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The Charge of the Light Brigade ()

directed by
featuring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Patric Knowles, Henry Stephenson, Donald Crisp, Nigel Bruce

Of the many film versions of Alfred Lord Tennyson's narrative poem, 1936's Charge of the Light Brigade has the least relationship to the facts concerning the famous 19th century British military blunder in the Crimea. Reflecting the popularity of 1935's Lives of A Bengal Lancer, the film uses the climactic charge as the culmination of events which begin in British India. Errol Flynn and Patric Knowles are cast as cavalry officers who are also brothers; both love Olivia De Havilland, but it is Knowles who wins out (this should tip us off that the rest of the film is pure fantasy). Indian potentate C. Henry Gordon, angered that the British government has cut off his subsidy, stages a revolt against the English settlements. Ordered on maneuvers, Flynn is unable to bring rescue troops to the besieged fort commanded by De Havilland's father. Gordon supervises the slaughter of every man, woman and child at the fort, then leaves India in the company of his Russian advisors. Flynn and his fellow Light Brigade lancers are then transferred to the Crimea--where, as luck would have it, Gordon is now ensconced with the Russians. Thirsting for revenge, Flynn falsifies an official order so that he and the Light Brigade can battle Gordon and his allies at Balaclava (thus are Britons Lord Cardigan and Lord Ragan, the actual instigators of the doomed charge, exonerated). As passages from the Tennyson poem are superimposed on the action, Flynn leads a suicidal charge against the Russians; he manages to kill the treacherous Gordon before being slain himself. Its dozens of historical inaccuracies aside, The Charge of the Light Brigade is rousing entertainment. Animal lovers be warned, however: several horses were killed during the climactic charge, a fact that compelled Hollywood (under the auspices of the ASPCA) to install safer and more stringent standards concerning the treatment of animals. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi Hide synopsis

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  • 1. VHS, Warner Brothers, 1994

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Reviews of The Charge of the Light Brigade

Overall customer rating: 5.000
mahdi1rayattnet

The Charge of the Light Brigade (Errol Flynn)

by mahdi1rayattnet on Feb 26, 2009

This is a work of fiction from the Golden Age of Hollywood and should not be taken seriously. It should be compared and contrasted with the 1968 film, with the same name, which is an Anti-War epic. This film would be of interest to classic movie buffs and as an amusing diversion to wargamers and military historians.

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