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Montag, 17. November 2014

North West Frontier (titled Flame Over India (US) and Empress of India( Australia) - Movie Review 5

Hi guys,

this weekly review talks about a other movie in time of British India and belong the North West Frontier. The title of the movie is given in three forms:

Regular : North West Frontier
US: Flame Over India
Australia: Empress of India

It is is a 1959 British CinemaScope adventure film starring Kenneth More and Lauren Bacall.
The film is set in the North West Frontier Province of British India, which now lies within modern Pakistan. The film explores tensions between Hindu and Muslim Indians as Muslim rebels attack a fortress to kill a young Hindu maharajah.
- from Wikipedia

That shows the plot:
North West Frontier, British India, 1905: a Hindu maharajah asks British Army Captain Scott (Kenneth More) to take his son, Prince Kishan, to the safety of the Governor's Residence in Haserabad because a Muslim uprising has begun in his province. Accompanying them is a widow, Mrs Wyatt (Lauren Bacall), the prince's American nanny/governess. Soon after leaving, the rebels storm the palace and kill the maharajah.
On arrival at Haserabad, Captain Scott sees that the last trainful of local Hindus and Europeans are leaving on the last train to Kalapur. After it leaves, the rebels close in and take control of the outer wall and gate beside the railway yard. The British governor then tells Scott that he must take the young prince to Kalapur because it has become too dangerous to keep him in Haserabad. In the railyard, the British captain discovers the Empress of India, an old, obsolete engine lovingly cared for by its driver Gupta (I. S. Johar) and a battered old carriage.
In the early hours of the next morning, Captain Scott quietly loads the passengers on the train. They include Mrs Wyatt, Prince Kishan, arms dealer Mr Peters (Eugene Deckers), British ex-pat Mr Bridie (Wilfrid Hyde-White), Lady Wyndham (the governor's wife), two Indian NCOs and half-Dutch, half-Indonesian journalist Mr Peter van Leyden (Herbert Lom). To avoid detection the Empress freewheels out of the yard, but unexpectedly the old engine lets off her whistle, alerting the rebels to the plan, so Gupta engages the steam to smash through the outer gate.
Later that morning, the train encounters the refugee train that had left the day before. It is found that everyone on board had been massacred by the rebels. But Mrs Wyatt, who rebuffs Captain Scott's order to remain on her train, finds one survivor; a small baby who was concealed by his mother's body.
The next morning, the train has to stop because part of the track has been blown up. However, they then realise that the rebels are already waiting for them in the surrounding mountains. The rebels' cover is blown when Mrs Wyatt spots a light shining at the mountain summit, which turns out to be a heliograph, the method of communication the rebels are using. With the job barely finished, the train gets away under a hail of gunfire. Gupta is hit in the arm but he survives.
Later on that day, while stopping to refill the engine's tanks, Scott walks into the pump house to find Van Leyden allowing Prince Kishan to stand dangerously close to the spinning flywheel. During the night, Mr Van Leyden again approaches the prince only to notice Lady Wyndham staring at him.
The train then reaches a large viaduct bridge which has been damaged by a bomb although the rails remain intact. All the passengers disembark and carefully cross the broken section. But again Van Leyden's behaviour nearly results in the prince's death because he held him too short almost letting him fall. Captain Scott accuses Van Leyden of trying to kill the prince. The reporter is placed under arrest. After that, Captain Scott (under the guidance of Gupta) then carefully drives the train across the broken section.
While going through a tunnel later on, Van Leyden (who was under guard in the luggage compartment) uses the opportunity to overpower his guard. He then uses a Maxim machine gun to hold the passengers hostage. But he cannot kill Prince Kishnan immediately because he is riding on the engine outside. Eventually Scott returns to the carriage with the young prince, after spotting more heliograph signals used by the rebels, showing they've been waiting for them again, but they are saved as Van Leyden is knocked off balance at the crucial moment. The British officer Scott pursues Van Leyden onto the carriage roof. However it is Mrs Wyatt who shoots and kills Van Leyden just as he is about to finish off Scott. The rebels catch up with the train on horseback, however they have to stop when it enters a two-mile-long tunnel. On the other side, the train and its passengers reach the safety of Kalapur. At the station Prince Kishan is met by senior Hindus, Gupta is taken to hospital, Lady Wyndham is informed her husband is safe because the rebels withdrew with the departure of the prince and Scott and Mrs Wyatt leave together. - from Wikipedia
Sorry that I have taken a long summary of Wikipedia. But I do believe that this film is not very well known. I consider him to be a little gem from the old days. It is well made and has voltage even though one knows quickly who is good and evil.

That was from India for the time being. Over the next three weeks, I dedicate myself another British Dominion, namely Canada. Also there are hidden old classic movies, because America is not only US cavalry and cowboys ....

I will start with: Pony Soldier


Michael Peterson hat gesagt…

What a terrific find! Kenneth More and Lauren Bacall are two great actors, I must look for this. Thanks so much.
Good luck with your cinema tour of my country, Canada. Looking forward to hearing about the movies you watch.

Phil hat gesagt…

Glad to see these pictures, Lauren Bacall is definitivly a legend!