24 Apr

At the TCM Classic Movie Festival

Friday, April 27, 2018


Of the eight films co-starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, this romantic epic is one of the least seen, mainly due to complaints about the mistreatment of horses in the thrilling climactic charge inspired by Alfred Tennyson’s poem. In their second film together, Flynn is a British officer in India engaged to de Havilland only to learn she is in love with his brother (Patric Knowles). Departing liberally from history, the film suggests that the love triangle, as well as an act of betrayal by an Indian sultan, are inspiration for the famous charge that took place in 1854. The picture was also inspired by the success of Paramount’s The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935), which forced the production to add The Crimean War scenes at the end in order to avoid charges that they were just aping the earlier film. The picture was shot on a grand scale, with the construction of an entire British garrison in the California desert where the cast worked in severe weather conditions during the massive battle scenes. The use of trip wires led to the deaths of 25 horses, causing a fistfight between the passionate horseman Flynn and director Michael Curtiz. The result of the deaths kept Warner Bros. from reissuing the film and brought about stricter control from the U.S. government over animal use in filmmaking. (d. Michael Curtiz, 115m, 35mm)…

— Tim


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  1. rswilltell

    April 24, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    Thanks to Tim for the reminder of this magnificent film, and not only one of Errol Flynn’s best but also one of the all-time great adventure films. ‘Charge Of The Light Brigade’ is even superior to the classic ‘Lives Of A Bengal Lancer’! Funny thing as a small boy watching this film on television, I mistook the battle in the film’s first half for the French Foreign Legion as the British troopers were wearing kepi hats! Errol Flynn would have been great in ‘Beau Geste’ as well, the 1939 version but that plum went to Gary Cooper! Ralph Schiller

    • Gentleman Tim

      April 25, 2018 at 7:23 pm

      Thaank you so much, Ralph. Man, you really know your movie history! And you couple it so wonderfully with personal memories, insight, and anecdotes. We’re all so very fortunate to have you here.