Northwest Frontier (1959)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
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as Capt. Scott
as Catherine Wyatt
as Van Leyden
as Lady Wyndham
as Sir John Wyndham
as Prince Kishnan
as Brittish Corresponde...
as American Corresponde...
as Staff Colonel
as Brigadier Ames
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In "Northwest Frontier," it is 1905 and a rebellion is starting in northern India. In the nick of time, Captain Scott(Kenneth More) spirits six-year old Prince Kishan(Govind Raja Ross), who is seen as the hope of his people, away towards Delhi with the help of his governess Mrs. Catherine Wyatt(Lauren Bacall). They arrive in Haserabad just after the last train has left(I hate it when that happens). Getting out proves harder than getting in as a state of siege sets in. So, Scott orders Gupta(I.S. Johar) to ready an archaic train engine to try to break it.
"Northwest Frontier" is a rousing and suspenseful adventure film that starts in media res and only lets up for the occasional breath of air. Even with a familiar plot of disparate characters traveling together through dangerous territory, there is some intelligent conversation, even if the overall tone is not as enlightened as I would like. And somehow I just cannot buy Lauren Bacall trying to be demure.
Flame Over India (aka "Northwest Frontier")
Starring: Kenneth More, Lauren Bacall, Herbert Lom, and I.S. Johar
Director: J. Lee Thompson
As a tribal uprising engulfs a province in British-held India, Captain Scott (More) is charged with getting a Hindu prince and his American nanny, Catherine (Bacall) to safety. Reinforcing a dilapitated old locomotive and its railcars as best he can, Scott, a small detatchment of troops, and a handful of civilians, break through the enemy's lines and start chugging their way to friendly territory. However, not only are they now a moving target for the rebels, but it soon becomes apparent that there's a traitor on board the train who is ready to kill the prince if the opportunity presents itself.
"Flame Over India' is a classic action flick with fantastic performances by all leading actors and supporting cast. The film is further remarkable in the way it handles issues like British imperialism and religious fanaticism without launching into extended screeds (as is the habit in modern films). There are also numerous tense moments--I found the scene where the crew have to repair damaged tracks while under the threat of the tribes-men finding them to be one of the best staged ones--and the battle scenes are expertly executed.
Lauren Bacall is spectacular as ever, truly shining in the role as a feisty (yet never ugly) American... and this is another role for her that proves that there really aren't any current actresses that can even come close to the skill and talent of the leading laides of Bacall's generation. More also deserves to be singled out for his wonderful portrayal of the innovative, never-say-die, ever-professional British military man who will lead the train to safety over the enemies' dead bodys. More and Bacall also made a great on-screen, with believable sparks flying every time their characters lock horns.
If you like well-acted historical action dramas (or even war movies, because this fits into that category too), "Flame Over India" is a great way to spend a coule of hours.
Unfortunately, "Flame Over India" is of those great movies that no one has seen fit to give a full-fledged DVD treatment to. The only DVD edition I'm aware of is the one that Catcom Home Video did a few years back, where they paired it "Zulu" ([URL=http://www.rottentomatoes.com/vine/journal_view.php?journalid=245672&entryid=285769&view=public]review here[/URL]) on a single disc, and even it may be out of print. I looked it its [URL=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?link_code=as2&path=ASIN/B00067ZNA4&tag=stevemillesdo-20&camp=1789&creative=9325]listing at Amazon.com[/URL], and the barren nature of it, coupled witn the six-week shipping window, makes me think that the "Catcom Double Feature: Zulu"/Flame Over India" is actually out of print. That's a shame, because $6 for two great movies is a fabulous price!
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