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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Reginald Le Borg
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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>
Vivid Technicolor fails to boost poor material...one of Paulette's last films...
Paulette Goddard's career was tumbling ever downward by the time she did CHARGE OF THE LANCERS.
Indeed, about a half-hour of plot is developed before she even makes an appearance as a gypsy girl in a caravan, helping JEAN PIERRE AUMONT escape being captured by the Russians during the Crimean war. She takes an immediate fancy to Aumont (in his red boxing tights) and eventually helps him rescue his buddy (RICHARD STAPLEY), captured by the Russians who hope to get plans about a new cannon the British are planning to use against their enemy.
Despite the silly script, Jean Pierre Aumont gives a lively and likable performance but Goddard is clearly too old to be addressed as "that girl" and looks rather harsh in some of her Technicolor close-ups. Karin Booth has a thankless role as a Russian spy.
Most favorable aspect of the film is the bright Technicolor which gives it a high-budget look most of the time. William Castle's direction is never able to lift the material above routine. The story, after a fairly lively start, starts to fall apart soon after Goddard's entrance.
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