6.1/10
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13 user 13 critic

Four Men and a Prayer (1938)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Mystery | 29 April 1938 (USA)
The sons of a disgraced British officer try to clear his name.

Director:

John Ford

Writers:

Richard Sherman (screenplay), Sonya Levien (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Loretta Young ... Miss Lynn Cherrington
Richard Greene ... Geoffrey Leigh
George Sanders ... Wyatt Leigh
David Niven ... Christopher Leigh
William Henry ... Rodney Leigh
C. Aubrey Smith ... Colonel Loring Leigh
J. Edward Bromberg ... General Torres (as Edward Bromberg)
Alan Hale ... Mr. Furnoy
John Carradine ... General Adolfo Arturios Gregario Sebastian
Reginald Denny ... Capt. Douglas Loveland
Berton Churchill ... Mr. Martin Cherrington
Barry Fitzgerald ... Trooper Mulcahay
Claude King ... Gen. Bryce
Cecil Cunningham ... Piper
Frank Dawson Frank Dawson ... Manders
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Storyline

Colonel Loring Leigh, British Indian Army, appears to have issued an order that cost 90 lives. Cashiered, he returns home, tells his sons of a conspiracy by an arms syndicate to supply the rebels...then is found dead, an apparent suicide. To clear their father, the four sons must globetrot in a hazardous search for evidence, closely followed by Geoffrey's sweetheart Lynn Cherrington. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

army | father | yacht | forger | sheik | See All (32) »

Genres:

Adventure | Mystery

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

29 April 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Štirje osvetniki See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Once when director John Ford called Loretta Young to the set, the actress refused to leave her trailer until she was happy with her hair. After waiting for her for a while, Ford and several grips went to her trailer and began shaking and rocking it until she came out. See more »

Crazy Credits

Manders, the butler, is listed as Mullins in the credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in 20th Century Fox Promotional Film (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

Irish Washerwoman
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played on a player piano in a Jerishtawbi bar
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User Reviews

 
Four Brothers
22 September 2006 | by krorieSee all my reviews

Perhaps the inspiration for the 2005 film "Four Brothers," this overlooked John Ford gem from 1938 is a winner all the way, except for the nondescript title which makes one think this is going to be some type of religious outing, especially since Barry Fitzgerald is in the credits.

Good performances abound, in particular Loretta Young as a headstrong globetrotter, Lynn Cherrington, who is determined to get her man but gets involved with murder and intrigue along the way; David Niven as one of the Brothers Leigh, Christopher, whose derring-do is often derring-undone; George Sanders playing against type as another of the Brothers Leigh, Wyatt, a barrister who knows the law better than he knows people; Reginald Denny as a gunrunner named Capt. Douglas Loveland who lets a pretty skirt get the best of him; Alan Hale as Mr. Furnoy, a scoundrel in sheep's clothing; and the always reliable C. Aubrey Smith in a brief appearance as the father, Col. Loring Leigh. Veteran actors Barry Fitzgerald and John Carradine do their usual superior jobs but have only small roles.

John Ford's direction adds much to the total effect of the film. Note the action scenes in South American of the revolution where camera work and film editing are paramount. The firing squad sequence plays almost like a clip from Woody Allen's "Bananas," including several covert comedy touches that would later be labeled black humor.

Not surprising for such a crisp script with probing lines, the hand of novelist William Faulkner shows through. This is obvious in the conversations between the brothers, at times playful, at other times dead serious, and in the repartee between Lynn Cherrington and the four brothers--also between her and her father.

The story concerns Col. Leigh being accused of causing the death of several of his men in India. He is given a dishonorable discharge by the British army as a result. He summons his four sons to meet with him at their home in London. The youngest is enrolled at Oxford; the oldest is a practicing barrister; another is some sort of diplomat in Washington, D.C.; and the fourth is in the military. The Col. has a briefcase full of papers to prove his innocence. While perusing the documents in the study to get his defense together while the four brothers are waiting in the foyer, a shot rings out. The Col. is dead but not from suicide as indicated by the position of the body and gun in hand. That the papers are missing points to murder.

The four brothers then begin globe trotting to find the killer and the motive behind it. Two go to India to investigate. The other two go to South America. Geoffrey Leigh's American girlfriend, Lynn, tags along to help though her assistance is discouraged by the brothers. The plot becomes more complicated when it is learned that a gun syndicate called Atlas Arms may be behind it all.


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