on 10 July 2000
This is truely a great film.
Telling the story of Captain (later Major) Vickers of the 27th Lancers, who experiences the horrible massacre of women and children at a garrison city in British India. You can feel your blood boil as you watch the unarmed women and children being shot to pieces as they try to escape and the horrors the remander of the garrison finds when it returns.
After this the film moves to the Crimea for the last 30 - 20 mins of the film, although the film sadly devotes little to the war of 1854 the showing of the charge is fantastic, being played along with the poem which was soon wrote after the event.
Overall a great film which has a satisfying ending ...
I would recommend this film to all people who enjoy a good action film and it is certainly the better of the two films made on the suicidal charge.
on 3 March 2011
Although its purpose in 1936 was to raise a spirit of military self-sacrific in America's young men prior to WWII; this film is still one of both Errol Flynn's, and Hollywood's all time greats! Despite the historical inaccuracies; Union Jacks flying proudly upside down for example, the films basic themes have undoubtedly stood the test of time. Brotherly love strained by a beautiful woman. Cowardly treacherous behaviour ultimately avenged by a thundering cavalry charge of the Empire's gallant soldiery. Noble Commander's protecting a fallen hero's good name; this film has it all and more! Full of understated emotions, dignity, courage, loyalty and honour plus a large dash of decency, they simply don't make films like this anymore! On a graver note, if they ever start too, perhaps we should all begin to take a deeper interest in world events, but until then; ENJOY IT!!!!! IT'S A CRACKER.
on 18 August 2013
Excellent film about the light brigade regiment and their famous charge into the valley of death. Not based on historical events but really enjoyable to watch. For once Flynn does not get the girl, and in this film it is the lovely Olivia De Havilland.
on 31 December 2012
A faithful rendition of the British Army's greatest - and most glorious - blunder? Of course it isn't! So put that unworthy thought out of your mind, kick your shoes off, sit back and enjoy Hollywood (especially the work of director Michael Curtiz) at its finest.
The storyline - two brothers (Errol Flynn & Patric Knowles) serving in Victorian India with the army, both in love with the delicious Olivia de Havilland - is fairly thin. Apart from the fact that Flynn really should have clipped Knowles round the ear at an early stage of the proceedings to stop that nonsense, it matters little. What does matter is the build up to the action, with beastly Surat Khan indulging himself with wholesale slaughter and - with a little help from his Russian chum - a healthy dose of treachery.
Note, in the ballroom sequence how, with the arrival of Surat Khan and his entourage, Max Steiner cleverly introduces a rather sinister Indian theme into the eight-some reel and in the lead-up to the charge, those unfortunate horses are sweating, their heads nervously jerking from too many rehearsals, which prompts a word of warning: a fearsome device known as `The Running W' was used by the stunt coordinators during the filming. The stuntmen knew when the horse was going to fall - the horse didn't, and the resultant acrobatics of the horses in the charge is pretty wince-making.
I see from the DVD's cover that Jack Sullivan won an Oscar for Best Assistant Director; I can only say, I'm not surprised. When it comes down to it, this is a couple of hours of stiff upper-lipped jingoism at its best with Errol Flynn displaying his considerable acting talents which, in other productions were sadly not always used to their best advantage.
on 1 June 2012
Every young budding actor should study Errol Flynn, his rich gentle voice and the elegance in his walk and the way he moves is sheer magic.
Can not think of one leading man these days to touch him, he had it all and serious acting chops as well, well ahead of his time.
Don't let the age of these films put you off, they are stunning films and he is worth getting to know.
Recently saw the SeaHawk, and he just gets better.
If you want to see one of the "best entrances" in a film ever watch Robin Hood. When he walks through the door of the banquet hall with that deer over his shoulders, I tell you - your knees will start to shake!
Let these films be your Sat/Sun afternoon matinee and it will make your day.
on 8 January 2006
A classic British Empire film set in the backdrop of India and the Crimea. The story begins with a brutal massacre of soldiers in a British garrison in Colonial India. Then the story drifts into the Crimea and in the beautifully shot, Light Brigade charge!
This film is one of the last remaining that makes the British Empire look heroic. The battles are superb and are shot in the way like old western film shootouts!
on 7 December 2013
I saw this film years ago as a youngster and loved it.I sat and watched the DVD (to my wifes disgust) and enjoyed every
minute of it. It is totally historically inaccurate and gung-ho but I loved it. It is a typical Errol Flynn film with plenty of action
and very little story. Great support from the likes of David Niven , Donald Crisp,Olivia De Havilland and Nigel Bruce and
The Charge Of The Light Brigade is a good military film boasting quality action sequences, it's not a true account of the actual event, and it should be noted there is a disclaimer of sorts at the film's beginning.
