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When Clive Randolph finally returns "home" from Gold Coast colony, younger brother John balks at following the family Colonial Service tradition. But back in Gold Coast, one Zurof, nominally studying ants, pursues a hidden political agenda that causes worldwide unrest; the Colonial Office persuades both brothers to go back and deal with it. Young John makes a mess of things, then must save the day on his own. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
THE SUN NEVER SETS on the British Empire, which now must confront the menace of a millionaire madman broadcasting vile invective from a secret radio station somewhere in Africa.
Here is an adventure story which asks unusually serious questions about duty & devotion, both to one's family & to one's country. The moralizing & heart searching is never allowed to throw the film off target, however. It simply gives it some extra depth.
Basil Rathbone & Douglas Fairbanks Jr are well cast as two brothers who must face tough inner stresses, while attempting to fulfill their duties for the Colonial Office in the British Gold Coast - given the task to stop the lying lunatic only adds to their tribulations. It is good to see Rathbone in a heroic role; with his excellent voice & patrician profile he fills it quite nicely. As his younger sibling, Fairbanks displays conflicted motives for his behavior, but the plot helps him resolve the problems of where his duty lies.
As Rathbone's wife, Barbara O'Neil has some good scenes as a diplomatic spouse who loathes Africa & longs for England. However Mary Forbes, as the boys' mother, is largely wasted in a modest role that calls for little beyond looking noble.
Wonderful old Sir C. Aubrey Smith is terrific as the family patriarch who is the epitome of duty; here is an actor who never disappointed and seemed incapable of giving a bad performance. Special mention should also be made of Lionel Atwill, adding yet another portrait to his gallery of grotesques, this time as an entomologist traveling about the African bush in a luxurious land yacht, studying ants & spouting the most frightful nonsense about disrupting human society. Because of the sort of roles he performed it is too easy to forget what an excellent & entertaining actor Atwill was.
Melville Cooper, as a loyal Gold Coast functionary, & Cecil Kellaway, as the head of the Colonial Office - both very enjoyable actors - help to flesh out important smaller roles.
Movie mavens should recognize an uncredited Lionel Belmore, hilarious as a Selection Board member questioning Fairbanks about mad dogs.
The film's biggest debit is the lack of an explanation as to how Atwill's broadcasts could possibly spread riot & ruination around the world. But this is a small quibble...
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