After breaking his rebellious tribesman free from the jail in a British fort, Sultan (Yul Brynner), is pursued by Stafford. After months of scouring the hills the hunt proves unsuccessful and British Governor (Maurice Denham), gives the idealistic Freddy Young (Trevor Howard), the task of capturing the rebel leader. Young has his own ideas, and despite his growing respect for his adversary, sets a trap aboard a train he expects Sultan to ambush. Despite offering his opponent the chance to surrender peacefully Young's plan ends in a bloody battle, but Sultan escapes. Determined to get his man, Young infiltrates Sultan's camp and pleads with him to surrender before a large British force storm the rebel camp. Sultan declines and although mortally wounded arranges a rendezvous with Young to ask him to raise his young son as his own.
The Magnificent 7 in colonial India
- The Long Duel review by RL
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You rated this film: 4
An under-aired gem from Yul Brynner, this is a refreshing re-take on the Magnificent 7 theme. Set in colonial India of the 1920's, it's more truthful than just about any Bollywood movie. Having come from Russian gypsy stock, Yul plays the Indian tribal leader well. His romantic interest is clearly a caucasian actress, along with a few of the tribesmen with brown boot polish, but that's not a major detraction.
The British want dominance, Yul wants his tribe's freedom & a British police chief is caught in between, with admiration for the people he is 'against'. There's enough action, but he's not the invincible gunslinger this time. It's realistic, with great emotional play between characters, often without words. Having spent much time in a former colonial Indian hill station, I found it both accurate & moving.