The Valley of Death

06 Mar

March 5, 1936

Harrison Carrol
LA Evening Herald Express

Movie location scouts have found a replica of Tennyson’s famous near Chatsworth, Cal., and the scene will shortly become one of Hollywood’s biggest sets. The picture, of course, is The Charge of the Light Brigade. Warner Bros had to find a valley floor big enough for the operations of 300 infantry and of 690 calvarymen. Tennyson’s poem had only 600 calvarymen in the charge, but studio research depts. are more accurate than poets and they have determined that 690 calvarymen actually stormed the Russian fortifications.

These fortifications, to be erected upon the top of the hills forming one wall of the valley, are to be on a grand scale. No miniatures for this battle scene, which, if you remember, finds the English the French and the Turks pitted against the armies of the czar.

Looking toward an English market for this Crimean War special, Warners is out to get a British cast to support Irish-born Errol Flynn in his second screen appearance. They have cabled Irving Asher to test the best available young actors in London for the role of Flynn’s younger brother.

“The Battle of Balaclava is one of the most famous battles of all time, despite being a comparatively minor engagement in the Crimean War. The futile heroics of the soldiers who fought there may have gone relatively unnoticed if not for a picture and a poem.”

“The battle itself is fraught with anecdotes and personalities that combine to make legend. The events of October 25th, 1854 evolve like the episodes of a Greek tragedy, with the fate of the soldiers hinging on the acts of a handful of characters.”

Battle of Balaclava – Poems, Pictures, and Immortality

— Tim


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