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The Four Feathers (1939)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 4 August 1939 (USA)
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.

Director:

Zoltan Korda

Writers:

A.E.W. Mason (by), R.C. Sherriff (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Clements John Clements ... Harry Faversham
Ralph Richardson ... Captain John Durrance
C. Aubrey Smith ... General Burroughs
June Duprez ... Ethne Burroughs
Allan Jeayes Allan Jeayes ... General Faversham
Jack Allen ... Lieutenant Willoughby
Donald Gray Donald Gray ... Peter Burroughs
Frederick Culley Frederick Culley ... Dr. Sutton
Clive Baxter Clive Baxter ... Young Harry Faversham
Robert Rendel ... Colonel
Archibald Batty Archibald Batty ... Adjutant
Derek Elphinstone Derek Elphinstone ... Lieutenant Parker
Hal Walters Hal Walters ... Joe
Norman Pierce Norman Pierce ... Sergeant Brown
Henry Oscar ... Dr. Harraz
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Storyline

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.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

See...The Dreaded Dervishes! - Kipling's Famous FUZZY WUZZIES! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 August 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Las cuatro plumas See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Harry Faversham: In England, the white feather is the mark of a coward.
Dr. Harraz: Ah, I see. Then why worry? Be a coward and be happy.
Harry Faversham: No, Doctor. I have been a coward, and I wasn't happy.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Version of The Four Feathers (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

March from the opera Scipione
(uncredited)
Written by George Frideric Handel
Played by military band during the review of troops by Lord Kitchener
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"There's no place in England for a Coward"
12 January 2011 | by tim-764-291856See all my reviews

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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