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Four Feathers [Import]

Beau Bridges , Robert Powell , Don Sharp    Unrated   VHS Tape
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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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

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit to Predictable Sept. 7 2003
Format:VHS Tape
The story line was interesting and intriquing at first but than it became to predictable. It also seems a bit far fetched that each man that gave him the white feathers, for what they took as pure cowardice, were all in such dire needs of rescue. How could he be there at the exact time they were in need and be the only one who could take over the feat of saving them from their eventual demise. The ending was to much of a predictablility. If I were the man, even if I am a woman, I don't think I would want to see the girl again, the girl he was in love with betrayed him and also gave him a white feather for cowardice. The one thing that I did get from the movie was how a parent can take something that a child finds interest in, being a soldier, setting up strategy for wartime, as witnessed in his childhood playtime, and making it seem inferior. He seemed to not be able to reward his child's imaginings but almost to compete with them. This in turn tainted the boys interest and replaced it with fear or negative energy. The movie only touched on this at the beginning and at the very end. This was what made the movie worthwhile to me. Also I like Jane Seymore as an actress and she is quite beautiful in this film. Beau Bridges does a good job in his role, seemed different as compared to other films I have seen him in.
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4.0 out of 5 stars simple is better Jan. 2 2003
Format:DVD
Although this modest TV movie lacks the big budget and huge numbers that make up the 2002 cinematic version of the A.E.W. Mason novel, it is nonetheless superior in terms of casting and storytelling. The strength of the casting is self-explanatory. As for the storytelling, it is more straightforward and stays closer to the focus of the novel - a young man trying to prove his courage to others after evading the call of duty. Whereas the recent theatrical adaptation goes off into tangents, such as showing audiences the harshness of the Sudanese slave trade and desert climate, this TV movie takes these realities as a given and prefers to concentrate on the European characters instead of the African ones. I personally prefer this TV movie because it gives much more attention to the relationship between a proud soldierly father and a son who never wanted to follow the family tradition. In sum, a simple but effective visual treatment of a basically simple story of bravery, romance, and coming of age.
However, the DVD has less than ten tracks, picture quality that is not really enhanced, and some rather poor sound quality. I watched the DVD with headphones and heard slight hissing that one would expect from a dated VHS recording. For these technical reasons, I can't give full stars to this DVD recording.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good treatment of the AEW Mason book Dec 30 2002
Format:VHS Tape
This remake of the 1930s version of The Four Feathers remedies some of the deficiencies of the first film.
Harry Faversham is a young officer tired of the military, having grown up in the army - his father is a general. He is engaged to a woman who is also of the army, but more inclined to accept it. This then is the basis of the story. Two people, similar backgrounds, different goals. He wants his children to grow up without the Army, she is impressed with a regimental wedding.
War breaks out again in the Sudan and Harry is put to the test - does he stay with the Army. However, before he can have his resignation accepted, a recall of officers occurrs and telegrams arrive at his engagement party demanding the return of Harry and his officer guests to the regiment. Harry burns the telegrams and is seen by one officer.
When the officers discover what he has done, each of the three send him a white feather, a sign of cowardice. His fiancee, when she sees this is at first outraged that they would do this, but when Harry tells her what he did, she adds her feather to the other three - making a total of four feathers. The movie is the story of how Harry redeems his honor by giving the four feathers back to their senders, after an act of courage in each case.
This movie has better role definition for some charecters that is missing in the '30s version. The general, played by Harry Andrews is exceptional. Jane Seymour as Ethney is also excellent as the woman who scorns a man for a percieved act of cowardice but doesn't see the inner turmoil he is suffering. The three officers do well. They give off the feeling of priviledge leaders common to the British Army of the time.
Corners were cut by slicing footage from the 30s edition into the current film.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Better in some ways than the 1939 Version Jan. 24 2003
Format:VHS Tape
First let me say that this movie DOES NOT use footage from the original. This is a rumor that has been spread for some reason and it is incorrect ... It does depict the fuzzy wuzzies in a very realistic light and their assault on the british square is quite good. They really look the part and they are actually bounding which as any good reader of kipling knows they did quite well,, "The Bounding Beggars!" Their hair really fits their nick name to ;)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, but poor transfer Oct. 4 2002
Format:DVD
This is my favorite version of the book. The romance between Jane Seymour's Ethne and Beau Bridge's Harry is the key to the story here which is the way it should be. The story (of course) is also solid. However - this is DVD sports an iffy transfer that seems to have been taken from some shoddy elements. The sound also is iffy in parts. I love this movie though so I had no hesitation in picking up this DVD.
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