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The Four Feathers (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1939)

John Clements , Ralph Richardson , Zoltan Korda  |  NR |  Blu-ray
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Clements, Ralph Richardson, C. Aubrey Smith, June Duprez, Allan Jeayes
  • Directors: Zoltan Korda
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: October 11, 2011
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005DI994W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,347 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

This spectacular Technicolor epic, directed by Zoltán Korda (Jungle Book), is considered the finest of the many adaptations of A.E.W. Mason’s classic 1902 adventure novel about the British Empire’s exploits in Africa, and a crowning achievement of Alexander Korda’s legendary production company, London Films. Set at the end of the nineteenth century, The Four Feathers follows the travails of a young officer (Rembrandt’s John Clements) accused of cowardice after he resigns his post on the eve of a major deployment to Khartoum; he must fight to redeem himself in the eyes of his fellow officers (including The Fallen Idol’s Ralph Richardson) and fiancée (The Thief of Bagdad’s June Duprez). Featuring music by Miklós Rózsa (The Killers) and Oscar-nominated cinematography by Georges Périnal (The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp), The Four Feathers is a thrilling, thunderous epic.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
76 of 80 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
To the modern eye, certain elements and attitudes on exhibit in Zoltan Korda's 1939 adaptation of "The Four Feathers" may appear dated. That's to be expected, really, and shouldn't discourage any real movie lover from appreciating this British epic of unlikely heroism. Once you get past a rather heavy handed beginning--there is much pointed discussion about what makes a man, bravery versus cowardice, and the supreme glory of British imperialism--a terrifically outlandish, but spectacularly entertaining, adventure starts to unfold. With sweeping desert vistas, gorgeous British estates, spectacular battle footage, and impressive location shooting--this is really a film begging for a Criterion restoration as the previous DVD presentations were relatively underwhelming. The film boasts Oscar nominated cinematography, and it deserves to be appreciated and admired for the spectacle that it truly is!

The story revolves around Harry Faversham (John Clements), a British officer who resigns his commission on the eve of his unit being dispatched on an African campaign. Filled with a lifetime of horror stories by his overbearing father and his military cronies, Harry has never aspired to a soldier's life. He took the post to please his father, but upon his death--he feels no need to follow through with the commitment. Branded a coward by his three best friends and his fiancee (he receives a symbolic feather from each), Harry must come to terms with his own self-doubt. Embarking on a ridiculously convoluted scheme, Harry sets off to Africa to prove his manliness and worth to those that turned their backs on him. To say that Harry's journey is rather implausible is an understatement, but it's easy to get swept up in the tale as a straight-up adventure.
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111 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A first rate, rip-roaring adventure story May 4, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Thank god I gave this movie another chance! A few years ago I watched this film on a local public television station. The print they showed, however, was old and worn, with hundreds of lines and specks marring every scene. Also, the color was so badly faded that it almost looked like it was filmmed in black and white.
But reviewing the film on a newly restored and enhanced print was nothing short of a revelation. It was frequently gorgeous to look at, and the high quality of the print allowed me to focus on the story. Many of the scenes were filmmed on location in the Middle East, which greatly added to the appeal of the movie (in American epics of the thirties, even the Crimea and India ended up looking like the Mojave Desert for obvious reasons--reminds me of the funny scene in the second Austin Powers movie, where Austin casually remarks while driving down a road that is clearly on the California coast, "Isn't it amazing how much the coast of England looks like California?").
In 1939, the British film industry still lagged far behind the American film industry in technical proficiency. Alfred Hitchcock, who left England in 1940 to work in the US for the next 25 years, managed to succeed despite the studio shortcomings, but even in his British films of the thirties the gap in sound and basic photographic techniques is all too apparent as we watch the films of that time. One of the great achievements of Producter/Director Alexander Korda (his brother Zoltan directed THE FOUR FEATHERS while Alexander produced and owned the studio that made the film) was making the first films in Great Britain that rivaled the technical (as opposed to cinematic) accomplishments of Hollywood. THE FOUR FEATHERS holds up admirably with most of the big budget films made in Hollywood in 1939.
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59 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RULE BRITANNIA November 18, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
There are films that are classics since the day they are released. This film is one of those. Zoltan Korda shows his elegance and skills presenting us a typical adventure.

Based on the novel by A. W. E Mason, it is the story of young Harry Faversahn born and raised to follow the military life like all his ancestors. Pity that his father is an obssesed of the glories of the Empire, and that his friends bored the child telling stories about battles, slaughters and Baklava (the scene with C. Aubrey Smith explaining the battle with a pineaple and some walnuts is one of the best in the story of cinema).

But Harry is a good boy so he joins the army, trains all day and even has time to conquer beautiful Ethne. With that Harry decides to leave the army, but good things do not last forever, so in the evening of his engagement party his regiment is call to arms. To Egypt to fight against the wicked Egyptian rebels. But Harry refuses and so his former best friends send him three feathers, a sophisticated way to call him a coward. But the fourth, ah! the fourth one is the most terrible of all because is Ethne who gives it to him.

So our hero is an outcast, nodoby loves him, nodoby cares for him. And Harry proving that after all he is a Favershan embarks to Egypt to save his comrades. Disguised as a mute native he saves them all. Crosses the dessert, saves Durrance (who is in love with Ethne too), saves Willoughby and Burroughs from a dreadful prision and evidently gives back each of the four feathers.

The locations and the scenes are espectacular. But also the dialogues. The cast is superb, and propbaly you will end watching the film while humming Rule Britannia.

No adaptation done after has ever reached its level so do not waste your time with others. This is the version.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Unfortunately, the DVD was defective. I had to send it back and received a full refund.
Published 9 days ago by Susan Stedman
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Excellent, a must see for any history buff, highly recommend!
Published 12 days ago by Konrad W. Trautman
5.0 out of 5 stars four feathers looks gorgeous in 'blu ray'still wonderful story telling...
four feathers looks gorgeous in 'blu ray'still wonderful story telling for a movie over 75 years old. Read more
Published 16 days ago by MIKE ROPER
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent movie.
Published 21 days ago by Mr.Anthony Di Carlo
3.0 out of 5 stars Two Ways to Watch this Movie
This movie about British heroism was released in the shadow of the coming World War II. There are, therefore, two ways to watch it. 1. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Okemos56
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This movie is almost as great as I remembered from 50 years ago. A good tale.
Published 1 month ago by W. Tappan Lum
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great classic.
Published 1 month ago by Terry Salas
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good
Published 1 month ago by george wong
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love this story of heroism, courage and bravery!!!
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Being daring is not the same as being courageous.
"Four Feathers" is a well performed, ably filmed, and entertaining morality play concerning courage and cowardice. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Michael Lee Pemberton
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