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The Black Watch (1929) DVD

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The Black Watch (1929)


 John Ford


 James Kevin McGuinness (dialogue), Talbot Mundy (novel)


 Victor McLaglen, Myrna Loy, David Torrence
In this early talkie from director John Ford, a Scottish captain and his regiment are sent to India during WW I and assigned to quell a native uprising in the Northern mountains. Unfortunately, soon after arriving, he gets drunk and seemingly kills another officer during a barroom fight. He escapes capture and disappears into the crowd. Now wanted as a renegade, he involves himself with a beautiful but sadistic native princess, a direct descendant of Alexander the Great. He cozies up to her and learns that she is planning to send her troops to attack the British through Khyber pass. Though she correctly suspects that the fugitive soldier is really a spy, she cannot help but fall in love with him, thereby sparing him the usual torture and castration she forces upon other captured British soldiers. Unfortunately her love causes her downfall in the exciting conclusion. 

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Product Reviews

  1. John Ford's First Sound Film 3 Star Review

    Posted by on Sep 1st 2021

    An interesting film from a historical standpoint. An early sound film and John Ford's first sound film. It is surprisingly slow moving. The story - a British officer infiltrating a group of native rebels in the days of the Raj - is incredibly corny and melodramatic. Out of the need to show off the process of sound on film, the film is filled with music: bagpipes playing, choruses singing, etc. On the plus side, the visuals show Ford's usual aplomb, the black & white cinematography is gorgeous, there is the unusual sound of Victor McLaughlin speaking with an upper-class British accent, and a very young and lovely Myrna Loy in her early phase in which she played exotic temptresses before she established herself as a pert and witty socialite.

  2. Crisp and Clean! 4 Star Review

    Posted by on Oct 27th 2019

    I ordered this in an attempt to upgrade the copy of the film I already had. My copy was of poor video quality and poor sound. The Zeus copy was amazingly better: the video quality is clean and crisp and the sound is excellent. The only negative is that it comes with French subtitles burned into it--but the improvement in quality in video and sound more than compensates for having to ignore the subtitles. I am very, very happy with this print.

  3. Black Watch Shows John Ford, McLaglen Shining in Larval Stage 5 Star Review

    Posted by on Nov 14th 2017

    This film is unfairly dismissed by effete critics
    who cannot grasp the mastery of both Ford and
    McLaglen for the male bonding and sardonic humor
    of military life.
    McLaglen was the real thing, son of an Anglican
    Bishop, who lied about his age to service as one
    of the Life Guards at Windsor Castle, then in WWI
    as Provost Marshal of Baghdad in the Mesopo-
    tamian campaign. In his voice, demeanor and ability to sit a horse as if man and animal were
    one like a centaur, you get the authentic image
    of the old British Army between the wars.
    It was a logical evolution for both men from this
    to The Lost Patrol, and Ford's later wonderful
    Cavalry Trilogy.
    To say that Black Watch was the inspiration for the insipid King of the Khyber Rifles with Tyrone
    Power is to contrast a tall cooler topped with
    an umbrella by the Beverly Hills pool with a real
    soldier's pint of ale.

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