Stars: John Clements, Ralph Richardson, C. Aubrey Smith, June Duprez, Allan Jeayes
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Romance
Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Runtime: 129 minutes
What it lacks in grandeur, this 1978 TV version of The Four Feathers makes up for in fidelity to A.E.W. Mason's classic novel. By cannibalizing the superior 1939 production for epic shots and sequences, this modest adaptation draws attention to its meager production values, relying heavily on casting and chemistry to compensate. That it succeeds, more or less, in capturing the essence of Mason's grand adventure is largely due to the appeal of Beau Bridges and Jane Seymour in the prime of their early careers. (Bridges's film career was gaining momentum; Seymour would rise from here to the similarly romantic Somewhere in Time.) Bridges is the shamed soldier Harry Faversham, transcending cowardice by rescuing his closest friends during Britain's bloody campaign in 1870s Sudan; Seymour is his beloved back home, torn between Harry and the seemingly braver Jack (Robert Powell). TV veteran Don Sharp provides tepid direction, while screenwriter Gerald DiPego would continue his prolific career for decades to come. --Jeff Shannon
Willoughby, you look wonderful, darling.
It's Miss Willoughby.
A hair is out of place there, Tom.
When are you gentlemen going to grow up?
Gentlemen! Did he call us gentlemen?
I believe he did.
I won't take that from him.
Nor will I.
When something like this happens you are lost. You don't know who you are anymore and what you're capable of. Unless I do something this is always how people will remember me. A feather. And that is how I will always see myself: a coward. All I know is that I can't live with myself like this.
You may be lost but you are not forgotten. The soldier's greatest comfort is to have his friends close at hand. In the heat of battle it ceases to be an idea or a flag for which we fight. Rather we fight for the man on our right or left. When the years fall away all that remains are the memories of those precious moments we spent side by side.