GUNGA DIN (1939) B/W 117m. dir: George Stevens
w/Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Sam Jaffe, Eduardo Ciannelli, Joan Fontaine, Montagu Love, Robert Coote, Abner Biberman, Lumsden Hare
From The Movie Guide: "The GONE WITH THE WIND of the comic action-adventure genre, GUNGA DIN has a bit of everything --- humor, suspense, spectacle, action and a heavy dose of racism, imperialism and xenophobia.
"Based on a story by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur (it's the same friendly rivals plot of THE FRONT PAGE) and the moving Rudyard Kipling poem, this rousing adventure opens as a remote, mountainous British outpost in India is raided by a band of rebel natives. Three of the Army's most reliable frontier veterans --- Sergeants Cutter (Cary Grant), MacChesney (Victor McLaglen) and Ballantine (Douglas Fairbanks Jr) --- are sent to the now-silent outpost. Accompanying them is a small contingent of Indian troops and water-carriers, or bhistis, including Gunga Din (Sam Jaffe), whose only ambition in life is to become a soldier. The sergeants then receive their orders --- to annihilate he murderous Thugs, a violent and mystical sect previously thought extinct.
"A $2 million production that wowed them at the box office, GUNGA DIN is an undeniably rousing adventure tale. The performances and direction are a great deal of fun --- part Three Musketeers, part Laurel and Hardy (Stevens began his career directing the duo's comedy shorts) --- but it's difficult to overlook the blatantly racist nature of the proceedings, which endorses British imperialism and the violence inflicted on the Indian people."