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North West Frontier (1959)

North West Frontier (1959)

Kenneth MoreLauren BacallHerbert LomWilfrid Hyde-White
J. Lee Thompson


North West Frontier (1959) is a English,Hindi movie. J. Lee Thompson has directed this movie. Kenneth More,Lauren Bacall,Herbert Lom,Wilfrid Hyde-White are the starring of this movie. It was released in 1959. North West Frontier (1959) is considered one of the best Adventure,Drama movie in India and around the world.

In northwestern India soon after the turn of the 20th Century, Moslem rebels seek to kill a six-year-old Hindu prince to end his family line. Captain Scott of the British Army is ordered to get the prince out of the region safely. Adventure ensues as Scott sneaks the child away, through Moslem-held territory, by train. Also on board are the boy's American governess, an arms merchant, a cynical reporter, and two upper class Britons.


North West Frontier (1959) Reviews

  • A Jolly Good Show


    J. Arthur Rank's NORTH WEST FRONTIER is a classy British adventure yarn that can stand proudly beside the best efforts that Hollywood could offer. Also known as "Flame Over India" it was produced in 1959 by Marcel Heilman for the Rank organization and was directed with great gusto by the underrated J. Lee Thomson. No expense was spared on this colourful production. Filmed on actual Indian locations it was photographed in Cinemascope and glowing colour by the late great Geoffrey Unsworth and was adapted from a screenplay by Frank Nugent by Robin Estridge which derived from a story by Patrick Ford. Curiously there is a marked similarity with the narrative of NORTH WEST FRONTIER to that of John Ford's classic 1939 western "Stagecoach".Since Patrick Ford was the son of the great director that similarity is hardly surprising. Both stories concern an assorted group of travellers trying to safely reach their respective destinations and running the gauntlet of attacks by hordes of fierce horsemen intent on stopping them. With mostly British players the cast in NORTH WEST FRONTIER had an international mix led by Kenneth More. From Hollywood there's Lauren Bacall, from India I.S. Johar and the rest of the personnel was fleshed out with the cream of British character actors such as the brilliant Herbert Lom as a shady newspaperman, the delightfully fussy Wilfrid Hyde White as a diplomat, Ian Hunter as the British Governor, the lovely Ursula Jeans as the Governor's wife and Eugene Deckers as an arms dealer who detests firearms ("I've never had one of those things in my hands in my life"). It is 1905 and the feud is raging in India's Northwest territories between Moslims and Hindus and their British masters. Six year old Hindu Prince Kishen's life is in grave danger. As heir to the Hindu throne the Moslims must annihilate him at all costs and it falls to the British to protect the little prince. After rescuing him from the palace British Captain Scott (Kenneth More) must now secretly sneak the boy, his governess (Lauren Bacall) plus a motley collection of escapees out of the British Embassy at Hasarbad and make a dash by train to Kolapur three hundred miles away in Delhi. Almost from the moment they begin their journey under the cover of darkness the action never lets up. From then on there are well executed action scenes throughout the picture particularly exciting is the siege of the British compound by Moslim forces with hundreds storming the ramparts. Such scenes are as good if not better than anything Hollywood could conjure up. Performances are excellent from all concerned. Kenneth More - always an appealing actor - gives another personable portrayal just like he did playing legless pilot Douglas Bader in "Reach Fot Sky" three years earlier. Lauren Bacall though seems a little out of place in a British movie but was obviously cast to give some appeal to the American market (She has top billing on the American prints and the publicity). But the standout performance comes from the great Herbert Lom whose real name - you wont believe - happens to be ......wait for it... Herbert Angelo Kuchacevich Ze Schluderpacherm. Ouch! How about that? Thankfully his name in the picture is simply Van Layden. Also of interest is the splendid music score by Russian composer Mischa Spoliansky which boasts some great action cues, a nice love theme for the pictures softer moments and to point up the British presence in India good use is made of the rousing "Eton Boating Song" which is interpolated into the score and in one scene is vocalized by Mr. More. NORTH WEST FRONTIER is the quintessential British adventure story. Its high production values puts it that bit above others of the genre. It's hard to go wrong when you have a well told story well directed beautifully photographed and well played out by a good cast. Yes indeed NORTH WEST FRONTIER is a jolly good show!

