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The Four Feathers (1939)

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 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. Written by Anonymous

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

Production Co:

London Film Productions See more »
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

Storm Over the Nile (1955) reuses a lot of the battle sequences from this film which did not lend themselves very well to cropping necessary to achieve the width of the CinemaScope ratio, nor did their comparative fuzziness blend well with the new footage which surrounded it. See more »

Goofs

When General Burroughs is talking in the garden with Ethne, his swagger stick reverses ends. See more »

Quotes

Ethne Burroughs: Some people are born free. They can do as they like without concern for consequences. But you were not born free, Harry, and nor was I. We were born into a tradition, a code which we must obey even if we do not believe. And we must obey it, Harry, because the pride and happiness of everyone surrounding us depends upon our obedience.
Harry Faversham: I quite understand. There should be four feathers here.
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

Featured in Dad's Army: The Two and a Half Feathers (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(1788) (uncredited)
Lyrics by Robert Burns, music traditional
Heard during the departure of the Regiment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Britain Beats Hollywood At Its Own Game
28 July 2005 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

It's ridiculous that movies like THE FULL MONTY and 28 DAYS LATER that have a British producer , director and screenwriter that were filmed entirely in Britain with an entirely British cast are not classed " British " simply because they were made by American studios . Somewhat ironic then that one of greatest British - And I mean truly British -films owes so much to the Korda brothers who came to this country from Hungary while the man responsible for the breath taking colour cinematography was from France

But I'm not going to be internationalist about THE FOUR FEATHERS because this is a movie that makes you proud to be British , something that is sadly no longer allowed to happen these days . Perhaps the most stirring thing I can say about this movie is the way it wipes the floor with the contemporary competition that was coming out of Hollywood at the time . While the American studio were making similar monochrome movies with Errol Flynn and David Niven as the leads Ralph Richardson's performance alone is a reason to watch this movie and even if it wasn't there's still the story itself featuring themes like courage , honour , romance and redemption . You want battle scenes ? There's several in this movie as well choreographed as any thing seen in cinema at this time but perhaps the most what sets this British movie apart from other movies that were being produced across the pond is that it's a bit more gritty and sadistic than what Hollywood was producing . In one scene a British officer is flogged like a dog and he screams in pain as the camera pans on to the Mufti's face , a face lit up in sadistic glee , then the scene cross fades into a crowded dungeon where the prisoners are kept , a dark hell hole where the audience can actually taste the pain , fear and misery from the unfortunate prisoners . Even in those days Hollywood would pull their punches while a film like THE FOUR FEATHERSwould not

Sadly THE FOUR FEATHERS was released in 1939 which meant it qualified for the legendary Oscar ceremony the following year when GONE WITH THE WIND swept the board . A great pity because this very British movie deserved a hat full of awards . Sadly too Britain no longer has a film industry of its own and is reliant upon American finance , but perhaps the saddest thing is even if we did have a film industry no one in the business would want to film such an exciting historical epic in case they were labeled reactionary or racist


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