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The Four Feathers (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Four Feathers is one of the best early action films, and certainly one of the best early epics of cinema. Read morePublished 21 days ago by B. Adducchio
Didn't see anything im comments about not playing on US DVD players. When tried to watch movie, says plays in zone B only. (That's Europe by the way). Read morePublished 1 month ago by Helen McMullen
Absolutely perfect movie...Direction, location and acting; it is a classic.Published 2 months ago by Steven Argyle
The Criterion edition of The Four Feathers looks beautiful. The Technicolor restoration is vivid and crisp, making the on-location filming in the Sudan breathtaking. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Stephen Reginald
Made in the late 1930's but none the less a visual blockbuster of British Army Officer life in the 1890 Sudan Campaigns.Published 2 months ago by Peter Nice
Saw this version when I was a child in the 1940's and am so pleased to have it. The issue of cowardice made quite an impression on me back then.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
i thought it a verry fine movie when it was first in theaters and it hasnt lost a thing over the years.Published 3 months ago by Robert M. Ferguson
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