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.