|Tony Richardson Director||previously directed The Loved One|
The Charge of the Light Brigade is a historical drama telling the events leading up to and the events of the famous charge of the 600 into the valley of death at the Battle of Balaclava.
The film incorrectly portrays Captain Nolan, instead of Captain John Reynolds, at the centre of the 'black bottle' affair when Moselle wine was ordered for a guest, rather than the champagne that Lord Cardigan had required.2 More Trivia
A far more accurate remake of the 1936 version starring Errol Flynn of the same name.
8 More Quotes
It will be a sad day for England when her armies are officered by men who know too well what they are doing- it smacks of murder.
|Trevor Howard||Lord Cardigan|
|Vanessa Redgrave||Mrs. Clarissa Morris|
|John Gielgud||Lord Raglan|
|Harry Andrews||Lord Lucan|
|Jill Bennett||Mrs. Fanny Duberly|
|David Hemmings||Capt. Louis Edward Nolan|
|Ben Aris||Capt. Fitz Maxse|
|Mickey Baker||Trooper Metcalfe|
|Peter Bowles||Paymaster Capt. Henry Duberly|
|Leo Britt||Gen. Scarlett|
|See Full Credits|
The Charge of the Light Brigade is a more historically accurate telling of the events leading up to the Crimean War and the actual charge itself in 1854, than the original 1936 version starring Errol Flynn. It was directed by Tony Richardson and starred Trevor Howard, David Hemmings and was the first film of Natasha Richardson. The animated sequences were put together by Richard Williams.
Charles Wood wrote the screenplay, based on a draft written by John Osborne. The aim of the film was to be brutally realistic and authentic, based in part on the research in Cecil Woodham-Smith's The Reason Why from 1953. The film included animation sequences throughout by Richard Williams, based on the contemporary graphic style of Punch Magazine, in order to explain the political events surrounding the battle. Laurence Harvey had originally purchased the film rights for The Reason Why for his own production company and Joseph E. Levine. Harvey was so keen on making a film of the events that he had supposedly even been bidding for the actual bugle from the charge when it came up for auction. As part of the settlement over the rights to th book Harvey was to be given a role in the film, however it was completely cut out in the editing.
Captain Louis Nolan is newly returned to Britain from India where he has seen action in the army as a cavalry officer and is now joining the 11th Hussars and their commanding officer Lord Cardigan. The two officers do not hit it off on their first meeting when Cardigan discovers that Nolan is a professional soldier and has served in India, something that is looked down upon by those rich enough to buy their advancement. Things get worse when one night in the officers mess Nolan has not heard that Lord Cardigan has ordered that only champaign is to be drunk and orders a black bottle, leading to Cardigan exploding in rage and having Nolan placed under arrest. This situation leaks to the papers and Nolan is forced to seek help from Lord Raglan, the head of the army, when he is denied the choice of a court martial so his case can be heard. Raglan puts an end to the dispute but the two officers are far from happy with each other, leading to Nolan being transferred to the staff.
The Russians have been asserting their strength by attacking Turkey and this causes the British and French to come to Turkey's aid. The army is to leave Britain and be led by the old and forgetful Lord Raglan and the cavalry will be commanded by Lord Lucan, while under his command is Lord Cardigan who will command the Light Brigade. Neither Lucan of Cardigan like each other and immediately begin trying to one up the other. As the army lands in the Crimea with aim of ceasing Sevastopol they are struck down with a cholera outbreak and dysentery. They still press on to their objective and defeat the Russians at the Battle of the Alma. Nolan however is not pleased as the cavalry just sat and watched the battle and did not take part.
The army receives intelligence that the Russians are going to attack their positions overlooking the city of Sevastopol and Lord Raglan is not pleased to hear the news from a spy, something he feels is under hand. As day breaks the Russians attack and seize the British redoubts and artillery. Nolan demands that the cavalry is released to stop this insult and is given the order to take the message to Lucan and Cardigan. Sic neither of them can see the artillery being taken away from their vantage point they ask Nolan where they are to go and he mistakenly points to the wrong valley. With the orders received the Light Brigade heads off into the valley. Nolan quickly realises they are going into the wrong valley and tries to stop them but is killed but the Russian artillery. Thus the Light Brigade charges the guns and is cut to pieces but does not loose heart and volunteers to go again after they have been beaten back even though they have no horses. Lord Cardigan is immediately blamed for the catastrophe but in turn blames Lucan who gave the order, who then in turn blames Raglan for the order.
Tony Richardson was a notoriously difficult person to work with and to preserve authenticity, no male actors used makeup, and female actors only used what makeup was available during the mid-19th Century. The uniforms in the battle scenes were distressed, for authenticity. Later, when the London scenes were filmed, fresh uniforms had to be made. Unusual lenses and lighting effects were used throughout the film to give it the feel of Daguerreotype and other older photographic processes, thereby giving the movie more of a feeling for the time. At one point he wanted to change the colour of the British Infantry uniforms to blue, as he thought this would look better on screen and only relented when Boris Mollo, the films military and historic adviser, threatened to quit.
Upton the films release to was met with generally high praise and was nominated for 6 BAFTA awards including, best actor for Trevor Howard, best cinematography, and best costume design, but failed to win any of its nominations.
|blog||My British history season||MrWright|
|review||An interesting film that evenly fails and succeeds. (3 out of 5)||MrWright|