What it lacks in grandeur, this 1978 TV version of The Four Feathers makes up for in fidelity to A.E.W. Mason's classic novel. By cannibalizing the superior 1939 production for epic shots and sequences, this modest adaptat... more »ion draws attention to its meager production values, relying heavily on casting and chemistry to compensate. That it succeeds, more or less, in capturing the essence of Mason's grand adventure is largely due to the appeal of Beau Bridges and Jane Seymour in the prime of their early careers. (Bridges's film career was gaining momentum; Seymour would rise from here to the similarly romantic Somewhere in Time.) Bridges is the shamed soldier Harry Faversham, transcending cowardice by rescuing his closest friends during Britain's bloody campaign in 1870s Sudan; Seymour is his beloved back home, torn between Harry and the seemingly braver Jack (Robert Powell). TV veteran Don Sharp provides tepid direction, while screenwriter Gerald DiPego would continue his prolific career for decades to come. --Jeff Shannon« less
"Although this modest TV movie lacks the big budget and huge numbers that make up the 2002 cinematic version of the A.E.W. Mason novel, it is nonetheless superior in terms of casting and storytelling. The strength of the casting is self-explanatory. As for the storytelling, it is more straightforward and stays closer to the focus of the novel - a young man trying to prove his courage to others after evading the call of duty. Whereas the recent theatrical adaptation goes off into tangents, such as showing audiences the harshness of the Sudanese slave trade and desert climate, this TV movie takes these realities as a given and prefers to concentrate on the European characters instead of the African ones. I personally prefer this TV movie because it gives much more attention to the relationship between a proud soldierly father and a son who never wanted to follow the family tradition. In sum, a simple but effective visual treatment of a basically simple story of bravery, romance, and coming of age.
However, the DVD has less than ten tracks, picture quality that is not really enhanced, and some rather poor sound quality. I watched the DVD with headphones and heard slight hissing that one would expect from a dated VHS recording. For these technical reasons, I can't give full stars to this DVD recording."
Skip this one, get the original!
Darren Harrison | 08/08/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Over half of this movie consists of scenes taken from the original 1939 classic film directed by Zoltan Korda. Even those scenes can't disguise the remake's network TV-movie quality. Beau Bridges is generally a good actor, but he is terribly miscast on this film. Go rent both versions of The Four Feathers and see it for yourself!"
Great movie, but poor transfer
Darren Harrison | Washington D.C. | 10/04/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is my favorite version of the book. The romance between Jane Seymour's Ethne and Beau Bridge's Harry is the key to the story here which is the way it should be. The story (of course) is also solid. However - this is DVD sports an iffy transfer that seems to have been taken from some shoddy elements. The sound also is iffy in parts. I love this movie though so I had no hesitation in picking up this DVD."
Good treatment of the AEW Mason book
Paul Sayles | Japan | 12/31/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This remake of the 1930s version of The Four Feathers remedies some of the deficiencies of the first film. Harry Faversham is a young officer tired of the military, having grown up in the army - his father is a general. He is engaged to a woman who is also of the army, but more inclined to accept it. This then is the basis of the story. Two people, similar backgrounds, different goals. He wants his children to grow up without the Army, she is impressed with a regimental wedding.
War breaks out again in the Sudan and Harry is put to the test - does he stay with the Army. However, before he can have his resignation accepted, a recall of officers occurrs and telegrams arrive at his engagement party demanding the return of Harry and his officer guests to the regiment. Harry burns the telegrams and is seen by one officer. When the officers discover what he has done, each of the three send him a white feather, a sign of cowardice. His fiancee, when she sees this is at first outraged that they would do this, but when Harry tells her what he did, she adds her feather to the other three - making a total of four feathers. The movie is the story of how Harry redeems his honor by giving the four feathers back to their senders, after an act of courage in each case.This movie has better role definition for some charecters that is missing in the '30s version. The general, played by Harry Andrews is exceptional. Jane Seymour as Ethney is also excellent as the woman who scorns a man for a percieved act of cowardice but doesn't see the inner turmoil he is suffering. The three officers do well. They give off the feeling of priviledge leaders common to the British Army of the time.Corners were cut by slicing footage from the 30s edition into the current film. It is grossly apparent and detracts from the current film. It is clumsy and takes away from the quality of the film. Beau Bridges as Harry seems an odd choice. Trying to be British, he doesn't come off as very convincing. His acting is good but I think he is rather miscast in this film.This is a fairly good film. The acting is adequate and the film score is quite good. If you've never seen the 30s version, this is a good start. If you have seen the earlier work, this will be a bit of a disappointment over all."
An excellent movie, not so excellent battle sequences
Susan K. Frisbie | New Hampshire | 09/13/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This version of "The four feathers" is excellent, the story is much deeper than the newest version (starring Heath Ledger). Other reviewers have told you what the story is about, so I won't go into that. This movie has an excellent cast including the following: Beau Bridges, Jane Seymour, and Robert Powell. All of the actors do an excellent job at making you believe that they are who they are. The battle sequences leave more than a little to be desired, but they are excellent for the day. The Love story is very believable and does not include any sexual scenes or unecessary nudity. The man who plays the father is also very good, and I'm glad for all of the back story on why Beau Bridges character is the way he is. Overall, the story is really very good, but it's battle sequences are a saddning part. You can clearly see that a men are not stabbed in several sequences. Well, that is a minor quibble. Anyway, see the movie, it doesn't contain any sexuality (unlike the new version) and that should be a plus for most parents and adults."