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Colonel Loring Leigh, British Indian Army, appears to have issued an order that cost 90 lives. Cashiered, he returns home, tells his sons of a conspiracy by an arms syndicate to supply the rebels...then is found dead, an apparent suicide. To clear their father, the four sons must globetrot in a hazardous search for evidence, closely followed by Geoffrey's sweetheart Lynn Cherrington. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
It will take FOUR MEN AND A PRAYER to save an old colonel's reputation from disgrace.
Although its complicated plot is faintly ludicrous, this John Ford film offers plenty of action and some good acting to keep its viewers entertained. The production value is of a high order and there's a generous amount of heroics, which almost makes one forget that there's no really despicable villain to hiss.
Barrister George Sanders, diplomat Richard Greene, military pilot David Niven, and Oxford student William Henry are the English brothers who unite to find their father's murderer and clear his good name. All do a fine job with what the script gives them, constantly dashing about and acting terribly energetic, with young Henry more than keeping up with his three better known costars. Greene actually has top billing, but Niven gets the best lines, getting to leaven a good deal of humor into his performance.
Lovely Loretta Young does not fare so well. She's given the ridiculous role of a silly rich girl in love with Greene who follows him first from America to England, then on to Argentina and Egypt. Even witnessing a hideous massacre doesn't entirely sober her, as she begins to behave like a junior league Mata Hari to uncover information for the preternaturally patient Greene. One usually expects more than this from John Ford's heroines.
The rest of the large cast offers able support, however. Wonderful old Sir C. Aubrey Smith graces his brief role as the men's tragic father. Stalwart Reginald Denny plays a captain with too much information for his own good. Affable Alan Hale has fun with his role as a millionaire arms dealer. J. Edward Bromberg is a squalid little South American general and, in a tiny role, John Carradine plays his suave & dangerous enemy. Blustery Berton Churchill plays the powerful tycoon father of Miss Young's character, while bantam Barry Fitzgerald steals his few moments of screen time as a boisterous little Irishman ready for a good fight.
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