7.6/10
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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.

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

Although he was a stickler for historical fidelity, Director Zoltan Korda was not above stretching the truth for the sake of spectacle. As shooting was about to begin on the lavish ballroom scene, he went into a fit over the fact that the officers were all clad in blue uniforms. Technical Advisor Brigadier Hector Campbell, informed him that this was the proper dress for a private party in the late 1800s. "But this is Technicolor!" Korda roared, and the uniforms were changed to bright red. See more »

Goofs

At c.48 minutes a Dervish warrior is seen blowing on a native musical instrument. However, the soundtrack uses the unmistakable sound of a muted (and very modern) trumpet. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Harry Faversham: Ethne, your feather.
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

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

See more »

User Reviews

 
Rousing Adventure Epic
26 January 2000 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

A young English army officer resigns his commission just as war in Africa breaks out. His 3 best friends, officers all, and his fiancée each give him a white feather - the sign of the coward. Shunned & ostracized, he undertakes a mission to clear his honour & prove his courage.

This is a wonderful British adventure film, equally on a par with anything Hollywood was to produce in that golden year of 1939. Shot in color, with spare-no-expense filming in the Sudan, THE FOUR FEATHERS is a paean to the glory days of Victoria's Empire & the men who fought to build it.

Sir John Clements is excellent as the young hero. Although virtually unknown to American audiences his entire career, Sir John was a very fine actor with a warmly distinctive voice which he uses here to advantage. Sir Ralph Richardson appears, terrific as always, as one of the friends; so does John Laurie, very good as the troublesome Khalifa. Sir C. Aubrey Smith, magnificent as a curmudgeonly old general, provides the final hurdle Sir John must jump to regain his reputation.


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