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Superintendent Stafford of the United Provinces Police, has his men arrest an entire tribe on vague allegations of poaching and theft in British India. Their leader, Sultan, father of a young boy, Munnu, whose wife, Tara, is expecting their second child, is also arrested and held in a cell with criminals in Fort Najibabad. Sultan, Tara, and many others manage to break out, but Tara and the newborn both pass away. Sultan, with the help of his men, decides to revolt against the oppressive British - who create a mobile unit, led by Freddy Young, to counter this revolt as well as announce a reward of Rs.500.00 - but Sultan manages to elude them. Then amidst clashes between Freddy and Stafford, and the entry of Jane Stafford, it is made known that Sultan's tribe will be transported by train to a compound in Delhi. This news reaches Sultan and he prepares to attack the train and free his people - little knowing the trap he and his men will soon be walking in to. Written by
Run of the mill historical adventure yarn set on India's North-West Frontier during the British Raj. Yul Brynner plays rebel tribesman Sultan who is pursued by Brit copper Freddy Young (Trevor Howard), who while chasing down the enigmatic rebel comes to respect him and is unwilling to execute the justice requested by his superiors.
The intent to make an historical epic of some worth, that is based on facts, is honourable. It looks nice with an authentic feel to the surroundings of the story, if only it wasn't so laboured, so full of inane posturing and poorly scripted characters, then it might just about crawl its way to being just above average.
It rarely excites, director Ken Annakin unable to inject life into the more perkier aspects of plotting, and a cast that also features Harry Andrews, Charlotte Rampling, Virginia North and Andrew Keir, aren't tasked with much more than reading their lines efficiently. All in all, not very convincing away form the location photography and costuming. 4/10
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