Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Best Chatsworth Movies -- The Lives of a Bengal Lancer

The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935) starring Gary Cooper, Franchot Tone and Richard Cromwell was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture.


On the Northwest Frontier of India, the 41st Bengal Lancers commanded by a stern Colonel Tom Stone (Guy Standing) are defending the borders of India against an Afridi armed force led the rebellious Mohammed Khan (Douglass Dumbrille).

Experienced -- but sometimes defiant -- professional soldier Lieutenant Alan McGregor (Gary Cooper) is joined by two replacements, arrogant Lt. Forsythe (Franchot Tone) and Lt. Donald Stone (Richard Cromwell) -- the immature son of Colonel Stone. 

Colonel Stone's reception to his son is unemotional and cold with the intention of showing he will not have any privilege in the troop.

The storyline follows the three as they struggle against invaders and themselves.  

When Lieutenant Stone is kidnapped by Mohammed Khan, McGregor and Forsythe disobey direct orders of Colonel Tom Stone, disguise as Indian peddlers and go to Khan's fortress to attempt to rescue their friend.  Unfortunately, they are caught as well.

When Mohammed Khan tortures his prisoners to extract vital information about an ammunition caravan young Lt. Stone succumbs to the pain and reveals what he knows.  As a result, the ammunition is captured

The captives escape as the outmatched Bengal Lancers deploy to assault Khan's fortress.  They manage to destroy the ammunition and Stone redeems himself by killing Khan, ensuring victory.


Gary Cooper as Lt. Alan McGregor
Franchot Tone as Lt. Forsythe
Richard Cromwell as Lt. Donald Stone
Guy Standing as Col. Tom Stone (as Sir Guy Standing)
C. Aubrey Smith as Maj. Hamilton

Kathleen Burke as Tania Volkanskaya
Douglass Dumbrille as Mohammed Khan (as Douglas Dumbrille)
Monte Blue as Hamzulla Khan
Colin Tapley as Lt. Barrett
Akim Tamiroff as Otamanu, emir of Gopal
J. Carrol Naish as Grand Vizier
Noble Johnson as Ram Singh
Lumsden Hare as Maj. Gen. Sir Thomas Woodley
Jameson Thomas as Hendrickson

This film is a real treat for Iverson Movie Ranch researchers.  It features some extraordinary footage filmed at 'the Wall' and in the Iverson Gorge on the lower ranch.

The film is absolutely riveting with an explosive climax near the end.  I hardily recommend watching it. 

For more information about the Chatsworth filming locations visit http://www.cowboyup.com/ and learn about my books: Rendezvous at Boulder Pass: Hollywood's Fantasyland © 2010 (ISBN: 978-0-615-21522-8) and Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas © 2008 (ISBN: 978-0-615-21499-3)

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