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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 »
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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:

Las cuatro plumas 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

This movie was shot partially on-location on the East bank of the Nile where the historical incidents depicted in the movie occurred in 1898. See more »

Goofs

At c.48 minutes a Dervish warrior is seen blowing on a native musical instrument. However, the soundtrack uses the unmistakable sound of a muted (and very modern) trumpet. See more »

Quotes

General Faversham: There's no place in England for a coward.
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

Featured in Dad's Army: The Two and a Half Feathers (1970) 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

 
Britain Beats Hollywood At Its Own Game
28 July 2005 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

It's ridiculous that movies like THE FULL MONTY and 28 DAYS LATER that have a British producer , director and screenwriter that were filmed entirely in Britain with an entirely British cast are not classed " British " simply because they were made by American studios . Somewhat ironic then that one of greatest British - And I mean truly British -films owes so much to the Korda brothers who came to this country from Hungary while the man responsible for the breath taking colour cinematography was from France

But I'm not going to be internationalist about THE FOUR FEATHERS because this is a movie that makes you proud to be British , something that is sadly no longer allowed to happen these days . Perhaps the most stirring thing I can say about this movie is the way it wipes the floor with the contemporary competition that was coming out of Hollywood at the time . While the American studio were making similar monochrome movies with Errol Flynn and David Niven as the leads Ralph Richardson's performance alone is a reason to watch this movie and even if it wasn't there's still the story itself featuring themes like courage , honour , romance and redemption . You want battle scenes ? There's several in this movie as well choreographed as any thing seen in cinema at this time but perhaps the most what sets this British movie apart from other movies that were being produced across the pond is that it's a bit more gritty and sadistic than what Hollywood was producing . In one scene a British officer is flogged like a dog and he screams in pain as the camera pans on to the Mufti's face , a face lit up in sadistic glee , then the scene cross fades into a crowded dungeon where the prisoners are kept , a dark hell hole where the audience can actually taste the pain , fear and misery from the unfortunate prisoners . Even in those days Hollywood would pull their punches while a film like THE FOUR FEATHERSwould not

Sadly THE FOUR FEATHERS was released in 1939 which meant it qualified for the legendary Oscar ceremony the following year when GONE WITH THE WIND swept the board . A great pity because this very British movie deserved a hat full of awards . Sadly too Britain no longer has a film industry of its own and is reliant upon American finance , but perhaps the saddest thing is even if we did have a film industry no one in the business would want to film such an exciting historical epic in case they were labeled reactionary or racist


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