After World War II, a Highland Regiment's acting Commanding Officer, who rose from the ranks, is replaced by a peace-time Oxford-educated Commanding Officer, leading to a dramatic conflict between the two.
Major Jock Sinclair has been in this Highland regiment since he joined as a boy piper. During World War II, as Second-in-Command, he was made acting Commanding Officer. Now the regiment has returned to Scotland, and a new commanding officer is to be appointed. Jock's own cleverness is pitted against his new C.O., his daughter, his girlfriend, and the other officers in the Mess.Written by
Aryk Nusbacher <email@example.com>
In one of the venomous exchanges between the Scots Pipe Major (Duncan Macrae) and the English Regimental Sergeant Major (Percy Herbert), the former advises the latter to go and watch his television set, adding that "Muffin the Mule (1946) is on at four o'clock". This refers to a famous British children's program of the early 1950s, which was presented by Annette Mills, the sister of Sir John Mills, who plays the Colonel of the regiment in this movie. See more »
When Jock is driven from the barracks in a jeep at the movie's conclusion, the rear seats are green. When the jeep is seen externally a few seconds later, the seats are white. See more »
The Duke of Perth
Traditional See more »
What fine reviews
As a very late reviewer I see that very much of what I would have said has already been said so I endorse rather than repeat it. What is surprising is that these lengthy perceptive and very admiring reviews have come not from the film's country of origin but from the USA where it seems to have struck a particular chord. Reviewers have noted Guinness's perhaps finest ever performance as well as, very unusually the fine ensemble playing where script, casting and direction must all have been of similar quality.
I would take issue with the reviewer who said that the Mills character would never have been given command. Clearly he had been highly educated, had a long and distinguished career in a headquarters job following a traumatic time as a POW of the Japanese. He would have at least earned some kind of moral right at the end of his career and in peacetime to be given the job that he believed he really wanted and might have thought to have been among friends. He would most likely have been highly respected owed favours and been able to pull strings. Had Jock Sinclair (Guinness) - unashamedly uneducated, rough and proud to have been educated in Barlinnie jail, Glasgow and deeply popular with his men not been the officer he replaced, most likely Colonel Barrow would have made a success of it. The whole entirely believable tragedy came about through the grotesque mischance that with these so different characters, one had to wrest command - and respect of the men - from the other. Colonel Barrow's fragility was only exposed when he tried to impose his English "civilising" ways on the one person whose whole being rejected them. Bad enough if it had been simply about class, here it was a battle for the Scottish soul. These deeper levels of conflict deriving from earlier historical intra-Scottish battles was suggested by one reviewer. The film tells a story which perhaps could have been set in almost any country with a strong military tradition - France. Germany, Japan etc rather like its near name-sake "Paths of Glory" by Stanley Kubrick set in WW1 France. Here though the central conflict presumably had very deep roots in Scottish ethnic and tribal history of clan wars, of Highlanders vs Lowlanders even of those supposed English-loving "traitors" who "sold" Scotland to "a parcel of rogues" (The English) in 1707. It may well be that for Sinclair, the entirely Anglicised Colonel Barrow (gin-drinking, aloof, distant and without a hint of a Scottish accent) represented exactly that kind of treacherous pseudo-Scot.
One reviewer describes it as "pure John Ford" leaving it unclear if he is suggesting that it was similar or derivative. With art in general, its lower and by definition least original forms ape others. This film does not ape any other - as already said the intensity of the conflict derives not just from class but from old old historical grievances between two intimately close nations. In "Old" Europe grievances and rivalries ran long and deep.
Just a rather sad footnote. One reviewer mentioned similarities to earlier John Ford/John Wayne movies. The entire John Wayne archive is to be seen on a continuously circulating basis on two of Britain's five national television channels State broadcaster the BBC and so-called public service broadcaster Channel 4. Yet in contrast Tunes of Glory has rarely been shown. It reappeared 2 years ago but in a poor quality print on a remote satellite channel which plays mainly public domain material. Many of Britain's fine vigorous quality films of the 1960s have never been shown at all on British television until a few months ago when again a very minor satellite channel started showing them: Otley, The Hireling, The Reckoning and others. I did not see them originally and it was revelation seeing the bold acting and directing talent which existed then and how sad is the current decline into the Lock Stock etc formulaic gangster stuff. Very curious indeed that great British films are not shown on the supposed British public service channels and it is left to small satellite channels Movies4Men and Simply Movies to show them. Very curious indeed. Public service broadcasting not in the service of the public.
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