Major Jock Sinclair has been in this Highland regiment since he joined as a boy piper. During the Second World War, as Second-in-Command, he was made acting Commanding Officer. Now the ...
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A charming and ambitious young man finds many ways to raise himself through the ranks in business and social standing- some honest, some not quite so. If he can just manage to avoid a ... See full summary »
Major Jock Sinclair has been in this Highland regiment since he joined as a boy piper. During the Second World War, as Second-in-Command, he was made acting Commanding Officer. Now the regiment has returned to Scotland, and a new commanding officer is to be appointed. Jock's own cleverness is pitted against his new CO, his daughter, his girlfriend, and the other officers in the Mess. Written by
Aryk Nusbacher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
These are just a few notes on one of my favorite films, "Tunes of Glory," which I recently watched again in its new Criterion DVD release. The plot is well-described by many posters below, so I won't bother with that.
The more I watch this film, the more I appreciate the wealth of detailed characterization it contains. On Barrow's first meeting with the officers of the regiment, as he is introduced to the rotund Major "Dusty" Miller, note John Mills' quick downward glance of disapproval at the Major's corpulent gut. In the following scene, where Jock Sinclair offers Barrow a whiskey, Barrow courteously replies that whiskey does not agree with him, to Jock's dismay. We later learn that Barrow is emotionally unstable, has problems controlling his rage, and that his family life has broken up. Could alcoholism be an issue, explaining his aversion to whiskey? While Guinness and Mills are justly praised, I find the performance by Dennis Price as Major Charlie Scott to be very interesting as well. Bringing to mind Ralph Richardson, he exudes an oily, genteel but detached sort of upper-crust English manner that Colonel Sinclair gleefully mocks ("old boy, old boy, old boy"). When RSM Riddick (Percy Herbert, distractingly bringing to mind Michael Palin in appearance and exaggerated military manner) tries to officially express the doubts of those in his own strata in the military hierarchy about the prosecution of Jock Sinclair, Barrow's first reaction is curiously bemused and sarcastic ("you astonish me"). Barrow subsequently snaps into martinet mode and brusquely dismisses Riddick's petition. His initial bemusement, though, is telling in that his instinct is not to take this man, from a lower level of the social and military hierarchy, seriously at all, treating him almost as an unruly child who needs be put in his place. Having seen power struggles, personality clashes, and class divisions like this in my work experience, I see that this all rings true. As foreign, exotic, and strange as the setting, characters, and language are to an American like me, the themes of this story are so universal that they can be immediately appreciated by almost anyone who's experienced life to some degree.
As for the language, it's a delight to finally have a DVD with English subtitles to clarify some of the spoken lines. The picture, by the way, is excellent on the new DVD, except for the intermittent appearance of a dark streak down the right side of the screen near the end of the film. I would have thought this could be fixed with digital restoration, but the cost of that might have been prohibitive, and though a little distracting, it really doesn't spoil my enjoyment. I think it's fitting that there are no negative reviews here thus far.
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