The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)

The reckless lancers sweep on and on - so that a woman's heart might not be broken! You're not fighting a single legion - you're fighting the entire British army, Surat Khan!

Major Vickers is an Officer in the 27th Lancers in India in 1856. Whilst the regiment is out on manoeuvres, the barracks are attacked by Surat Khan and his soldiers who massacre British women and children. This leaves an inextinguishable memory and Vickers promises to avenge the dead.

Into the valley of death rode the 600.
The Charge Of The Light Brigade is a good military film boasting quality action sequences, it's not a true account of the actual event, and it should be noted there is a disclaimer of sorts at the film's beginning.
This telling begins in India in 1850 and leads us up to what would become the Crimean War. Indian chief Surat Khan (C. Henry Gordon) is plotting to sever his ties with the British and pitch his lot in with the Russians in readiness for a total revolt against the Empire. Khan oversees a sneaky bloody massacre of British troops that also see the slaughter of innocent women and children. Pumped up with revenge, Major Vickers (a dashing Errol Flynn) decides to take matters into his own hands and leads a brave charge on the Russians at Balaclava Heights which is where Khan has fled into hiding.
That's all you need to know as regards the plot, there is a love tryst sub-plot between Vickers, his brother Perry (Patric Knowles) and Elsa Campbell (a radiant Olivia de Havilland), but this is merely a side issue to add impetus to the bravery of the men in the charge. It's a rousing picture that provides a quite breath taking final reel as the charge is brought vividly to life by director Michael Curtiz.
Sadly many horses and a stuntman were killed during the shooting of the famous charge, the then legal use of trip wires to impact falling horses taking its toll with very tragic results. The practice was brought into the public eye the following year as congress raised the issue about the treatment of animals in motion pictures, thankfully the practice has long since been outlawed. A bit of a sad taint to the film for sure, but it was a golden age for cinema and nobody was doing anything deemed illegal at the time, and lets not hide the fact that the result is truly dynamite. 8/10

Warner Bros. Pictures by Michael Curtiz, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Michael Jacoby, Rowland Leigh.
Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Patric Knowles, Henry Stephenson.

Genres: Action, Adventure, Romance, War

Keywords: ambush british army british empire fort invasion brother attack heroism massacre india death cavalry marriage engagement epic battle fiancée brothers love same woman the light brigade horses british lancers society ball


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