HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Anna
Moulin Rouge
Ray & Liz
African Queen, The
Helen Morgan Story, The
Golem, Der
Yentl
Finishing Line, The
Triple Threat
Mysterious Castle in the Carpathians, The
Driven
Planet of the Dinosaurs
Gwen
Big Breadwinner Hog
Thunder Road
Moby Dick
Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie
Mad Room, The
Phantom of the Megaplex
Night Sitter, The
Child's Play
Power, The
Midsommar
After Midnight
Dolemite is My Name
Varda by Agnes
Toy Story 4
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy
Man Who Never Was, The
Greener Grass
Scobie Malone
Gangster, the Cop, the Devil, The
Brightburn
Satanic Panic
Claudine
Harpoon
Great Northfield Minnesota Raid, The
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
   
 
Newest Articles
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
   
 
  North West Frontier Keeping The Engine RunningBuy this film here.
Year: 1959
Director: J. Lee Thompson
Stars: Kenneth More, Lauren Bacall, Herbert Lom, Wilfrid Hyde-White, I.S. Johar, Ursula Jeans, Eugene Deckers, Ian Hunter, Jack Gwillim, Govind Raja Ross, Basil Hoskins, S.M. Asgaralli, S.S. Chowdhary, Moultrie Kelsall, Lionel Murton, Jaron Yaltan, Homi Bode
Genre: Drama, Action, Adventure
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: North West India, 1905, and there has been unrest there for some time as a result of Moslem rebels trying to overthrow the British rulers and the Hindus who control the region. Now it looks as if the rebels have their chance as they lay siege to the Rajah's palace and kill him, with his five-year-old son (Govind Raja Ross) the only heir and the sole hope that there may be stability achieved in the area. But first the British authorities must free the young boy from danger, and to do that they have to smuggle him out of the place on a rickety steam train...

Obviously in 1959 there was one British film star who would be man enough for that task, no, not John Mills but Kenneth More, beloved by audiences in his home nation for his good humour, unswerving sense of decency, and ability to keep his head while under pressure. Playing Captain Scott, he was ideal as the officer in whose hands the mission is safe, but the plot was not as straightforward as it might have appeared on the surface, as there were hidden depths as well as perils to be taken into account, not to mention a capable ensemble cast who were rather marvelous under the circumstances. Although often called the British Stagecoach, that was not to denigrate the quality here.

Indeed, in comparison with the John Ford classic this might not have been its equal in renown and reputation, but it was every bit as effective at both getting the adrenaline pumping and delving into the character interplay, and in some ways it bettered it as in that earlier favourite nobody began to discuss the justification for the American Indians' warlike behaviour and which side was really more moral. While the Moslems are ostensibly the villains as they wish to kill the little prince, you could just as well say the British have played their part in sending the situation into these dire results in the first place, and Scott is by no means given a pass simply because he is a soldier in a supposedly more civilised army.

So every time there is a lull in the action, the script (based on a story in part by Ford's son) filled up these stretches with the characters onboard the train stating their cases and finding some kind of agreement which was escaping those battling in the surrounding countryside. It was this intelligence which highlighted the difference between a simple rollicking adventure and a work which was a cut above the ordinary tales of derring do which preoccupied the cinema of the United Kingdom of this era - director J. Lee Thompson had already demonstrated his skill with merging the two angles in the acknowledged classic Ice Cold in Alex, and with this proved his worth with both the actors and the more kinetic sequences. The Brits did love their locomotive-based movies, and North West Frontier could hold its head high with the best of them.

Among that cast were Lauren Bacall as the resourceful wife of a doctor who she has lost along the way, an American who is none too convinced by the benefits of any side and sees the more personal picture as she tries to help those caught in the crossfire: an excellent performance, and far preferable to the weaker, more admiring heroine lesser films might have depicted. Then there was Herbert Lom, superb as the journalist who invites himself onto the train and proceeds to demolish the complacency of the other passengers with his sly wits - but is he capable of turning against them? He certainly seems to be welcoming the inevitable break up of the Empire, lending the proceedings even more of a siege mentality which amped up the tension significantly.

Wilfrid Hyde-White too may have been playing his usual silly ass Englishman, but he sees his polite, almost unthinking concern for humanity tested when he must face up to the fact there are a lot of violent people out there who don't deal in such niceties. Popular Indian comedian I.S. Johar also struck a humane note as the driver, humorous but no token he as he lightly explains how killing is anathema to him, but he can accept - and lament - why it has come to this in his native land. Suspense and action sequences including ambushes and a nearly destroyed bridge for the train to travel over added to the excitement, accompanied by increasingly terse conversations which alternated with an understanding - but which would win the by the end of the day? Although not as lauded as it should be, often lumped in with more staid and stodgy adventures, North West Frontier deserved every bit of praise it received. Music by Mischa Spoliansky.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1751 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

J. Lee Thompson  (1914 - 2002)

Veteran British director frequently in Hollywood, usually with stories featuring an adventure or thriller slant. Among his many films, including a number of Charles Bronson movies, are Yield to the Night, Ice Cold in Alex, North West Frontier, the original Cape Fear, Tiger Bay, The Guns of Navarone, What a Way To Go!, Eye of the Devil, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Battle for the Planet of the Apes and Happy Birthday to Me.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: