Brilliant British war movie “The Four Feathers” (1939) starring John Clements, June Duprez, Ralph Richardson among others.
The story is set in the closing stages of the 19th century when British forces are engaged in a war with Sudan’s ruling elite. Harry Faversham (John Clements) has grown up hating war and is not at all interested in armed combat. Yet he is forced to don army boots in order to pacify his father who thinks he is a coward.
An engagement is announced between Harry and Ethne Burroughs (June Duprez) but Harry resigns his commission before his regiment is due to depart to Egypt. His three friends John Durrance (Ralph Richardson), Thomas Willoughby (Jack Allen) and Peter Burroughs (Donald Grey) tease him by giving him a card with white feathers a sign of cowardice. Upon receiving this, he demands the fourth feather from his fiancee who is upset at him not going to war.
Then the story is all about our hero Harry going over to Egypt, masquerading as a local Svengali, infiltrating their ranks and helping the British troops win the war against the Sudanese and redeeming himself against his friends and his fiancee. Very beautifully made movie with clean direction, excellent cinematography, some very good war scenes, good script and some decent acting. IMDB 8/10
What a wonderfully cute Albanian movie “Tomka and his friends” (1977) directed by Xhanfise Keko. Tomka and his little friends in a small Albanian village like to play football in their village playground. All that changes when Germans come to occupy their village and set up camp in their playground. Tomka and his friends continue to play football in whatever is left of the playground. They are a bunch of cute little kids patriotic to their fellow country men and angry at the fascists. Tomka is a little older and wiser for his age. Tomka and his friends are called up to do small little things to help the Albanians in their fight against the Germans, like finding out where the canal ends in the German camp, feeding poison to the German dog etc. All very lovely young kids with their enthusiasm and playfulness combined. All of them have acted wonderfully in the movie. It is a tribute to Xhanfise Keko that he has been able to get such lovely acting from the kids in the movie. The cinematography, camera work, music, story, direction, photography and all are top class. Not much of complications in the movie, a simple movie of daring do by young kids against fascist forces. Must watch for the true movie connoisseur. It is available on youtube with English sub titles.
A kind of a fairy tale movie, Silent Night (2002) is apparently a true story of an encounter at the height of the world war II between three Americans and three Germans in the house of a German lady for one night. Both set of soldiers got lost and sought refuge in her house, first the Americans and then the Germans trooping in. Initial bit of hostility between the soldiers and then the slow thawing bit, sharing dinner, wine, dessert and Germans helping out the American injured soldier. Linda Hamilton plays the hostess in the movie. Nothing much in the movie to talk about. Its an average movie by any standards.
A classic Alfred Hitchcock movie (1944) that is shot entirely on a lifeboat. A ship is torpedoed in the second world war and few of the inhabitants find refuge in a lifeboat. Among them are a columnist Connie Porter (Tallulah Bankhead) Alice MacKenzie (Mary Anderson). Also pulled in is a German guy who does not speak English. Initially there is much resistance to the German’s presence on the boat but they allow him to survive considering he is a prisoner of war. Subsequently they have to depend on the German navigation skills when a storm breaks out. They all assume they are heading for Bermuda on the basis of sun position and planets but the German knows otherwise. Its a cat and mouse psychological drama played between the characters on the lifeboat. Meanwhile one guy Gus Smith (William Bendix) has to have his leg amputated as gangrene sets in. They run out of water and food and there is a lot of flare up between the characters. There is love interest between Stanley (Hume Cronyn) and Alice and sparks fly between Connie and John Kovac (John Hodiak). The story is written by John Steinbeck of the “Grapes of Wrath” fame. Alfred Hitchcock has done a brilliant job with the direction, but it is the cinematography which is breathtaking. Shot entirely in black and white, the film did run into some controversy with its sympathetic portrayal of the Germans. This is one movie in which Alfred Hitchcock does not appear himself in a cameo role, he could not have since the movie was shot entirely on a lifeboat.