movie film review | chris tookey

Gunga Din

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  Gunga Din Review
Tookey's Rating
6 /10
Average Rating
8.41 /10
Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen , Douglas Fairbanks Jr
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Directed by: George Stevens
Written by: Fred Guiol from Ben Hecht, Charles MacArthur, William Faulkner's story from Rudyard Kipling's poem

Released: 1939
Origin: GB
Length: 117


British sergeants (Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Victor McLaglen) try to look terribly English while holding off the dreaded Thugi and trying to find time for romance (embodied by Joan Fontaine). Poor old Gunga Din (Sam Jaffe), based on Kipling’s faithful native retainer, may be a better man than all of them - but he doesn’t get much of a look in.

Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Rousing, imperialistic tosh, with (for its day) excellent battle sequences imaginatively shot by Joseph August, and brilliantly edited by Henry Berman and John Lockert. The writers were quite sophisticated enough to appreciate the gung-ho foolishness and outmoded values of the story (a variation by Hecht and MacArthur on their own The Front Page ), and wisely decided to embellish it rather than try to tone it down. The result is splendid pastiche, widely regarded as an all-time-great swashbuckler. Unfortunately, time has not been kind to this movie. Seen today, the battles are no longer so thrilling, the humour no longer fresh. Cary Grant's attempt at a Cockney accent is risible - and the depiction of the non-white characters comes across more as insensitive than amusing. But it's still entertaining a a period piece.

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