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Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Academy Award winner Victor McLaglen star in Rudyard Kipling's classic tale of the noble Indian Gunga Din. British Colonial India. Three regimental sergeants of the Raj (Grant, McLaglen and Fairbanks, Jr.), accompanied by their native-born water carrier, Gunga Din (Sam Jaffe), are assigned to protect a remote village from a gang of murderous religious fanatics. The small band finds adventure along the frontier of the subcontinent, but finally, overwhelmed in battle and facing certain death, the British soldiers are saved by the selfless heroism of the valiant Gunga Din.]]>
Top Customer Reviews
The setting, outside the small town of Lone Pine, in California's eastern Sierras, beautifully mirrors that of northwestern India. Filmed in 100 degree heat, the picture's sets and backgrounds have a look of sere authenticity rarely achieved by location filming in the '30's. The superb score borders on the operatic, with leitmotifs for characters as well as scenes.
I vividly remember thinking as a child, when I first saw a grainy print on our b&w tv, that this was the first time I had seen a non-white person in a film who was obviously smarter than the Caucasian heroes. Yes, Cianelli's guru is a fanatic at the head of a cult of ritual murderers, but his discourse on what makes a good officer ("Great generals, gentlemen, are not made of jeweled swords and mustache wax. They are made of what is here [touches hand to head] and here [touches hand to heart]!") has stayed with me ever since.Read more ›
Having grown up watching this on New York's "Million Dollar Movie," then airing on an RKO-owned TV station and thus dominated by the erstwhile studio's earlier hits, I was oblivious to the abrupt edits and grainy image quality already creeping into the televised prints. It was enough to savor Cary Grant's loopy, comic performance (as Archibald Cutter, arguably the closest he ever got onscreen to his true working class identity as Archie Leach), Doug Fairbanks, Jr.'s virtuous elegance, Victor McLaglen's signature bluster, and Sam Jaffe's soulful valor. By the time the veddy British colonel (Montagu Love) recited Kipling's title poem as an elegy for a fallen hero, you couldn't be sure if the print really had gotten that murky, or if your vision was blurred by the tears unleashed by the shameless (and highly effective) sentiment of the scene.
Flash forward to the '70s and Los Angeles, when the feisty Z Channel, a cable upstart actually programmed by movie buffs, wanted to air the movie. They approached the director's son, George Stevens, Jr., about finding a better print, perhaps one closer to the original release.Read more ›
There are action movies, there are good action movies, and there is George Stevens' 1939 GUNGA DIN, the greatest action movie ever filmed. It has it all, as the director's son George Stevens, Jr. reminds us in the recent `making of' feature bundled with this dvd - humor, action and humanity. Not - alas - romance (poor Joan Fontaine.) A disappointing, albeit beautiful, actress up to that point, Fontaine is nothing much than a plot device used to lure one of the film's soldiers three - Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. - away from the other two, Victor McLaglen and Cary Grant.
In that same feature are some circa 1985 interview clips of Fairbanks, who tells us that while filming some of the actors wondered if GUNGA DIN was dosed a little too liberally with humor. Indeed, few action movies this side of Indiana Jones are quite so persistently jaunty, few lean so close to slapstick. Grant has the lead comic role, but McLaglen and Fairbanks have their share of gags as well. It's not a comedy, but the humor adds essential air to the proceedings.
The bad guys in GUNGA DIN are malevolent, grim, Kali (the Goddess of Destruction) worshiping Thuggees. The Thuggees are a deadly threat who aren't allowed a slapstick moment. If GUNGA DIN'S humor adds a necessary lightness, the Thuggee menace adds essential weight. These guys are creepy, evil incarnate, and it's in the battles with them - especially the breathtaking grand battle at the end - that the movie generates its thrills.
We have only to account for that rarest of action movie qualities George Jr. mentioned - humanity. Of course, it's embodied in the title character Gunga Din, played by the then relatively unknown Sam Jaffe.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Phenomenal movie; fantastic cast. One of our top 25 movies of all time.Published 1 month ago by Lynne P.
A movie that everyone should see. I have seen it a dozen times and it is always fresh. Thanks, Bugler.Published 2 months ago by Steven Argyle
One of the all-time greats. My husband introduced me to it and now I am an ardent fan too. MOST ENJOYABLE. See for yourself.Published 2 months ago by jacqueline m leonard
i recently looked at this pic again after many years and my reaction was completely different from what it was supposed to be.....damn the British Empire! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Michelone
Superb movie....made even better now that we accidentally found the location for its filming! Bought the movie so that we could see one of our most favorite camping sites. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
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