and says that the Argentines are planning to invade the Falklands.  He calls up the Falkland Islands Defense Force.  Rex asks that everyone remain calm and stay indoors.  He may have to declare a state of emergency before dawn.  The problem is that neither he or his main aide Dick Baker know how to write a state of emergency statement.

Tony Hunt returns to Government House.  He wants to join the Falkland islands Defense Force. 

Rex Hunt calls in the three men of the press.  He wants a blow by blow account of what's happening to get out to the rest of the world.  He is afraid there are some in the British government who do not want the full story to be told. 

Major Norman tells his men that they will fight until the Governor orders them to stop or until they are overrun, which probably means dying.  He tells the men to think about death, but in combat forget about it.  The soldiers in the room are green berets, which means the best.  The Major says they will be fighting for themselves, to prove what royal means in the Royal Marines.  (The problem is that there are only 70 of them.)  Tony rides up on his motorcycle and volunteers to be a dispatch runner.  Major Norman says they don't have any dispatches. 

Rex tells his son Tony that his real job is to be at his mother's side.  The Governor receives a huge marine to be his personal bodyguard.  Mavis talks to the new Major.  She doesn't see the point in fighting over the Falklands.  The Major says the marines have to fight.  It's at their very core. 

Several miles south.  11:20 PM.  Advance platoon of Argentine commandos.  There is no opposition on the beach where they land.  A policeman passes by the beach, but doesn't see the commandos.  He proceeds ahead.  Tony escorts his mother from Government House.  Rex tells aide Don that he wants him to leave GH tonight.  He is not having him hurt this night.  Rex goes to bed.

Dick Baker is given the task of rounding up the Argentines on the islands.  They are going to put them in the Upland Goose Hotel. 

The Argentine commandos get the order to arrest the Governor.  Dick Baker just manage to lie down in his bed when the action starts.  They attack the Marine Barracks, but the barracks are empty.  The commandos, however, do get into GH through a back door.  The geese start making a ruckus which alerts the Brits.  They open fire on the commandos and quite a few are hit.  The commandos hit back hard and the fight is a tough one. 

A commando shouts to Gov.  Hunt that the Argentines have vastly superior numbers (which is not yet true) and it is time for him to surrender.  The fighting resumes.  The commandos start using their grenade launchers to launch a bunch of grenades into Government House. 

Some miles away. 6:32 AM.  Main Argentine landings begin.  Three Royal Marines at the beach have to get out of there in a hurry.  The Argentine commandos are depending upon the arrival of the main forces.  If they don't arrive soon, the commandos are in big trouble.  Five armored personnel carriers are on their way.  With better intelligence, they increase that numbers to from 12 to 18 APCs.  The Governor and the Major discuss their options at this point.  None of the options sound very good. 

Two helicopters fly overhead.  The APCs are approaching Stanley.   Hector, an Argentine with good relations with the British on the island, is asked to go with Dick Baker to discuss a cease fire with the Argentine commander, Admiral Busser.  The commandos are so happy when the APCs arrive at Government House.  The Argentine commander rendezvous with Dick and Hector at the church.  A ceasefire is called.  The Argentines take over the radio station and start broadcasting in Spanish. 

The Argentine commander meets with Governor Rex.   Rex won't shake hands with the commander.  The two men trade barbs about who has the best case for legitimacy over the islands.  Rex says he is asking for a truce, not to surrender.  The commander is not interested in a truce.  Rex finally gives in.  He turns his pistol over to the commander and tells his men to surrender their arms.  The commander thanks him.  Now they shake hands. 

The British soldiers surrender to the Argentines.  Mavis and Tony rush over to make sure the Governor is alright.  The Argentine commander tells the Governor that there was only one fatality and that was one of his best officers. The British flag comes down and the Argentine flag goes up.  The Argentines sing their National Anthem.  Their flag blows down and now the Falkland Islanders give a hurrah.  The Governor and his family pack up their things to leave the island.  Governor Hunt gets dressed in his fancy dress uniform to go out in style.  As they are driven to the airport the Falklanders line the streets and wave goodbye. 

"The Governor, his family and troops wee flown back to England, where Major Norman and his marines immediately volunteered for the Task Force." 

June 14, 1982.  Back up goes the British flag. 


Good movie.  It only presents a small part of the story of the dispute between Argentina and Britain over the Falkland Islands, namely the fight for Government House in Stanley.  It shows the reactions of the British to the growing suspicion that the Argentines are going to invade the islands and take over.  As would be thought, the islands are not prepared to resist an invasion.  The Governor is protected by only seventy Royal Marines.  The British acquitted themselves well under the circumstances.  There was a battle for Government House.  What amazed me that with so many shots fired there was only one fatality, an Argentinean commando officer. The acting was good all around.  I was getting impatient for the Argentineans to arrive, but that was not a big deal. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.


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