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In northwestern India soon after the turn of the 20th Century, Moslem rebels seek to kill a six-year-old Hindu prince to end his family line. Captain Scott of the British Army is ordered to get the prince out of the region safely. Adventure ensues as Scott sneaks the child away, through Moslem-held territory, by train. Also on board are the boy's American governess, an arms merchant, a cynical reporter, and two upper class Britons. Written by
George S. Davis <email@example.com>
The book that Van Leyden (Herbert Lom) reads in the film was historian Edward Gibbon's 'Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire' (1776). See more »
The movie takes place in India in the early 20th century, but 1950s British trains can be seen in the background through the locomotive cab windows at various times. (Some cab-interior shots were done on a studio set with stock background footage.) See more »
Are you sure about Mr. Van Layden? I mean, won't you get into a lot of trouble if you're wrong?
Wouldn't you like to see me drummed out of my regiment? Paraded before the troops? Medals torn off my manly bosom? I used to think that would be just your cup of tea.
They don't really do all that, do they?
Well, of course they do! And my best friend calls on me in my quarters, hands me a loaded revolver and says, "Carruthers, its the only way out for a gentleman."
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The American release, entitled "Flame Over India", gives Lauren Bacall top billing. The British release, which is entitled "North West Frontier" and is the one on DVD, gives Kenneth More, a popular star in England, top billing. See more »
Based on a story by Patrick Ford, the son of the legendary John, 'North West Frontier' clearly owes a debt to Ford seniors classic 'Stagecoach' as a mixed group of travellers set out on a perilous journey. In its own way, 'North West Frontier' matches that Hollywood classic in quality. After a stunning opening twenty minutes where barely a line of dialogue is spoken, the movie lives up to the old cliché of "offering a roller-coaster ride of excitement", something which is much promised but seldom delivered.
Kenneth More is one of my favourite actors and he is wonderful in this. Perhaps his character lacks the neurotic edge that the late Sir John Mills brought to the directors earlier movie 'Ice Cold In Alex' (a movie which shares plot elements with this one), but instead More brings an air of honest decency to the part. The evocatively named "Captain Scott" is no super-hero, but simply an honest man trying to do a difficult job.
Lauren Bacall also gives a fine performance, in a role which could easily have been the film's weakest link as a token Hollywood 'big name' for the American market. While the likes of Lom and Hyde White fill their roles with practised ease as I. S Gupta steals every scene he is in.
At over two hours it is a long movie, yet the 129 minutes seem to fly by and I was genuinely sad to bid farewell to the passengers and crew of the 'Empress of India', while the 'Eaton Boating Song' played in my head for day afterwards.
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