Review: ‘The Black Watch’

Story is loose jointed and far from well knit, the audience being asked to take plenty for granted.

Story is loose jointed and far from well knit, the audience being asked to take plenty for granted.

Talbot Mundy’s tale is that of the Scottish Captain King (Victor McLaglen), who is ordered to India to prevent a native uprising on the eve his regiment is leaving for France. He gets into a drunken brawl, during which he supposedly kills a fellow service man, the ruse being an escape among the pack of fanatics planning to overthrow British rule.

The natives worship a woman (Myrna Loy) as their goddess, who, in turn, succumbs to the brawn of King.

Just how King manages to get about a dozen British soldiers among the hordes, who, at a signal, throw off their robes to reveal khaki, is not explained.

Director John Ford’s best work is the opening of a Scottish officers’ dinner on the eve of war, with bagpipes wailing. Joseph August’s camerawork is superb. McLaglen’s performance is just normal. Loy sheds an attractive appearance under, at times, outstanding lighting, aided by long robes.

The Black Watch

Production

Fox. Director John Ford; Screenplay John Stone, J.K. McGuinness; Camera Joseph H. August; Editor A. Troffey

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1929. Running time: 91 MIN.

With

Victor McLaglen Myrna Loy David Rollins Roy D'Arcy Walter Long Mitchell Lewis
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