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In the mid-1700's the East India Company has power over commerce on the sub-continent, with the blessings of the British government. A clerk in the company, Robert Clive, is frustrated by his lack of advancement, and transfers to the military arm of the company, where he excels. Clive's leadership and gift for manipulation strengthen England's hold over India and lead to personal wealth, which is often threatened by the enemies he makes along the way. Written by
Ron Kerrigan <email@example.com>
Robert Clive was an 18th century Lawrence Of Arabia, a man completely convinced he had a destiny and was fanatical in pursuing it. He went to India as so many did from Great Britain to seek fame and fortune. You recall young Lieutenant Lawrence in Lawrence Of Arabia toiling away at some desultory job in Alexandria when he's given an assignment to seek out Prince Faisal. It was his destiny calling and Peter O'Toole ran with it.
Something very much like that happens to Robert Clive as played by Ronald Colman here. Convinced he has a destiny like Lawrence did, Clive leaves the British East India company clerk job and joins the army where like Ulysses S. Grant he has a talent for war.
War is what he makes and by the end of his career the French who also had imperial ambitions were chased out of India and it was British for almost 200 years. Clive wanted India to be a crown colony, but it was run by the British East India Company who not under any law and away from the monarchy's writ were quite a corrupt outfit. The Indians never got over it.
Colman brings out the fanaticism in Clive. Usually the self assured polished English gentlemen, Colman adds on that with Clive being the self assured man of destiny, but also terribly worried that destiny will pass him by. After the story of this film is concluded, Clive died by his own hand in 1774 pretty much forgotten by the British public who worshipped him at one time.
This film has not been available for years. I'm glad I finally got to see it.
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