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Monday, February 2, 2015

The Long Duel (1967)

In the British colonial India of the 1920s, a superintendent of police (Harry Andrews) orders a tribe of nomads arrested for alleged poaching and thievery. The tribe's leader (Yul Brynner) leads an escape, along with a group of other prisoners, and becomes a hero to the people when he and his men fight the British ruling class. When a more humane and India friendly officer (Trevor Howard) is put in charge of finding and arresting the bandit, there is a clash of wills between the superintendent and the officer. An engaging action programmer that delivers the goods. The film is clearly on the side of the oppressed Indian population and Trevor Howard gives a nicely restrained performance as an Indian sympathizer who is disliked by the British Raj in power but tries to do his job while being fair. The cinematographer Jack Hildyard (BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI) does a first rate job of turning Spain into India though the often inferior rear projection work mars his precise camera work. John Scott's score is uneven though he wrote a lovely theme for the shrine sequence but I could have done without the ghastly song over the end credits. With Charlotte Rampling, Virginia North, Edward Fox, Laurence Naismith, Maurice Denham, Marianne Stone and Andrew Keir.

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