  • An ignored masterpiece


    As someone else said - they certainly don't make them like this any more! A strong script brought to life by some of the best character actors of the period. Full of excitement with strong moments of pathos and uncringeworthy moments of sentiment. I have to comment on those who feel this is an imperialist romp. It is far more intelligent than that. The British characters may express imperialist sentiments but Van Leyden is allowed to refute them. That Van Leyden is revealed as the villain does not negate his arguments - he is not presented as a fanatic, just as a man on the other side for every bit as good reasons as the British are on theirs. Remember that whatever its setting this film is very much POST-Raj. Scott is also made hopelessly sexist (as his character would be) while Bacall's character is allowed to refute him. Its a subtle script - and shouldn't be under-estimated! Several reviews have referred to I.S.Johar as Gupta. It is a very fine performance. His character may be 'cringing' but forelock-tugging hadn't got a colour bar at the time when this movie is set. When roused Gupta is quite ready to stand up to Scott or most anyone else! It is also perfectly apparent that without his skills all on the train are doomed - his comments on the massacre are poignant especially when one recalls that the actor was born in what is now Pakistan. Train massacres were a terrible feature of the partition period with all religious groups suffering terribly. Oh and what a cast. One expects top notch performances from the likes of More, Bacall, Lom and Hyde-White and we aren't let down. Eugene Deckers is very fine as the cynical arms merchant and Ursula Jeans (a child of the Raj herself) is a second strong female character to complement Bacall. Oh and it has a happy ending too...

  • A positively rip-roaring joy from start to finish.


    We are in British India, Moslem rebels want to kill a young Hindu prince and thus killing his family blood line. The British army are charged with the task of ensuring the prince is safely escorted from the troubled provinces. The duty falls to one intrepid Captain Scott, the only chance to achieve the aim is by train, with his allies on board being a rather unique group of individuals, can Scott achieve the mission against the mounting odds? North West Frontier has everything a great action adventure should have, action, tension, drama and an array of wonderfully colourful characters. The opening to the film is pulsating, as Scott has to fight off the rebels whilst smuggling the prince and his governess out to safety. From then on we are on a train journey that is rich with enjoyment, the tension mounts among the passengers, not least because of the class differences, and perhaps motives are not in alignment? But they must club together if they are to survive this journey. Kenneth Moore, Lauren Bacall, Herbert Lom and Wilfrid Hyde-White (comedy gold when under attack) are all pulling together to make a cracking yarn. Directing duties falls to J. Lee Thompson, whose CV boasts Ice Cold In Alex, The Guns Of Navarone and Cape Fear, so this material was thankfully in very safe hands. The photography from Geoffrey Unsworth is top notch, barren and desolate landscapes beautifully realising the peril of the passengers' journey, whilst the music from Mischa Spoliansky leaves a lasting impression. This train may well be crammed full of genre stereotypes, and sure enough the patronising nature of the piece is dated at the edges, but this remains a gloriously enjoyable film that the whole family can readily digest. 9/10

  • This is the road to Kolapor


    I first saw North West Frontier when I was rather young and is one of those movies which you tend to never forget. Captain Scott is assigned to take a young Indian prince to safety across India to Kolapor. Having just missed the last refugee train, he manages to secure an ageing steam loco, Empress of India plus a coach and wagon for the coal. He was lucky there. Scott and the prince are joined by a motley collection of people for the dangerous journey including an American woman who would become Scott's lover, a reporter who wants the prince dead and a pair of upper class Britains and two soldiers. Plenty of dangers along the way: attacking tribes, blown up railway tracks, a blown up bridge and more attacking tribes. At the first station, we learn the refugee train was ambushed and everyone on board killed, apart from a baby which is rescued by the American woman, Catherine Wyatt. After crossing the bombed bridge and the reporter's attempts to kill the prince, they reach Kolapor safely, without the reporter, who was pushed off the train roof. North West Frontier has to be one of my favourite adventure movies and contains some good scenery. It also has some excellent background music, especially the Henley Regatta song, Swing, Swing Together. Now to the excellent cast: Kenneth More as Scott, Lauren Bacall as Catherine Wyatt, Herbert Lom as the reporter, Wilfred Hyde-White, I S Johar as the train driver Gupta and Ursula Jeans. Also, Eugene Deckers and Ian Hunter. North West Frontier is a must for all fans of this type of movie and will also appeal to railway enthusiasts too (like myself). Fantastic. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

  • Excellent Film with timely themes interwoven.


    Just one heck of a fun film with a nice bit of writing in the script. The theme of the British being stuck between two fighting groups of people, Hindus and Islamic is so right for the times now (Feb 2003). Then give Miss Bacall a decent part, with Wilfred Hyde Write and Herbert Lom and the rest of a wonderful group of character actors made my train ride across the Northwest frontier a most moving experience.


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