Freshly arrived Sandhurst-trained Captain Alan King, better versed in Pashtun then any of the veterans and born locally as army brat, survives an attack on his escort to his Northwest Frontier province garrison near the Khyber pass because of Ahmed, a native Afridi deserter from the Muslim fanatic rebel Karram Khan's forces. As soon as his fellow officers learn his mother was a native Muslim which got his parents disowned even by their own families, he falls prey to stubborn prejudiced discrimination, Lieutenant Geoffrey Heath even moves out of their quarters, except from half-Irish Lt. Ben Baird. Brigadier general J. R. Maitland, whose policy is full equality among whites, learns King knew Kurrum Khan as a boy and charges him with training and commanding native cavalry, which comes along fine. The general's egalitarian daughter Susan Maitland takes a fancy to King, even falls in love but the general decides to send her safely home to England after a kidnapped attempt when King saved ... Written by
Quite a few of those machine-tooled early CinemaScope productions from Twentieth Century Fox seem to be consigned to the dustbins of the memories of those of us who had the good fortune to see them in their full widescreen ratio with a magnetic stereophonic soundtrack during their initial release.
This one, directed with unusual energy by that Hollywood veteran, Henry King; lensed by that master of the color cameras, Leon Shamroy; and graced with a suitably sweeping score by Bernard Herrmann, looks like its lost in the archives where, let us hope, the master negative survives until the day that keepers of the Twentieth vaults come to their senses and favor us with a DVD release in the original (not reduced to anything less, please!) widescreen anamorphic format.
Terry Moore, who enjoyed a brief run as one of Fox's oft-used ingenues (and ladies of somewhat easier virtue, as in "Peyton Place") did seem a bit miscast, but Tyrone Power, Michael Rennie and well-chosen supporting players outshone her shortcomings. I recall that TIME magazine gave this quite a positive review and I remember that its use of mountainous California locations were quite convincing as a substitute for sending a company (or just a second unit) all the way to India's probably less hospitable subcontinent.
15 of 21 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?