This telling begins in India in 1850 and leads us up to what would become the Crimean War. Indian chief Surat Khan (C. Henry Gordon) is plotting to sever his ties with the British and pitch his lot in with the Russians in readiness for a total revolt against the Empire. Khan oversees a sneaky bloody massacre of British troops that also see the slaughter of innocent women and children. Pumped up with revenge, Major Vickers (a dashing Errol Flynn) decides to take matters into his own hands and leads a brave charge on the Russians at Balaclava Heights where Khan has fled into hiding.
That's all you need to know as regards the plot, there is a love tryst sub-plot between Vickers, his brother Perry (Patric Knowles) and Elsa Campbell (a radiant Olivia de Havilland), but this is merely a side issue to add impetus to the bravery of the men in the charge. It's a rousing picture that provides a quite breath taking final reel as the charge is brought vividly to life by director Michael Curtiz.
Sadly 200 hundred horses and a stuntman were killed during the shooting of the famous charge, the then legal use of trip wires to impact falling horses taking its toll with very sad results. The practice was brought into the public eye the following year as congress raised the issue about the treatment of animals in motion pictures, thankfully the practice has long since been outlawed. A bit of a sad taint to the film for sure, but it was a golden age for cinema and nobody was doing anything deemed illegal at the time, and lets not hide the fact that the result is truly dynamite. 8/10
Warner Bros. and Michael Curtiz faced a real challenge with their 1936 epic The Charge of the Light Brigade: how to solve the problem of turning the biggest fiasco in British military history into a heroic adventure? Why, ignore history entirely and make it all up instead, of course! Unfortunately, it doesn't quite pull it off, because no matter how entertaining the first hundred minutes are, there's no getting around the stupidity of Donald Crisp's commanding officer or the criminal irresponsibility of Errol Flynn's actions in the last reel, no matter how `noble' his intentions. Nor is it easy to accept the truly vicious horsefalls in the final charge, no matter how spectacular the sequence, although at least the huge number of horses killed in the sequences (along with one stuntman) led to laws being passed to protect animals in films.
Despite the title, the film takes its lead from the previous year's The Lives of a Bengal Lancer and is more interested in revolting natives on the Indian frontier than it is in the Crimean War, with Flynn's dashing cavalry officer surprisingly losing Olivia De Havilland's hand to his brother Patric Knowles while failing to avert a massacre masterminded by C. Henry Gordon's treacherous Surat Khan. The Charge itself is here an act of revenge rather than a ghastly blunder, and is portrayed as the turning point in the war rather than a wasted heroic gesture. But then, when Tony Richardson offered a more historically accurate version in 1968, audiences stayed at home in droves, so the studio clearly knew what they were doing by going for romantic hokum, and darn entertaining hokum at that.
(Incidentally, the theme of animal cruelty is continued in the 1936 Porky Pig cartoon Boom Boom included on the DVD, a bizarre, tasteless - but in an unfunny way - spoof of WW1 that delights in killing animals with high explosives for the first half of its running time!)
The extras on Warners' Region 1 NTSC DVD are good but a little unsatisfying compared to other Errol Flynn titles: this is one film where a documentary would have been particularly useful, but aside from the Warners Night at the Movies selected shorts and an audio commentary, the only extra relating to the film itself is a reissue trailer - a pity since even the original four-minute theatrical trailer included a lot of behind-the-scenes footage.
Difficult to purchase in the UK, I welcomed the opportunity to purchase a copy from an overseas seller. Although the packaging is in Spanish, and the DVD has Spanish subtitles, they can be switched off. For years, this Errol Flynn classic has been one of my favourite all time films. Full of action, with a very strong love interest at the core centre of the story; two brothers love the same woman played by the lovely Olivia de Havilland. Most of the action takes place on the north-west frontier of India with British forces being threatened by a local tribesman, Surit Khan, whose life is once saved by a British officer played by Errol Flynn. After a British garrison is massacred by Khan's tribesmen, the action moves to the Crimea where Khan has taken refuge with Russian forces at Balaclava. The story culminates in the famous Charge along the Valley of Death where Russian lines are broken, albeit with terrible loss to British forces.
Although historically inaccurate, it doesn't matter because, after all, it is just a great action movie. The only downside of the film is that during the filming of the charge, many horses were killed or seriously injured owing to trip wires being used. This led to the film industry being banned from using such devices in future films.
Still, it is a great film to watch, the DVD has good picture and sound bearing in mind the film's age. I do think however, it should be more freely available for purchase in the UK, perhaps even on Blu-Ray.