Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Lives of a Bengal Lancer


The Lives of a Bengal Lancer is a film of 1935 directed by Henry Hathaway. From a novel by Major Francis Yeats Brown, narrates the heroic action of three young lieutenants to the perilous confines of British India, moved by a sense of duty and the spirit of the body. The film was a resounding success that marked the emergence of a kind for which long remained a reference. Among the keys to success: the strength of the story, the exotic setting, the simplicity in the design of the characters, the pace dry in the action scenes and the charisma of the star Gary Cooper.


After an action which has proved its value but also its strong tendency to insubordination, Lieutenant McGregor is called to welcome two new young officers in the garrison of the 41st Bengal Lancers , the northwest frontier of India. This is Lieutenant Forsythe, by a body of elite called the Blues, and Lieutenant Donald Stone, his first assignment. This is also the son of the strict Colonel Tom Stone commanding the regiment, and who welcomes him with coldness and detachment, covering with the rigidity of military discipline any possible temptation to favoritism. Lieutenant McGregor, contrary to these excesses, takes under his wing the willing but fragile young officer.

When after months of severe apprenticeship there is to take a first step, the colonel gives the command to McGregor but ordered him not to take her son with her. In the risky operation that brings them in contact with the rebels, McGregor manages to contact the infiltrator Barrett who informs him that the rebel leader Mohammed Khan, is about to seize a huge quantity of ammunition, after which they will be ready to launch a massive attack with a broad coalition of rebels. McGregor refers the matter to Colonel Stone who has just had news of an order of ammunition from the emir of Gopal, a great friend of the British Crown. So, rather than anticipate the rebels, he prefers to meet the emir to understand the level of involvement.

Officially, the British expedition moves to accept the invitation to participate in a large boar hunt organized by the Emir. At the court of these, with great wonder, is precisely that which Mohammed Khan was suspected that he had moved the emir to order the same ones that want to steal ammunition to arm the rebels.

The friendly tone of the meetings not coming at all sides, so much so that Khan, leaving Gopal, with the complicity of Tania, a Russian spy who has acted as a decoy, kidnaps Donald Stone and return it to the British at the same time the body of Barrett, who was killed after torture. The colonel, who had also demonstrated considerate towards his son while hunting for wild boar, it shows inflexible in front of the blackmail of the rebels.

McGregor finds it unacceptable that the boy is abandoned and so for having rebelled is placed under arrest. Here, however, convinces her guardian, Lieutenant Forsythe, to desert to save the common man. They went to Mogala, the stronghold of Khan, the two are soon arrested. Subjected to torture, McGregor and Forsythe resist, while Stone ends up giving in, revealing where to retrieve the famous load of ammunition. So, a few days later, while the three are still in the cell, Mogala is celebrating the arrival of the rich booty.

Thanks to the cunning of the three Forsythe able to escape, however, and, thanks to the sacrifice of McGregor, destroy the huge potential of fire of the rebels, particularly in view of the clash with British troops.

The heroic action, decisive for the British success against the rebels, is then rewarded with the accolades of the case. The young Stone was honored by their father, while the highest honor, reserved for the fallen McGregor, is pinned on the saddle of his horse, was no knight.

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