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The Four Feathers (1939)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 3,890 users  
Reviews: 62 user | 35 critic

A British army officer who resigns his commission on the eve of his unit's embarkation to a mission against Egyptian rebels seeks to redeem his cowardice by secretly aiding his former ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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A 'coward' resigns his commission and poses as an Arab to save his former comrades.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Clements ...
...
...
...
Allan Jeayes ...
Jack Allen ...
Donald Gray ...
Frederick Culley ...
Clive Baxter ...
Robert Rendel ...
Colonel
Archibald Batty ...
Adjutant
Derek Elphinstone ...
Lieutenant Parker
Hal Walters ...
Joe
Norman Pierce ...
Sergeant Brown
Henry Oscar ...
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Storyline

A British army officer who resigns his commission on the eve of his unit's embarkation to a mission against Egyptian rebels seeks to redeem his cowardice by secretly aiding his former comrades disguised as an Arab. When his unit is overwhelmed and captured by the rebels, the hero finds an opportunity to return the 'feathers' of cowardice sent to him by his former comrades by freeing them. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Real Adventure! Real Life in the Raw! (from re-release print ad) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 August 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Las cuatro plumas  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Storm Over the Nile (1955) reuses a lot of the battle sequences. See more »

Goofs

When Willoughby comments to the others about the dervishes cutting off noses, his hands are behind his back, and then on the back of a chair. See more »

Quotes

Harry Faversham: I *am* a coward, Doctor. If I'd been anything but a soldier I might have lived my whole life and concealed it. But to be a soldier *and* a coward is to be an impostor, a menace to the men whose lives are in your hands.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: In 1885 the rebellious army of cruel dervishes enslaved and killed many thousands of defenceless natives in the Sudan, then laid siege to Khartoum. The scanty garrison's heroic commander, General Gordon appealed for help from England - but no help reached him. See more »

Connections

Featured in Dad's Army: The Two and a Half Feathers (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

The British Grenadiers
(uncredited)
Traditional
Heard during the departure of the second lot of troops
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Britain Beats Hollywood At Its Own Game
28 July 2005 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

It's ridiculous that movies like THE FULL MONTY and 28 DAYS LATER that have a British producer , director and screenwriter that were filmed entirely in Britain with an entirely British cast are not classed " British " simply because they were made by American studios . Somewhat ironic then that one of greatest British - And I mean truly British -films owes so much to the Korda brothers who came to this country from Hungary while the man responsible for the breath taking colour cinematography was from France

But I'm not going to be internationalist about THE FOUR FEATHERS because this is a movie that makes you proud to be British , something that is sadly no longer allowed to happen these days . Perhaps the most stirring thing I can say about this movie is the way it wipes the floor with the contemporary competition that was coming out of Hollywood at the time . While the American studio were making similar monochrome movies with Errol Flynn and David Niven as the leads Ralph Richardson's performance alone is a reason to watch this movie and even if it wasn't there's still the story itself featuring themes like courage , honour , romance and redemption . You want battle scenes ? There's several in this movie as well choreographed as any thing seen in cinema at this time but perhaps the most what sets this British movie apart from other movies that were being produced across the pond is that it's a bit more gritty and sadistic than what Hollywood was producing . In one scene a British officer is flogged like a dog and he screams in pain as the camera pans on to the Mufti's face , a face lit up in sadistic glee , then the scene cross fades into a crowded dungeon where the prisoners are kept , a dark hell hole where the audience can actually taste the pain , fear and misery from the unfortunate prisoners . Even in those days Hollywood would pull their punches while a film like THE FOUR FEATHERSwould not

Sadly THE FOUR FEATHERS was released in 1939 which meant it qualified for the legendary Oscar ceremony the following year when GONE WITH THE WIND swept the board . A great pity because this very British movie deserved a hat full of awards . Sadly too Britain no longer has a film industry of its own and is reliant upon American finance , but perhaps the saddest thing is even if we did have a film industry no one in the business would want to film such an exciting historical epic in case they were labeled reactionary or racist


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