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The Charge of the Light Brigade (1912)

Retelling of the famous incident in the 1854 Crimean War when a British cavalry unit, because of a mix-up in orders, charged an almost impregnable Russian artillery position and was decimated.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Captain Morris (as Benjamin Wilson)
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James Gordon ...
Lord Raglan - Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces
Charles Sutton ...
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Storyline

There are eighteen short minutes in the history of Great Britain that will live as long as the war drum is sounded and the shrill trumpet calls to arms. These historical moments are recorded in the annals of time on October 25th, in the year 1854, at the hour of ten o'clock, on the blood-stained field of Balaklava, where England strewed for over a mile the life-blood of heroes. Over four hundred soldiers gave up their lives to the everlasting glory and honor of England's military discipline, and all within this short space of time. Think of them, wonder at them, honor them, all you who love the heroic and brave, for it was only eighteen minutes from the moment Lord Cardigan gave the command, "Forward the Light Brigade," and the brilliant band of England's best blood made their never-to-be-forgotten charge, and then this torn, bloody, battle-stained, broken and shattered regiment, the pride of England's army, came back from the valley of death. All that was left of the six hundred, ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Genres:

Drama | Short

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Details

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Release Date:

11 October 1912 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film takes place on October 25, 1854. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 100 Greatest War Films (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

A masterpiece of its time.
6 November 2004 | by (Middlesbrough, England) – See all my reviews

This film is much better than the quaint oddity which one might expect.

Directorially it is a masterpiece of economical story-telling. In its 12 minutes there are only 28 scenes, each of which is a single continuous take. In 27 of them the camera is static - no zooms, no tracking shots, no cuts to close-up, etc. In only one scene does the camera pan, and that is to follow the charging cavalry. The shot is made all the more effective by the absence of camera movement elsewhere.

More than half a century before the Tony Richardson 1968 film, the writer of this version came up with the idea of establishing a cosy domestic relationship between Captains Nolan and Morris at home in Britain before their Crimean service. This is not an obvious idea, and is not based on any contemporary account. One wonders if Richardson saw this film before making his own.

The action sequences are lavishly staged. It is said that 800 troopers of the US Cavalry took part, and there are scenes in which that many appear to be engaged at once.

The film is available as an extra on the DVD of the British Film Institute edition of the 1968 movie. The visual quality of the film is very good for its age - an excellent job of restoration. It is scratched, but not at all faded.


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