The Black Hole of Calcutta, the battle elephants (with their gargantuan and murder- ous barbed armor), the famous hindustani monsoons and, of course, the basically courageous warrior, Robert Clive, and his rise from an obscure clerkship with the East India Company – all these elements of fictionized fact and glorified history are recreated here vividly for the screen.
After the first three-quarters of an hour or so, the film plot veers to the personal romantic troubles besetting Clive and Margaret Maskelyne (later Lady Clive), whom he periodically deserts or ignores whenever trouble in the Far East summons him.
Ronald Colman is an excellent Clive sans his familiar mustache. The powdered wigs of the day do their bit in maintaining romantic illusion. Perhaps Loretta Young’s spanning of the years is achieved somewhat too idealistically, but changing of the hairdressing with each period authentically gets across the idea of gracefully growing old.
Performances are consistently fine, notably Mischa Auer as the tyrannical native ruler, and Cesar Romero as the ambitious but friendly-to-Britain rival maharajah who double-crosses Auer.