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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lives Of A Bengal Lancer (1935)

Set in the northwest frontier of British Colonial India, three Lancers (Gary Cooper, Franchot Tone, Richard Cromwell) with very different personalities must work together to save India from native rebels. If you can get past the nostalgia for the good old days of the British Raj teaching those naughty brown savages a thing or do for having the audacity to want them out of their country, it's a passable entertainment. But it's like GUNGA DIN but without the wit or the fun or the 1936 CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE without the romanticism. And in the movie's sappy ending, the film has the dubious distinction of placing honor above truth. I don't want to be too hard on it because I enjoyed it in spite of myself. Cooper is at his most likable as the rough-hewn Canadian but Cromwell shows no signs of talent which makes things difficult as he has the most complex character to play. Reputedly the film was a great favorite of Hitler's (it's easy to see why) and mandatory viewing for the S.S. Directed by the veteran Henry Hathaway, who received a best director nomination for this. With C. Aubrey Smith, Sir Guy Standing, Douglass Dumbrille, Kathleen Burke, Akim Tamiroff and J. Carrol Naish.

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