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Charge Of The Light Brigade, The (1968)

Tony Richardson’s disapproving rendition of the infamously disastrous Crimean War cavalry charge disappointed many upon its 1968 release, shorn as it was of the revisionist sabre-rattling that made the wholly inaccurate 1936 Errol Flynn version such fun.

The film chronicles the events that led to the British involvement in the Crimean War, notably the siege of Sebastopol and the Battle of Balaclava.

chargeoflightbrigade

The film’s tone, a drawn-out retrospective raspberry blown at the complacency of the 19th-century officer class and the romantic myth of military glory, make it something of a companion piece to another contemporary anti-war film, Robert Altman’s M*A*S*H (1970).

Richardson’s film’s passionate provocation draws much of its venom from Charles Wood’s barbed, witty screenplay, while Richard William’s animated sequences add distancing interludes and a veritable parade of top brass thesps – Gielgud, Howard, Redgrave, Andrews – fruitily incarnate the major historical players.

The first two-thirds of the film set the scene on the home-front where gung-ho militarism and jingoistic press coverage stokes up the oncoming slaughter on the Crimean fields portrayed with sweeping panache in the final third of the film.

Lord Cardigan
Trevor Howard
Mrs Clarissa Morris
Vanessa Redgrave
Lord Raglan
John Gielgud
Lord Lucan
Harry Andrews
Fanny Duberly
Jill Bennett
Capt. Louis Edward Nolan
David Hemmings
Capt. Fitz Maxse
Ben Aris
Trooper Metcalfe
Mickey Baker
Capt. Henry Duberly
Peter Bowles
Gen. Scarlett
Leo Britt
Capt. William Morris
Mark Burns
Trooper Mitchell
John J. Carney
Lady Scarlett
Helen Cherry
Lt. Col. Douglas
Ambrose Coghill
Lt. Gen. Sir George Brown
Howard Marion-Crawford
Gen. Airey
Mark Dignam
Marshall St. Arnaud
Georges Douking
Lord Bingham
Richard Graydon
Mrs. Codrington
Rachel Kempson
William Russel
T.P. McKenna
Maj. Gen. Sir John Campbell
Michael Miller
Capt. Featherstonhaugh
Corin Redgrave
Sgt. Maj. Corbett
Norman Rossington
Sgt. Maj. Smith
John Trenaman
Capt. Charteris
Colin Vancao

Director
Tony Richardson