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Fictional version of historical charge is highly entertaining...
As usual, Warner Bros. bent historical facts to provide ERROL FLYNN with some noble heroics in epics like this one and THEY DIED WITH THEIR BOOTS ON. And as in BOOTS, it takes quite a bit of fictional footage to get to the climactic charge, but it's well worth waiting for.
Flynn has a role tailor-made to his specifications, the noble hero who looks even more splendid than ever wearing a trim mustache and military uniform. The script, in a twist, has his brother (PATRIC KNOWLES), who looks enough like Flynn to be his real brother, winning over the heart of the heroine (OLIVIA de HAVILLAND) at a military outpost in India. Flynn, as Major Vickers, decides to avenge the massacre of British women and children at the fort, thus forging the orders that lead to the famous charge.
All of it is strictly meant to entertain, offering political background of a confusing sort to give an idea of the events surrounding the charge. While all of it has been falsified for the sake of providing a screenplay that makes Flynn the noblest of heroes, there is no denying the epic sweep of the derring do and romance.
Flynn and screen partner de Havilland make a handsome couple and they are supported by a fine bunch of actors from Hollywood's British film colony, notably Patric Knowles, David Niven and Donald Crisp. Max Steiner has provided one of his best military background scores that gives added dimension to the exciting battle scenes.
For Flynn fans, this is a must see. For anyone expecting to see an historical account of the Charge, better tune in to the History Channel for that sort of stuff. But as entertainment, CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE delivers the goods and should make Flynn and de Havilland fans happy.
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