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Even those with a fondness for those "Northwest Frontier" movies set in the British Raj of the 1800's will probably be disappointed by this minor, unpersuasive, and somewhat uncharacteristic entry from Hammer Films. The costumes have that clean, new look -- as if they just came from a rental shop -- and the handful of sets are too tidy and well-lit to be anything other than studio creations. Even the rocks have a fiberglass look.
More troubling than the film's skimpy budget, however, is the casting of its main character. He's supposed to be half-English, half-Indian -- one of those chaps who's worked his way up in the ranks of the British Army but who feels he's still regarded with hostility and suspicion by his colleagues. Not only does Ronald Lewis lack the face for this part, (there's nothing at all Indian about him), but he's also short of the darkly-compelling charisma which might make this character "work." He comes across as a provincial English actor who's dressed up in left-over garb from a production of "Kismet." In his defense, however, it must be said that the script gives him little to work with since his character is poorly developed and too often seems simply like the victim of events going on around him.
Oliver Reed might have been a better choice for the lead but here he plays the villain -- a rebellious chieftain who's said to be "half-mad." Unfortunately, this gives him license to indulge in some theatrical behavior which is more embarrassing than enlivening.
At one point a captured British soldier is whipped by the rebels but even this sure-fire scene is too poorly staged to arouse much interest. (Why didn't the rebels tear the soldier's shirt all the way off? Didn't they take Flogging 101?)
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