HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Becky
Salon Kitty
Misbehaviour
Charles, Dead or Alive
Gretel and Hansel
Mademoiselle
Tunnel, The
India Song
Last Rhino, The
Made in Hong Kong
Ring of Spies
Rom Boys: 40 Years of Rad
Pocketful of Miracles
The Tomb: Devil's Revenge
Sidecar Racers
Space Dogs
Out/Marriage
Safety Last!
Bride Who Has Returned from Hell, The
Show Boat
Savage
City Called Dragon, A
I Used to Go Here
Six Suspects
Still the Water
Not Now, Comrade
I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Wives of the Skies
Two Heads Creek
Next Stop, Greenwich Village
Captain, The
Great Wall, A
Trout, The
Zorba the Greek
Horror Crowd, The
Matthias & Maxime
Bullet for the President, A
Constant Husband, The
Anbessa
Man in Grey, The
   
 
Newest Articles
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
Tackling the Football Film: The Arsenal Stadium Mystery on Blu-ray
Film Noir's Golden Couple: This Gun for Hire on Blu-ray
The Doctor Who Connection: Invasion on Blu-ray
Hill's Angles: Benny Hill and Who Done It? on Blu-ray
Big Willie Style: Keep It Up Downstairs on Blu-ray
Walt's Vault: 5 Cult Movies on Disney+
Paradise Lost: Walkabout on Blu-ray
Buster Makes Us Feel Good: Buster Keaton - 3 Films (Volume 3) on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 3 - Don't Go Away - I Could Do with a Bit of Cheer Now!
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
   
 
  North West Frontier Keeping The Engine Running
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, AdventureBuy from Amazon
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 2097 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 is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: