The Four Feathers Review

Image for The Four Feathers

Harry Faversham was born into his destiny - he will serve in the military. In spite of the comradery offered to him, he choses to flee before the regiment's journey to the Sudan. He is accused of cowardice by his friends and fiancée, and goes to spectac


The flamboyant, autocratic Alexander Korda, often employing his director brother, Zoltan, and his brilliant designer brother Vincent, gave the cinema some of the most memorable movies of the 1930s and 40s. His output now belongs to Central Television Enterprises, who are planning to re-release all of them, and this imaginative undertaking kicks off with a lovingly restored print of The Four Feathers, made in 1939.

Harry Faversham (Clements), son of a famous military family, is destined from boyhood and against his will, for an army career. Although in company with his three closest friends Durrance (Richardson), Willoughby (Allen), and Burroughs (Gray) to whose sister (Duprez) he is engaged, Faversham is unhappy and resigns his commission on the eve of the regiment's departure to fight in the Sudan. His friends and fiancée send him four white feathers, a shaming accusation of cowardice, and he resolves to prove them wrong.

How Harry does this, disguised as a native in the Sudanese desert, is the stuff of this gung-ho, Boys' Own adventure romance, wonderfully photographed in superb colour. The charge of the dervishes and fuzzy-wuzzies (yes, really!) is terrific, and, although a little overlong, the movie is a wonderful romp for schoolboys (and girls) of all ages.

On a serious note, the film is interesting for its jingoistic notions of heroism, parading ethics that couldn't be further removed from the way we think now. Then, too, the antiquated speech of the upper classes - represented by a string of now dead theatrical knights, notably Sir Ralph Richardson hamming his heart out - is quaintly amusing: "Sorry father had to drag Egypt into it... I hope he understands".

Though a little over-long, this movie is a wonderful romp for schoolboys (and girls) of all ages.