Robert S. Clay Jr. | St. Louis, MO., USA | 02/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"From the standpoint of history, artistic license abounds in this classic adventure movie. In fairness, the filmmaker posts a disclaimer of the historical veracity of the film right at the beginning. Errol Flynn is at his flamboyant best as dashing English officer, Geofrrey Vickers. He vies with his brother (Patrick Knowles) for the love of Olivia DeHavilland. Romantic sublplots aside, Flynn and an army of supporting actors hold the thin red line of 19th century British imperialism. C. Henry Gordon is evilly conniving as Surat Khan, leader of the fictional Suristan faction. When England cuts off his money, Surat Khan wages war against the British interlopers. After Surat Khan massacres non-combatants at the garrison of Chokoti (sp.?), India is too hot to hold him. In typical Hollywood fashion, the action shifts to the Crimea at Sebastopol where the British face the Russians at Balaklava Heights. As an inside joke, the Russian commander bears an uncanny resemblance to Joseph Stalin. Who should be collaborating with the Russians but Surat Khan? Vickers, still burning with anger over the massacre of innocents, discovers this and he forges orders for the Light Brigade to attack. Under the direction of Michael Curtiz, the slam-bang action sequences of this movie provide memorable thrills. The fighting at Chokoti is both exciting and unsettling as women and children fall before rebel bullets. The staging of the charge is impressive, if controversial. Many of the horses were destroyed because of injuries from the deliberate tripping. As the lancers charge into the face of roaring canon, to the right of them, to the left of them, in front of them, quotes from Tennyson's poem appear on screen. The shot of the fallen lancer still holding aloft the billowing Union Jack in his lifeless hand is great imagery. "When can their glory fade?" Filmed in glorious B&W, this classic action/adventure film is a good example of the quality product of the Warner Brothers film sutdio at its Depression Era height. Enjoy the old fashioned fun. ;-)"
A Classic forgotton by DVD
fdelrose | Frederick, Md USA | 05/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here we have one of the ten best Hollywood adventure, historical (with the normal Hollywood bending of the facts) romances of all time. A movie that all later adventure movies, like the Indiana Jones series, owe a dept to and yet you can not find it or 'Gunga Din' or 'The Sea Hawk'etc. on DVD. Every junky movie that lasted only a week in theaters in the past ten years you can find on DVD but hardly any of the CLASSICS from the 30's or 40's. When will Hollywood wake up?"
Marvelous action, dubious history. . . .
John A. Kuczma | Marietta, GA USA | 12/21/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Hollywood version of the Charge of the Light Brigade is one of the most rousing action pictures ever produced. As Errol Flynn vehicles go, it stands perfectly alongside They Died With Their Boots On as superior filmmaking based only loosely on history.With that said, forget the history lesson and enjoy the movie. Flynn is predictably heroic as Captain, then Major, Jeffrey Vickers of the 27th Lancers. He begins the film in the far reaches of India, first sharing hunting excursions with and later hunting the duplicitous Surat Khan (very villainous and very ficticious).His romantic interest is the ever beautiful Olivia DeHaviland who, strangely enough, actually falls for Flynn's younger brother, Percy. Ever gallant, Major Vickers ensures that his brother is out of harm's way and safe to return to the woman both love but he cannot have.Of course, the climax of the film is the charge itself, brilliantly staged with mounting speed, tension and ferocity as the words of Lord Tennyson's immortal poem are superimposed over it. This is one of the most famous and breathtaking action sequences in the history of cinematography, and is well worth waiting through the movie for, although by far not the only piece of derring-do in the film.If The Charge of the Light Brigade had not remained well known for its charm as a movie, it would have been remembered for a far different reason. The incredible realism of the climactic cavalry charge was achieved at a heavy cost. So many horses were seriously injured or killed in the making of this picture that humane organizations worldwide demanded that such excesses never again be undertaken. The next time you see the disclaimer "No animals were harmed in the making of the film," you now know why.All that aside, The Charge of the Light Brigade is a wonderfully entertaining production. Like all the best films of its time, it mixes action, romance, adventure and a healthy serving of humor to provide a tremendously satisfying experience.If you want to know the history, read the book. If you want to have some fun, watch the movie."
Bring it on to DVD
Lance C. Liebl | 06/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This version of "The Charge Of the Light Brigade" has to be viewed with an open mind. Don't compare it to the movies nowadays with all the computer generated battle scenes. Imagine watching hundreds of actual horses & riders charging in line. The complexity of such a shot is enormous. Unfortunately, hundreds of horses were hurt and placed out of their misery. But that was the common way of doing things then. As for the acting, Errol Flynn is a dashing figure and even his death in the movie has dignity. Personally, I hate his brother (for stealing his girl while he was away), and his former fiance for hurting this hero. She is as much at fault for his death as the enemy. His broken heart definitely leads him in part to his destructive, suicidal end. As a child I loved this film and thru out my 40+ years, I have tried to view it whenever it shows. I obtained a video copy which is very worn now. All I need to say is BRING IT TO DVD. I thought it would be in Errol Flynn's box set recently released but was disappointed not to see it there. One of his best films and the studio still resists putting it on DVD. My children (ages 12 to 21)enjoy the old movies, because I showed them what it means to make a movie without all the technology of today. Those were the days of "lasting" stars, not the "fast shooting and disappearing" stars of today."
Flynn's Classic Fictional Charge
Roger Kennedy | 09/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This classic movie is based VERY losely on History. At least Hollywood didn't go out of its way to appear accurate and not be so, as it often does pretenciously today. This movie is sheer entertainment with faint resemblences of history. The massacre portrayed of the garrison in India is losely based on an incident during the Seapoy Mutiny of 1857. Here the Indian mutineers crually did what is shown in the movie more or less. Of course there was no Captain Vickers, or 27th Lancers, although they can pass for the 17th Lancers who were in the actual charge. This movie is a visual delight, and is a fast passed epic. The costumes and uniforms are reasonably accurate, which is pretty good for those days. Flynn is his usual dashing self, and a tender looking David Niven in his first role is amusing to see. Although I care more for how a movie presents history as opposed to who acts in it, I do give both of these actors as well as de Haviland credit for a good job. They all fit their roles nicely. The true highlight of this film is of course the famous Charge against the Russian Don Cossack Horse Artillery Battery, which is portrayed looking like an entire army here! Still, the charge sequence for all that is superb, with really painful looking falls for the extras as well as the horses. Many horses were hurt shoting this film, and rules toward better treatment of them were revisesd as a result. But in those days people and animals took second place to movie making history! Today we have technology and computer graphics to spare all the hardships of yesturday. See this film for the heyday of epic film making, even though the history is whacked, I don't mind! And neither should you. Compared to the Politically Correct stuff that is mostly done today it is refreshing. For an interesting comparison check out the British re-make of the Charge of the Light Brigade in 1968. You will hardly find two movies more unlike each other! Enjoy."