Four Feathers, The (1939, John Clements, Ralph Richardson)

Poster for the movie "The Four Feathers"
NR 129 min - War, Adventure, Drama, Romance - 20 April 1939
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A classic adventure film, The Four Feathers is the story of Harry Faversham (John Clements), the son of a military man who's expected to carry on in the family tradition.

Faversham resigns his commission when his regiment is ordered to the Sudan and is branded a coward by his fiancee, Ethne Burroughs (June Duprez), daughter of an officer (C. Aubrey Smith), and by his three friends: Durrance (Ralph Richardson); Burroughs, his fiancee's brother (Donald Gray); and Willoughby (Jack Allen). They send him their cards, each with a white feather (a symbol of cowardice) attached. Faversham him-self attaches a feather to Ethne's card.

Questioning his conscience, Faversham sets out on his own for Egypt. With the help of a doctor, he disguises himself as a Singli (North African natives who bear a mark on their foreheads and are without tongues). He infiltrates a group of fanatics and is able to warn the British soldiers of an attack.

The regiment is under the command of Durrance, who keeps secret the fact that he's been blinded. After the battle, Durrance is left for dead but is found by Faversham, who leads him to safety—quietly slipping into his old friend's pocket the card bearing the white feather. Faversham also manages to rescue Burroughs and Willoughby from prison—winning the day and Ethne's hand.

Filmed on location, The Four Feathers is based on A.E.W. Mason's 1901 novel, previously made into movies in 1915, 1921, and 1928. This version was the work of the Brothers Korda (Alexander produced, Zoltan directed, and Vincent was art director). Zoltan Korda also directed the 1955 remake, Storm Over the Nile, which used location footage from the 1939 production. A TV movie was made in 1977.

Action, spectacle, and romance make this epic of bravery and tradition an evergreen entertainment.


Director:  Zoltan Korda
Director of Photography:  Georges Périnal

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Production Details

Production Companies:  London Film Productions

Release Date:  20 April 1939

Running Time:  2 h 09 min

Genres: War, Adventure, Drama, Romance
Country:   United Kingdom

Language:  English

Budget and Box Office takings where known