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The 41st Bengal Lancers are stationed on the Northwest Frontier of British India, guarding against Afridi invaders led by wily Mohammed Khan. Experienced (though insubordinate) Lieut. McGregor is joined by two new arrivals, haughty Forsythe and callow Donald Stone...son of the commanding colonel. We follow the three through varied adventures and hardships. Will they uphold the honor of the regiment? Will Stone and the Colonel come to terms with their difficult relationship? Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I picked this little beauty up simply because of Gary Cooper and the subject matter. Having loved Gunga Din, this seemed like a good choice. Cooper as Macgregor, the top billed hero of the piece gives a strong, warm and wry performance. The stand-out surprise of the piece though, is that he is up-staged at nearly every turn by Franchot Tone. The banter between the two is great and takes full advantage of the witty and cynical dialogue. Young Richard Cromwell on the other hand makes very little impression until the final scenes of the picture. The British institution that is C. Aubrey Smith, makes a wonderful patriotic speech from under his formidably bristling eyebrows that brings the house down.
The story-line is pretty standard stuff, three heroes in the face of overwhelming odds fight to uphold British dominance on the Indian Frontier. The strength of the film lies in the characterizations of the leads and the incredible settings and action sequences. A good deal of first rate horsemanship is also in evidence as we are treated to a full Lancer charge and scenes of tent pegging and pig sticking. The final battle is a glorious and exciting sequence that modern film makers would learn a great deal from. The script does have its goofy moments in the later torture sequences as we are treated to lines like "We have ways of making men talk" and are shown the old bamboo under the fingernails bit, but even the cliches seem fitting.
If grand adventure with an emphasis on style is your idea of a good time, you'd be hard put to find a better example than this film!
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