Monday, December 6, 2010

The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935)

First let me explain the seeming grammatical error in the title. A bengal lancer was a division of British soldiers in India so "lives" is correctly used in the plural.

Second let me note that this was one of best movies I've seen from the entire decade of the 1930s. The acting was very good, the writing was excellent, and the story was unpredictable. Henry Hathaway, who later directed True Grit, earned the only Oscar nomination of his career here.

A rigid Colonel, who subordinate Gary Cooper constantly refers to as the Ramrod, is disconcerted to hear that his son has been transferred to their company. He insists that the boy receive no special treatment. To a fault the Colonel has always put duty above all else. When the boy goes missing and they learn he has been taken prisoner, the Colonel is torn but says they cannot go after him. For Cooper this is the last straw and he goes anyway.

A film filled with far more nuance and character depth than most movies of its period, or today.

91 to go...

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