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The Four Feathers (Widescreen)
The Four Feathers
Genres: Indie & Art House

The seventh filming of A.E.W. Mason's classic 1902 novel, this near-epic production of The Four Feathers looks great, sounds great, and feels rather average. It would be difficult to diminish the rousing adventure of Mason...  more »

Movie Details

Genres: Indie & Art House
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House
Studio: Paramount
Format: DVD - Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 02/18/2003
Release Year: 2003
Screens: Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 3
Members Wishing: 0
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Movie Reviews

Appreciate this film for what it is supposed to be!
Don Graeter | Prospect, KY USA | 01/13/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I am very surprised at the number of negative comments about this film. My wife and I both loved it. We found the action scenes and cinematography to both be exceptional. I agree with the criticism that the retreat of the British troops to "form a square" seemed a bit out of kilter in that they seemed almost hopelessly surrounded but somehow escaped. To us, however, this was a small blemish on very believeable action sequences and a very entertaining story. I have seen the 1939 version several times and enjoyed it, but this was much better to me. Those who seem to have a problem with this movie seem to have standards few historical action films would meet. Perhaps they just don't enjoy the genre. I happen to enjoy films such as the Daniel Day-Lewis version of The Last of the Mohicans, The Patriot, etc. If you enjoy those type films, you will almost certainly enjoy this one. If you don't, you won't. This film is not totally true to the book. So what? It's a darn good movie! Just relax, be transported back to the heyday of the British Empire and enjoy a good historical action film with a love story and beautiful action scenes and suspense."
Harry of the Sudan
MICHAEL ACUNA | Southern California United States | 10/05/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Shekhar Kapur's "Elizabeth" was a marvel: incisive, ultra-dramatic, personal, romantic, intimate yet realized on a grand, epic scale. So it was with a great amount of expectation that I approached Kapur's new film, "The Four Feathers."
"The Four Feathers tells the story of one Leftenant Harry Haversham who, upon learning that his regiment is going to fight a war in Sudan, resigns his commission. In 1880 England this is an extreme act of Cowardice and a white feather is the physical manifestation of this cowardice. He is sent four: three from his fellow soldiers and one from Ethne Eustace (Kate Hudson), his fiancé.
The very weak link in this film is Harry's reason for resigning: "I am scared," he says. But not too scared to take it upon himself to go to the Sudan and pose as a Muslim warrior to protect his friends; one in particular, his best friend Jack (Wes Bentley). Huh?
Kapur has directed this film with a firm grasp of all the physical elements: the physical production is flawless and the desert has not looked this beautiful since "Lawrence of Arabia."
The acting is first rate with Heath Ledger, Kate Hudson (a big departure from her role in "Almost Famous"), Wes Bentley and Djimon Hounsou all very effective.
The is a film told on a grand scale with sweeping panoramas, huge, bloody, violent battle scenes and thousands of extras milling about. What it lacks is a personal point of view that would elevate all the physical elements into something that would touch us emotionally: "Four Feather's" is like a big, beautifully wrapped gift with nothing inside. It's emotionally empty and tragically vacant."
A film
Rory B. | Carleton University | 12/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"As a novel, the Four Feathers is an extremely introspective and psychological work, which obviously poses significant problems for whoever intends to adapt it. In reality there is very little action in the book, apart from a very quick knife fight, which again poses problems. I would hazard a guess that the Four Feathers' reputation as a "Victorian epic" is based more in the earlier renditions of the film, rather than in the novel. This new version departs from the novel in a number of ways, but I would argue that this is its' strength, rather than weakness. The filmmakers obviously saw potential in the setting and basic plot of the story, but decided to take it in their own direction. Some would call that blasphemy, but a film is not a book. Maybe the filmmakers looked at the Four Feathers, and didn't WANT to make a movie that was as close to the book as humanly possible. It's their prerogative- because they aren't rewriting the novel-they're making the movie.
Adapting a novel into a film is always tricky, especially when the novel was written a century ago. A lot can change in a hundred years. Still, enough can remain the same, that many fans of the original will nail you to the wall for every inaccuracy and alteration. In the case of "the Four Feathers" there are so many ways you can criticize the new film, that it's almost laughable. Read one or two of the negative reviews below, and you'll see complaints about plot holes, deflated characters, anti-imperialism, and failing to pay homage to the original 4 or 3 or 11 other versions that exist(I've lost count, because I obviously don't care). I'm not going to talk about what "the Four Feathers" isn't, but rather what it IS.
It is a film with breathtaking cinematography, which displays the haunting and forbidding landscape of the Sudan, from the rolling dunes of sand, to the blasted wastes. The film offers a look at a cross section of Imperialism, through the eyes of those affected- from the soldiers enforcing the rule to the people under it. I would disagree with those reviewers who see it as a dig against British tradition alone, but more against the traditions and beliefs that fuelled and supported Imperialism as a whole.
In closing, I'd just like to mention one of the many departures from the book that I felt strengthened the film, was the portrayal of Harry's reasons for refusing to fight. In the book, Harry has already done a tour of duty in India, and it is clear his reasons for refusing, is the thought of leaving Ethne. In the film, he makes some comment about "What does the Queen have to do with Africa" but in reality, that is a ploy, I feel. I think that Harry really is a coward, at least in the Victorian sense. He does not want to fight in war, because he is afraid. But when it comes down to protecting and proving himself to his friends, Harry is able to overcome his fears. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Imperfect but beautiful in it's own right, this film is a va
Mark | East Coast | 08/26/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The Four Feathers is a period piece on English honor during their imperial conquests of the late 1800s. The story line itself is simple. Heath Ledger plays Harry, a soldier who resigns his commission to avoid going to war. Wes Bentley is Jack, his loyal best friend, secretly in love with his fiance', Ethne, played by Kate Hudson. When his friends and fiance' question his courage, he travels alone to the battlefield to regain his honor and save his friends.

But while the story is simple, the execution is monumental. Wes Bentley captures the angst and inner turmoil of doing everything right and still having his friend have the one thing he wants: Ethne's love. Djimon Hounsou also shines as the Sudanese nomad who finds Harry in the desert and befriends him. Kate Hudson and Heath Ledger's acting is good but their full ranges are not utilized here.

This is a really good film that is a visual jewel. This film has been judged harshly by many, and unjustly compared to the 1939 version, in my opinion.
Of the 1939 version of this film, Richard T. Jameson has said "A.E.W. Mason's novel of stiff-upper-lip honor and valor had already been filmed three times (and at least that many remakes have followed, superfluously). This is the only version that matters." Mr. Jameson, I beg to differ.

The Shekhar Kapur version of this movie matters for several reasons. Robert Richardson's cinematography is indeed masterful, with all the hughs and highlights of the desert shining. He has elicited comparisons to Lawrence of Arabia for obvious reasons. But don't forget Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Sheltering Sky." This camera work is really that good that it deserves to be compared to that class of film.

At times the story may seem to lack flow. I believe this was intentionally directed into the film by Shekhar Kapur. The slow uncertainty of the story acts to highlight Harry's indecision. Kate Hudson slowly realizes she is wrong, then slowly accepts her blessings upon his return. Harry slowly realizes his mistake and eventually goes to Sudan. Even Harry's movement across the desert is slow. While he quickly makes up his mind, the pace of the movie outlines the slow arduous task Harry faces in rebuilding the pieces of his life. I believe that Shekhar Kapur has made a valuable film which displays the English fixation with honor and pride and their slow pace to change.

I could see somebody giving this movie a 3 but no lower than that. Overall, I think this is a beautiful film that deserves to be purchased and studied."