Love the Concept of Honor Portrayed Here
Robert Cyr | Deerfield, IL United States | 10/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film has the greatest line I've heard about honor. When asked by a superior officer, "Do you place your own honor above that of the regiment's," the principled young officer responds, "No, Sir. They must be one."
Yep, that's it alright."
Splendid Look at the Old Raj!
Roger Kennedy | 11/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a wonderful period piece. What makes this movie exceptional is the splendid depiction of regimental life in Old Raj India. The 20th Indian Light Horse, a lance armed unit as shown in the film was typical of the old Indian army created by the British. The unit is portrayed in the film by the Presidential Guard of Pakistan who seem to maintain the old traditions of the past.
The beginning of the film shows a musical ride with the cavalry perfroming a unique dressage display highlighting formation movements that were typical of the day. These were usually accompanied to regimental music as shown in the film. This unique display is rarely seen nowadays, although the Household Cavalry in London have been known to perform similier displays.
I have gone on about the period details of this film to indicate what a fine production it is over all. As for the cast you can not find a more glittering example than here. Some of the finest English actors of the 1960s and 70s are here. As usual Richard Attenborough puts on a stellar performance as the deranged Major of the regiment. One is remided here of another great film he did like this in GUNS OF BATASI. The remaining cast is equally superb.
No doubt such regimental scandal was often covered up as shown in the film. Such was not only common to the British, but to every army. And remains so to this day for sure! The officers shown here are all victims of a peacetime army one could say. For so many years the Anglo-Indian army was mostly on peace time establishment that many often went mad with bordum. Add also the oppressive heat and the unique circumstances of service in a strange and rich environment where Europeans reigned supreme; and its not surprsing that events as shown here may have taken place from time to time.
This is not a war film per se, but more a study of regimental life. The movie shows how traditions and honor can sometimes mean the opposite of what they appear, which none the less provide a code of conduct for the officer class. It's important not to view this movie with a 21st century perspective. Try to see it within the context of its time and place.
Enjoy then what is a splendid period piece with great actors and fine sets, all lushly woven together into a tight storyline with a good deal of suspence. Unfortunately there are no extras in this DVD edition, but its great to see this classic back again.
Hard to comprehend in 2006
Paul R. Jones | Kentucky | 08/05/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Honor, loyalty, comradship and most of all the Regiment. Concepts difficult to relate to in the 21st century. Are they really relative? This question I really can't answer, but it is eminently worth pondering. This movie and its stage play predecessor pose those questions. One must understand the attitude of people living in a foreign country, the change this makes on their attitudes, combine this with being an infallible being in that country, add strong tradition to the mix and you have the crux of this extremely well acted and written film. I recommend it very highly"
A matter of honor
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 08/23/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Despite the boast of being 'filmed in location on the NorthWest Frontier and in Pakistan,' it's painfully obvious that none of the cast of Conduct Unbecoming ever got nearer to the NorthWest Frontier than the Shepperton Taste of Moghul Tandoori restaurant during their lunch break, with location filming clearly being limited to the director and a second unit shooting a few stock shots of cavalry and trains. With most of the money going on the impressive cast (Richard Attenborough, Christopher Plummer, Trevor Howard, James Donald and Stacey Keach in the days when he was still allowed into the UK without being detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure among them), the cutaways and resulting back-projection work are particularly poor, so it's a relief that this surprisingly gripping courtroom mystery spends most of its running time indoors as young officer Michael York reluctantly has to defend James Faulkner's black sheep of a distinguished family from a charge of assaulting Susannah York's widow of a regimental hero. As this is a matter of honour, to protect the good name of the regiment the case is heard by an unofficial 'Subaltern's Court Martial,' with the idealistic defender having it made clear that he's expected to just go through the motions by both the foreman and his own client: naturally, he does nothing of the sort, uncovering a nest of vipers and threatening to destroy his own career in the process. This adaptation of the kind of drama that used to be derisively called 'the well-made play' probably looked old-fashioned in 1976, but that tends to work in its favour today when being relevant isn't quite so important. It's no classic, but it is an entertaining way to pass a couple of hours.