43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Marvelous action, dubious history. . . .,
This review is from: The Charge of the Light Brigade [VHS] (VHS Tape)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.