The Lives of a Bengal Lancer
Directed by Henry Hathaway
In this unexpected gem, Col. Tom Stone (Sir. Guy Standing) commands a regiment of the Bengal Lancers that is patrolling the northeast border of British India fighting skirmishes with rebels who hide out in the mountains (of Afghanistan?) . Lt. McGregor (Gary Cooper) greatly resents the colonel’s by-the-books manner. Two fresh replacements arrive, Lt. Forsythe (Franchot Tone) and Lt. Stone, the colonel’s son (Richard Cromwell). Forsythe is a wise cracking pro but Stone is fresh out of Sandhurst and has a lot to learn. To add to his problems, the colonel is determined that there should be no special relationship between father and son. The tension rises when a shipment of ammunition is diverted by the rebels due to a miscalculation by Lt. Stone.
This was a really excellent film and even had me in tears at the end. All the acting is good but I particularly enjoyed Guy Standing’s turn as the colonel who must balance duty with fatherly love. It has the blessed advantage of no romantic subplot so it can concentrate on questions of honor and loyalty. It also delivers on the action and bantering comedy fronts. Warmly recommended.
The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director.