Sunday, 24 March 2013

Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)

One of Errol's early films in a time when shooting wild cats or even pretending to was seen as fine and displayed with glee. I was surprised how much of the film is quite dark to be honest, the massacre at Chukoti (made up) is not bloody of course but its pretty graphic as is the final charge where horses are clearly throw all over the place (200 actual horses were killed during filming). The stunt men must have earned their pay, yikes!!

Yes an earlier time for sure, animal rights stepped in to halt filming with the horrendous horse massacre on location but the fact they still got away with it and were able to even start shows a different attitude which does cast a nasty spell over this film. The final charge sequence is very good for a film of the this time but its clear where horses have died for the screen, impressive stunts and action but is it worth it??

As for the film its pretty dull throughout, much loving between Havilland and Knowles, much war talk with Flynn and plenty of the 'stiff upper lip old boy'. The usual contracted players as mentioned, they all go well together and shows why Warner stuck them together for many more pictures. Despite the fictional sub plots and characters this does play well if you can take all the talking, as with modern films you are waiting for the final big push and charge. This is where it gets more exciting and our swashbuckling hero Errol begins to shine...but not for long.

Looks good, great garrison sets (actually built for real) amid the scorching heat, costumes are superb as expected and acting is solid from all the cast with solid direction from Warner stalwart Curtiz, its just a bit boring to be honest.