Even in its abused, neglected state (hence the four-star rating instead of five) Richardson's "Charge of the Light Brigade" is still a fantastic piece of cinema and a sadly overlooked classic in the same league as the wonderful "Oh, What a Lovely War". At a time when most modern young British directors regularly churn out terrible mockney gangster flicks, wet rom-coms or stagnant period dross it seems such a shame that this bold example of British cinema should suffer such a fate. Sir David Puttnam even recently stated how extremely angry he was that Light Brigade remains completely ignored as the quality piece of cinematic art that it obviously is.
Richardson himself had planned this film as his masterpiece but became so disillusioned with the reaction to his work that he mercilessly hacked out huge amounts of footage (including a sequence showing the charge by the heavy brigade) that had editor Kevin Brownlow weeping in frustration. In an age when tons of utter cinematic bilge is showcased in sparkling new prints with dolby-surround sound and released on DVD with hours of documentaries, trailers and director's commentaries it is about time that "Charge of the Light Brigade" was rescued, restored and re-issued in all its full FOUR hour glory (if all that extra footage still survives of course).
I want storyboards, interviews with cinematographer David Watkin (who scoured dusty old camera cupboards all over London looking for period lenses that would add a Victorian patina to the terrific photography). Add in all the production artwork that's fit to print, a whole section dedicated to Richard Williams' magical animated segments and other documentaries that span two discs. Maybe then some long overdue justice can be done in honour of this brilliant film. The BFI should hang its collective head in shame.