A timid British Army officer has quit and burns his last day summons to a war in Egypt. Calling him a coward, his girl friend and 3 officer friends give him a white feather. In redemption, he shadows his friends in war to save their lives.
When British officer Harry resigns from his regiment, he is labeled a coward by his family and friends. Harry receives four white feathers as a mark of a coward. In order to redeem himself ... See full summary »
Resigning his commission on the eve of his unit's deployment against Egyptian rebels, a British officer seeks to redeem his cowardice by secretly aiding his former comrades, disguised as an Arab. When his unit is overwhelmed and captured by the rebels, the hero finds an opportunity to return the "feathers" of cowardice sent to him by his former comrades by freeing them.
The Korda brothers (Alexander, Vincent, and Zoltan) had a working relationship and method that sometimes agitated their English cast and crew, who were not used to sudden, loud arguments conducted in Hungarian and halting English peppered with expletives. John Clements recalled sitting in Alexander's office discussing a point of production when suddenly the three brothers broke into a violent screaming match. "Zolly (Zoltan) started picking things up off the table and throwing them on the floor, and I really thought they were going to kill each other," Clements said. Just as suddenly as it began, however, the fight stopped "and everybody embraced, including me, and we all had a nice cup of tea, and that was that." See more »
After the battle, Faversham stands, and a corpse is lying across Durrance. The corpse then disappears when Faversham assists Durrance to his feet. See more »
Opening credits prologue: In 1885 the rebellious army of cruel dervishes enslaved and killed many thousands of defenceless natives in the Sudan, then laid siege to Khartoum. The scanty garrison's heroic commander, General Gordon appealed for help from England - but no help reached him. See more »
The above statement is chortled lustily by a white-whiskered veteran of the Crimea, as he, along with his chums, brandies and cigars in hand decry the 'modern' soldier.
Though this vibrant Technicolour adventure was released as WW2 was unleashed, we're talking of the late Victorian period and the Sudanese battles. Starchily stiff in both attitudes as well as English accent and starting off a little hoary, it's actually a damn fine story and remains one of Britain's best epic of the time. First made in 1929 as an early talkie and also a dull and more violent version in 2002, with Heath Ledger unfortunately lacking the essential charisma. 'Storm over the Nile' was a remake in 1956 and a TV movie was shown in 1977.
Cowardice IS the subject, but don't get too misled that the British Army and its attitudes were slipping on this contentious issue, as recompension and doing one's duty above and beyond are what it's all about. Though a little improbable at times, it's more akin to Lawrence of Arabia in complexity and characterisation than, say Michael Caine in Zulu, though this pre-dates both those by 25 years or so. Moments in the desert still evoke quite scary watching, ably assisted by the score and Henry Korda's directing.
Scenes of the running battles on horseback with the natives were so well reproduced, some have been used in films since, still passing muster today, they must have appeared even more formidable 62 years ago.
The way the human story, the wartime adventure and the sense of family duty, marriage and honour are all interwoven is what makes this a steadfastly watchable film for all the family.
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