The Brigand of Kandahar (1965)

The Brigand of Kandahar (1965)

Released: 1965
Genre: Adventure, Genre, History
Director: John Gilling
Starring: Duncan Lamont, Oliver Reed, Ronald Lewis, ,
Run time: 81 min
IMDb: 5.5/10
Country: UK
Views: 127108


In 1850, a British garrison defends Fort Kandahar on the North West Frontier of British India. Lieutenant Case is a mixed race British officer under the command of Colonel Drewe. Case is despised by his colonel and a few jealous fellow officers for being part-native. However, due to his background, Case is useful to the British who use him to infiltrate the local tribes. The tribes, united under a war chieftain named Ali Khan, have been fomenting revolt against the British colonial forces. Disguised as a native, Lieutenant Case collects valuable intelligence for his regiment. Unfortunately, during a spying mission, Case and a fellow officer, Captain Connelly are discovered. Case escapes under the cover of darkness but Connelly is captured. On his return to Fort Kandahar, Case is accused of deliberately abandoning Connelly to the enemy and of cowardice as he made no attempt to rescue Connelly. The love affair between Connelly’s wife and Case is well-known at the fort and many officers …
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User Reviews: While Hammer Studios produced some fairly able historical adventures in the early 1960s – titles such as the serviceable FURY AT SMUGGLER’S BAY and THE DEVIL-SHIP PIRATES – they also made their fair share of stinkers, of which THE BRIGAND OF KANDAHAR is probably the worst. This is an entirely stodgy costume adventure, made on a low budget and with a script which feels like it was rushed out in a hurry.

The story is cheap and carries some distinctly colonial racial overtones, not least in the presence of anti-hero Ronald Lewis, blacked-up as a half-caste for his role. Lewis must be the singular most obnoxious heroic character in a Hammer film, a guy who I actually despised throughout much of the running time; were we really supposed to feel sorry for him after he swapped allegiances like that?

Elsewhere, it’s sub-ZULU antics throughout, enlivened by a handful of larger-scale battle sequences which employ some dodgy back projection which saps them of realism. Once again Hammer has an eye for a distinguished supporting cast, but most of them are wasted here; the only ones who come out of it well are Duncan Lamont and Katherine Woodville. Oliver Reed is cast as the bad guy but I feel he would have made a much more compelling protagonist. In any case, this is as dull as dishwater and one of Hammer’s weakest efforts.

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