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The Four Feathers (1939)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 4 August 1939 (USA)
A timid British Army officer has quit and burns his last day summons to a war in Egypt. Calling him a coward, his girl friend and 3 officer friends give him a white feather. In redemption, he shadows his friends in war to save their lives.

Director:

Zoltan Korda

Writers:

A.E.W. Mason (by), R.C. Sherriff (screen play) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Clements John Clements ... Harry Faversham
Ralph Richardson ... Captain John Durrance
C. Aubrey Smith ... General Burroughs
June Duprez ... Ethne Burroughs
Allan Jeayes Allan Jeayes ... General Faversham
Jack Allen ... Lieutenant Willoughby
Donald Gray Donald Gray ... Peter Burroughs
Frederick Culley Frederick Culley ... Dr. Sutton
Clive Baxter Clive Baxter ... Young Harry Faversham
Robert Rendel ... Colonel
Archibald Batty Archibald Batty ... Adjutant
Derek Elphinstone Derek Elphinstone ... Lieutenant Parker
Hal Walters Hal Walters ... Joe
Norman Pierce Norman Pierce ... Sergeant Brown
Henry Oscar ... Dr. Harraz
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Storyline

Resigning his commission on the eve of his unit's deployment against Egyptian rebels, a British officer seeks to redeem his cowardice by secretly aiding his former comrades, disguised as an Arab. When his unit is overwhelmed and captured by the rebels, the hero finds an opportunity to return the "feathers" of cowardice sent to him by his former comrades by freeing them.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Real Adventure! Real Life in the Raw! (from re-release print ad) See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 August 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Four Feathers See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For historical accuracy, Zoltan Korda hired a military Technical Advisor, Brigadier Hector Campbell, and had him drill the actors and extras exactly the same as soldiers would have been in the period of this movie's setting. See more »

Goofs

The position of Durrance changes after he falls the second time, to include the angle of his arm, and the position and orientation of the hat. See more »

Quotes

Harry Faversham: I am a coward, Doctor. If I'd been anything but a soldier I might have lived my whole life and concealed it. But to be a soldier *and* a coward is to be an impostor, a menace to the men whose lives are in your hands.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: In 1885 the rebellious army of cruel dervishes enslaved and killed many thousands of defenceless natives in the Sudan, then laid siege to Khartoum. The scanty garrison's heroic commander, General Gordon appealed for help from England - but no help reached him. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

The British Grenadiers
(uncredited)
Traditional
Heard during the departure of the second lot of troops
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Love, honor and courage--British style!
13 May 2001 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

A British army officer is forced to redeem himself after being branded a coward by his Army buddies and the woman he loves. Improbably, he decides to go off to the war in the Sudan to rescue his fallen comrades. That is the gist of this story--but it makes a powerful, absorbing British film in excellent early Technicolor.

June Duprez is the scornful woman, pretty as a picture in the only feminine role. Uncharismatic British actor John Clements is only adequate as the man who receives the "four feathers" and must redeem himself--but Ralph Richardson has the most memorable scenes as the sun-struck soldier who loses his helmet under the blazing sun and is blinded. Many gripping scenes as the hero undertakes a long journey to the Sudan.

Handsome Alexander Korda production rightfully deserves its ranking as a screen classic of 1939, but I have to say it's not without its faults as far as the structure of the story goes.

First of all, too much time is spent on hundreds of extras in battle scenes that become repetitious after awhile and interrupt the flow of the story and what is happening with our hero. Furthermore, the actor chosen for the "stiff upper lip" role of Haversham is John Clements, and much of his performance is too stiff to come alive. A more appealing and charismatic actor from that era would have sufficed and made the story stronger. Thirdly, there's a hint of incredibility in the tale of a man who would go to such extremes to regain his honor and go on a mission in which he would be reunited with the very men who scorned him. A bit much in the realm of credibility, but it does make a good story.

Summing up: Good adventure tale in which C. Aubrey Smith has one of his most memorable character roles as a stuffy "Colonel Blimp" type of career soldier recounting his favorite war tales.


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