Conduct Unbecoming

DirectorMichael Anderson
StarringMichael York
Trevor Howard
Richard Attenborough
James Faulkner
Christopher Plummer
Susannah York
Based on a play by Barry England

A highly evocative film set in the officers' mess of an Indian Regiment on the Northwest Frontier in the high days of the British Raj. The story follows two new recruits to the the Regiment, but one full of idealism for his future career, and one who is begrudgingly following in his father's footsteps. The second tries to get himself courtmartialled through insubordination, but when a lady is attacked, the subaltern finds himself in more trouble than he bargained for. Honour and tradition find themselves to be a source of weakness as well as strength to the Regiment. The plot of the film turns into a regimental courtroom drama but one that is full of twists and turns and makes a splendid yarn.

Cinemagraphically, there are some splendid shots of the cavalry maneouvering which are taken from footage of the Pakistani Army's present day descendents of imperial units. The wardrobe of the actors and actresses are equally colourful and successfully manage to transport the viewer to the splendour of the British army in those days. The film equally well portrays the all important social heirarchies that defined and divided the British and Indians alike. All in all, this is a film that I recommend to anyone who is interested in British Imperial history, or just in search of an interesting and thought provoking film.

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by Stephen Luscombe