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Balaclava (1928)

A British officer is falsely accused of murder by a rival officer, and is dishonorably discharged from the army. He rejoins as an enlisted man and is posted as a cavalryman to the siege of ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cyril McLaglen ...
Alf Goddard ...
Capt. Gardner
J. Fisher White ...
Henry Mollison ...
Prisoner's Friend
Betty Bolton ...
Robert Holmes ...
Father Nikolai
Harold Huth ...
Wally Patch ...
Trooper Strang (as Walt Patch)
H. St. Barbe West ...
Boris Ranevsky ...
Wallace Bosco ...
Ros Ranevsky
Marian Drada ...


A British officer is falsely accused of murder by a rival officer, and is dishonorably discharged from the army. He rejoins as an enlisted man and is posted as a cavalryman to the siege of Sebastopol during the Crimean War. He discovers that there is a Russian spy masquerading as a British soldier, and his efforts to unmask the spy results in the famous Charge of the Light Brigade to take the Balaclava Heights. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War





Release Date:

30 December 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jaws of Hell  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

| (RCA Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film was originally shot as a silent by Maurice Elvey, but much of it was re-shot as a talkie by Milton Rosmer. See more »


Featured in Cinema Europe: The Other Hollywood (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

One less belle to lancer
25 July 2004 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

Even though I've written some historical fiction, I really dislike stories which place fictional characters at the centre of genuine historical events. The hundreds of real people who actually died aboard the Titanic are reduced to dress-extras for a tragic romance between fictional lovers. The hundreds of soldiers who died needlessly at Gallipoli are merely a backdrop for two fictional buddies. Sorry, but I prefer to think about the real people who made real sacrifices in these real moments of history.

This movie is titled 'Balaclava', so every English schoolboy knows that the climax of this film will be the charge of the Light Brigade. Cyril McLaglen stars as Lieutenant Gardner, a hussar in the Crimean War. (McLaglen cuts a fine figure in his cavalry uniform.) Miles Mander is the sadistic captain of the regiment. Outraged by how Mander mistreats his adjutant, McLaglen challenges him to a duel. As Mander is the challenged party, it falls to him to choose the weapons: pistols at ten paces. Neither duellist knows that the abused adjutant is lurking in the shrubbery with a pistol of his own. McLaglen takes care to fire wide - this is a matter of honour, not blood - yet the captain falls dead anyway, shot by the adjutant at the precise moment that McLaglen fired.

McLaglen is blamed for the captain's murder ... but it can't be proved, so he is merely cashiered from the army. Undaunted, the ex-hussar now changes his name and enlists as a dragoon ... in the Light Brigade! Despite the fact that he has no verifiable background, he obtains an officer's commission with astonishing ease. Fade out, fade in, and now both of McLaglen's regiments - his former hussars and his current dragoons - are riding towards their destiny at Balaclava.

Oh, the history books forgot to mention that there was a house in the middle of the 'valley of death'. The Russian and British regiments converge upon a quaint little cottage in the North Valley, where the Light Brigade are just about to charge. Gobsmackingly enough, the house is inhabited by a dainty English rose, played very badly by Benita Hume. Of course, she and McLaglen fall in love. Oh, blimey! Pass the cartridges!

SPOILERS COMING. McLaglen participates in the Charge of the Light Brigade, and manages to survive. Severely wounded in the action is the hussar adjutant, who now makes a deathbed confession. McLaglen is cleared of Mander's murder.

Who bloody cares? This movie is rubbish. I resent that the real story of the Charge of the Light Brigade is used as a backdrop for this mellerdrammer. Also, frankly, the Charge of the Light Brigade was hardly Britain's finest hour. It is now reckoned as one of the worst blunders in military history. Even if this film had depicted these events honestly, none of the people on screen would be covered in glory ... except perhaps for the Russian artillery units.

I like Cyril McLaglen -- Victor's less talented younger brother, who played similar roles and so was doomed always to be second fiddle to Victor -- but this movie is quite dire. Matters are not helped by the fact that Benita Hume was neither particularly beautiful nor especially talented in her performance here as a Raglan sweater girl. The last thing the story of Balaclava needs is a Mills & Boon romance bunged into it. I'll rate this movie just 2 points out of 10.

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