5 JULY 1963, Page 7

Nissen Huts and Madrigals John Hersey's splendid novel The War

Lover has now been made into a passable film, two scenes of which were shot against the background of King's College, Cambridge. The college is seen at its most elegant and complacent, and there are madrigals going at full flood. Sup- posed time: 1943. This is the sort of thing which makes wars appear in retrospect a good deal more tolerable than they were. The producer, of course, could hardly be expected to re-create King's as it actually was in '43; but it might be salutary to remind ourselves that this gracious scene was at that time much encumbered with Nissen huts, protective boarding, and discon- tented young men in RAF uniform who didn't care much about madrigals.