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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.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Geoffrey Leigh
...
Wyatt Leigh
...
...
Rodney Leigh
...
Colonel Loring Leigh
...
General Torres (as Edward Bromberg)
...
Mr. Furnoy
...
General Adolfo Arturios Gregario Sebastian
...
Capt. Douglas Loveland
...
Mr. Martin Cherrington
...
Trooper Mulcahay
...
Gen. Bryce
...
Piper
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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

29 April 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Štirje osvetniki  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The line "I knew a man named Trubshawe..." refers to a lifelong friend of Niven's, a source of references or character names in several of his films. 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

Adios Muchachos (I Get Ideas)
(uncredited)
Written by Julio Sanders
Played in a Buenos Aires nightclub
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User Reviews

 
Preposterous but occasionally entertaining
6 October 2005 | by See all my reviews

Four brothers receive telegrams from their father, telling them he has been dishonourably discharged and bidding them meet him at their home. They arrive to learn that he has the evidence to prove he was framed in his court-martial, but before the end of the evening Father has been murdered in his locked study, and his papers stolen. The four brothers fan out across the globe in search of the four men their father mentioned who might be able to prove his innocence--sort of an inverted version of the Four Feathers.

The brothers, played by George Sanders, David Niven, William Henry, and Richard Greene (who, from a distance, looks oddly like Brendan Fraser), are staunch in support of their dishonored father (played by the only actor who could command unquestioning faith in his military honor: C. Aubrey Smith). In their travels, they are haunted by Greene's irritating American girlfriend, played by Loretta Young as not much more than a series of costume changes (she shows up in some of the oddest hats imaginable, and one fur-trimmed number that makes you wonder if she's a Plushy fetishist--she does make up for it, however, in a lovely gown-to-watch-revolutions-by). Perhaps her most far-fetched moment, however, is her light-hearted banter after an evening of watching a military massacre.

Along the way, the tone of the movie changes almost as often as Young's wardrobe. You think you're in a sort of amateur detective yarn, and suddenly you're watching innocent peasants mowed down by the military. The director, John Ford, is quoted in the AFI Catalog as having said, "I just didn't like the story, or anything about it, so it was a job of work." His lack of passion really shows.

But the chaotic story (filled with pointless red herrings, such as the role Young's father may or may not have played in the evil-doings) does have some wonderful light moments, most of them provided by Niven, who is just delightful throughout: conversing with a boat steward in Donald Duck voices, playing with rubber toys, mocking Henry's incipient whiskers, roughhousing with his brothers when they reunite on a boat dock. These touches make the film less painful than it would be otherwise. The wonderful George Sanders, however, is painfully underutilized.


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