In the Sudan, in 1884 to 1885, Egyptian forces led by British General Charles "Chinese" Gordon (Charlton Heston) defend Khartoum against an invading Muslim Army led by a religious fanatic, Mohammed Ahmed el Mahdi (Sir Laurence Olivier).
While Old England is being ransacked by roving Danes in the ninth century, Alfred is planning to join the priesthood. But observing the rape of his land, he puts away his religious vows, to... See full summary »
The story of the marriage of England's King Arthur to Guinevere. The plot of illegitimate Mordred to gain the throne and Guinevere's growing attachment to Sir Lancelot, threaten to topple Arthur and destroy his "round table" of knights.
In a French village, Manou is an Italian logger, virile, with a broad laugh. He can't say no to women's sexual invitations, and jealous villagers blame him for recent fires and a flood. He ... See full summary »
Lady Booby alias "Belle" (Ann-Margret), the lively wife of the fat landed squire Sir Thomas Booby (Peter Bull), has a lusty eye on the attractive, intelligent villager Joseph Andrews (Peter... See full summary »
Nicol Williamson takes the lead role in this star-studded 1969 version of William Shakespeare's tragedy. Prince Hamlet (Williamson) mourns his father's death and his mother's (Judy ... See full summary »
A biography of the dancer Isadora Duncan, the 1920s dancer who forever changed people's ideas of ballet. Her nude, semi-nude, and pro-Soviet dance projects as well as her attitudes on free ... See full summary »
A chronicle of events that led to the British involvement in the Crimean War against Russia and which led to the siege of Sevastopol and the fierce Battle of Balaclava on October 25, 1854 which climaxed with the heroic, but near-disastrous cavalry charge made by the British Light Brigade against a Russian artillery battery in a small valley which resulted in the near-destruction of the brigade due to error of judgment and rash planning on part by the inept British commanders.Written by
Tony Richardson was a notoriously difficult director. At one point he wanted the Guardsmen at the Battle of the Alma to wear blue tunics, which he thought would look better on-screen than the authentic scarlet. He only relented when his military and historical adviser, Boris Mollo, threatened to resign. See more »
When Cardigan is berating Nolan about his Indian servant, Cardigan can be heard saying, "You and your black rogue," while clearly mouthing something different. See more »
Young ladies should concern themselves with what is pretty. England is pretty... babies are pretty... some table linen can be very pretty...
See more »
Closing credits roll over a drawing of a dead horse, with the buzzing of flies in the soundtrack. See more »
The American release version (MGM/UA Region 1 DVD) is missing six minutes 45 seconds' worth of material present in the UK VHS tape released in 1992. The latter has a running time (adjusted to 24fps) of about 136 mins compared to the DVD which runs about 130 mins. Three sections are affected: Clarissa's wedding reception; a church service; and three consecutive scenes in the Crimea, involving a sentry failing to identify Lord Raglan at night and shooting at him, piercing his hat; the sentry being flogged but earning a reward from Lord Cardigan for his bravery; and Captains Nolan and Morris eating the breakfasts of several enlisted men while out riding. The British tape is itself missing seven seconds of footage cut by the censor (shots of trip-wired horses during the charge) and is still short of the original running times of 138 minutes 40 seconds as registered by the British Board of Film Censors in 1968, 141 minutes as listed in most reference sources, and 145 minutes as reviewed by Variety. See more »
The Girl I Left Behind Me
Arranged by Trevor L. Sharpe
Heard before the Battle of the Alma See more »
Superb period details
We have to wait nearly two hours for the eponymous event which climaxes this film. Prior to this we see a series of apparently unconnected episodes which give the viewer an insight into the workings of Victorian society, including anti-intellectuallism and idleness among the 'upper' classes, and brutality and theft among the 'scum' recruited in the slums.
While almost plot less this section of the film does follow a core of characters whose lives are connected by army service. The main character is Captain Louis Nolan, an idealistic professional in an army of amateurs. "England is looking well" he says in the first scene of the film. The irony is that the country that looks so good is a cruel and mismanaged place. Unlike his fellow officers, who have bought their posts, he has worked his way up the ranks of the Indian Army by merit. He despises them and they feel he isn't a 'gentleman'.
Nolan has very definite views on how war should be fought. Faced with the reality of battle and the inadequacies of the commanders (the senile Raglan and the childish Lucan and Cardigan) his impatience and temper have tragic consequences as he impetuously points the Light Brigade ("There, my Lord, is your enemy, there are your guns!") towards the bloody fiasco of which he is the first victim. The man who seems to know best makes the biggest blunder of all. Eye-witnesses said the hideous scream Nolan gave when he was hit stayed with them all their lives and the film re-creates it in a truly chilling way.
Although the film does reflect 1960's attitudes to war and politics (and I actually prefer these to the attitudes of the 21st Century) its setting is so perfectly realized that it hasn't dated as a '60s film'. In fact it seems better with the passage of time. If you can free yourself from the idea of a narrative history and give yourself up to a series of impressions which add new layers of understanding 'Charge of the Light Brigade' makes a fine historical film.
43 of 47 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this