When I first heard there was going to be another Hollywood rendition of this classic film, I was less than enthusiastic. Actually, my sole purpose for going was simply to find out how poorly they’d botch it up so I could lambaste them about it on this fine establishment we call an otter. Well, they certainly showed me.
We headed out from my friend’s home in Keansburg, NJ to the movie house in Hazlet. Despite my coaxing she didn’t speed… this time. We arrived and shelled out the $5.50 for the tickets, then got some popcorn and a soda, since we forwent dinner to see the film. “This ought to be rich” I thought to myself expect stomach-churning nonsense from moment one. Having seen an earlier version of “The Four Feathers” I knew what it was about and what to expect from it.
Their dating for the British Re-conquest of the Sudan was off by about ten years, however, they did do some homework on what sorts of arms, munitions, and uniforms would be worn and had by the British Army in 1885. Ok, one feather in their cap. But would they stick to the storyline of the book? Well, sort of.
Yes, a soldier’s fear of cowardice essentially lands him in hot water with his friends and fiancée. This bit of contention leads to them presenting him with the feathers (one from each of them) a form of social ostracism, which accompanied cowardice in British society. From this he sets off to make things right and prove he’s not a coward, or die trying. After that, as typical of Hollywood, they make drastic and sweeping changes.
Entirely new characters (ones which hadn’t been present in the earlier version I saw) mysteriously popped up. Entirely new scenes added, or minor scenes embellished upon. This wasn’t entirely a bad thing; scenes, which were blown over earlier due to budget constraints, could be drawn out a bit more. Battle scenes were enhanced.
All in all, it wasn't bad. Could it have been better, oh most assuredly it could have. It also could have been a million times worse and for what it's worth, I'm surprised Hollywood did so well with it. My hat's off to them. Now if they ever do a remake of "Zulu" and try to pull this sort of thing with that film, I'll raise an army of highly agitated British and Common Wealth thugs and raze Hollywood to the last director.
I'll give it three flying squirrels at the trap range. Not too bad, but there's room for improvement.