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Charge of the Lancers (1954)

Approved | | Action, Drama | February 1954 (USA)
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 ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Tanya
...
Capt. Eric Evoir
Richard Wyler ...
Maj. Bruce Lindsey (as Richard Stapley)
...
Maria Sand
Charles Irwin ...
Tom Daugherty
Ben Astar ...
Gen. Inderman
...
Gen. Stanhope
...
Cpl. Bonikoff
Ivan Triesault ...
Dr. Manus
Louis Merrill ...
Col. Zeansky (as Lou Merrill)
Tony Roux ...
Asa
Fernanda Eliscu ...
Keta
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Storyline

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 <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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Spectacular zero hour! Adventure into the jaws of death! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

February 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Carga dos Lanceiros  »

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(Western Electric Recording)

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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

 
CHARGE OF THE LANCERS (William Castle, 1954) **
2 May 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This is director Castle's weakest epic offering that I have watched so far, devoid even of the hokey qualities that rendered SERPENT OF THE NILE (1953) tolerable and the entertaining campiness that marked SINS OF JEZEBEL (1953), from the same producer (Sam Katzman) and star (Paulette Goddard)!

As the title suggests, this is one from the fictionalized cinematic files of the British Empire (we even get to see Florence Nightingale do her thing!), except that the titular attack only turns up at the very end and, what is worse, is a direct replica of its own opening skirmish (though, instead of coming off as audacious – as Luis Bunuel's deliberate repetition of one particular sequence in THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL {1962} would eventually be – here it smacks of cheapskate tactics)! Besides, for whatever reason, the male lead was French Jean-Pierre Aumont (it is just possible that no British, or at least one who naturally spoke English, actor was prepared to lower his standard by appearing in such low-brow fare!) – we are also supposed to believe him as an amateur boxer! As for Goddard, she was on her last legs anyway as an actress, so she probably would have welcomed any part at this point – but it still does not excuse her embarrassing performance (as a gypsy) here!

The plot is quite dreary (involving romantic antagonism which eventually unveils a traitor, and there is also trickery with respect to a secret weapon coveted by the enemy, as the hero's best friend feigns amnesia so as not to spill the beans when captured, while Aumont himself naturally dons gypsy garb to move unnoticed in enemy territory when a General unsurprisingly takes a shine to the earthy and deliberately flirtatious Goddard) and the handling thoroughly dull (as if the director were somehow uncommitted to – certainly uninspired by – the material at his disposal). In the end, at just 70 minutes, the film makes for harmless enough (if decidedly unendearing) viewing…though the overall poor quality of the TCM-sourced print (especially when viewed on a 40" monitor) only serves to notch yet another point against it!


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