Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Charge of the Light Brigade

History more often than not tends to take a backseat when it comes to movies (especially those from Hollywood's Golden Age). Admittedly most moviegoers are more interested in action (and perhaps a little romance) than a history lesson. Sure, some focus more on the facts than the spectacle but it's still a rarity.

Michael Curtiz's The Charge of the Light Brigade is no exception. But when you have a film starring Errol Flynn (and his leading lady is Olivia de Havilland), the outcome is obvious if you've seen any of his films. That said, however, it's surprisingly solid beyond its many action sequences.

Altered facts of the real-life events aside, The Charge of the Light Brigade does maintain the viewer's attention from the get-go. (Again, having a dashing leading man like Flynn helps.) As is frequently the case with Curtiz and his films, he knows how to entertain his audiences.

Back to Flynn and de Havilland for a moment. Being the second of their eight collaborations, it was their pairing that was a selling point for The Charge of the Light Brigade. However, the whole romantic subplot feels like it was shoehorned into the story. (That's Golden Age fare for you.)

Though it was quickly overshadowed by the next film between Curtiz, Flynn and de Havilland two years later, The Charge of the Light Brigade still holds its weight after all these years. It's a bit long in the tooth in some scenes, yes, but that's to be expected. Why? It's an Errol Flynn picture, that's why.

My Rating: ****

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