The downward spiral of the quality of films Paulette Goddard appeared in in the 1950's would cause a gravitational blackout to anyone viewing them in a single day, but with some of the ...
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The downward spiral of the quality of films Paulette Goddard appeared in in the 1950's would cause a gravitational blackout to anyone viewing them in a single day, but with some of the all-time great schlock names serving as the producers---Sam Katzman, the Danziger brothers, Albert Zugsmith and---gasp---Sigmund Neufeld--- the results easily met the low expectations. This one is set during the time of the Crimean War and the efforts of the Allies to take the Russian naval base at Sebastopol. Jean Pierre Aumont and Richard Stapley are guardians of a new cannon that can pierce the walls of the Russian fortress, and also rivals for the favors of nurse Karin Booth who, as it turns out, is a Russian spy. Not a spoiler...somebody had to be. The Russians kidnap Stapley (in his pre-Richard Wyler days)to learn from him the secret of the new cannon. Aumont is assigned to rescue him. Oh, okay he says and sets out. On the way he encounters a gypsy family that includes Paulette Goddard as a ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Here's yet another collaboration between director William Castle and producer Sam Katzman with the end results being just about the same as their other work together. This time out they tackle the Crimean War as a French officer (Jean-Pierre Aumont) uses the help of a gypsy (Paulette Goddard) to get him into Russia to make sure a captured Major (Richard Wyler) hasn't given away the plans of their secret canon. Along the way there are various subplots dealing with comedy and love. CHARGE OF THE LANCERS might have seemed like a good idea on paper but sometimes films just don't come off as planned. I think Castle and Katzman could make some terrific "B" movies and I personally love those low-budget movies. The problem is that the horror, noir and Western genres could really benefit from a low-budget but that's not the case when you try to do a historical drama on such a small scale. I'm not going to lie and say the production values here are as low or poor as something you'd expect to see from Monogram but at the same time it's just so obvious that the film can't be what it wants to be because there's no money to put into it. Yes, some of the costumes look good and yes we get a couple good battle scenes but sadly the screenplay is just one long dialogue piece after another and the majority of the time the talk leads us nowhere except to boredom. One thing Castle could never do was comedy and that's apparent here as well. There are several little comic relief moments but they all fall flat on their face and come off more embarrassing than anything. The actors have certainly seen better days and I lost count of how many different accents one could heard throughout the film. Both Aumont and Wyler are a tad bit too bland in their roles and poor Goddard really seems to only be collecting a paycheck. Castle handles the material about as well as you can but the final battle sequence is pretty much a mess. This one here is certainly only recommended to those who must see everything the director did before meeting Vincent Price.
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