Skip to content

Guns at Batasi (1964)

“The only way you’ll ever fulfill yourself is to die in action!”

A very suitable quote aimed at Sergeant-Major Richard Attenborough in this military tale that has it’s moments. And why wouldn’t it with Sir Richard and Jack Hawkins headlining the cast.

guns at batasi half sheet

Our story takes place in Africa after the wars have ended and British rule is being challenged by the native people. Naturally there is that racial question as the native race is black and our military outpost is far outnumbered. Hawkins is the head man while Richard is his second on the base that comprises of a few well known British faces including David Lodge, Percy Herbert and John Leyton. The majority of the soldiers on base are indeed native Africans.

Uprisings are becoming a constant problem in the area leading Hawkins to receive orders to turn the base over to the top ranking native officer Earl Cameron. Hawkins leaves the base while Richard plays host to the Brits in the officers mess. This includes Leyton who turns up with stranded Mia Farrow in tow. Also visiting the camp is Flora Robson who will have some harsh words with Attenborugh’s “by the book” style of rule before the fade out.

Attenborough-and-Leyton

The temperatures rise when a coup is enacted by Errol John taking command of the compound by force leaving Cameron shot up and seeking refuge in the Brits care. It’s a bit of a pressure cooker from here on in as Attenborough won’t give an inch to new commander by gunfire John. This despite the fact that their small building is totally surrounded by what was once his own native charges. It becomes a battle of wills between the various characters and their personal situations.

batasi standoff

This John Guillermin effort was scripted by Robert Holles who adapted it from his own novel The Siege at Battersea. While I was a little worried initially at Attenborough’s straight laced Major I soon found it was a character of depth and not just a paint by numbers portrait we have all seen far too often. I really shouldn’t have been surprised as Sir Richard has rarely let me down over the years both in front of or behind the camera. His scenes opposite Errol John are filled with electricity when Richard refuses to bow down to a newly self appointed commander. John on the other hand is hesitant on just how far he can push the rigid Richard and his military etiquette.

hawkins in batasi

Jack Hawkins doesn’t have too much to do here other then lend the authority that he so easily brings to the screen when playing an officer. Somehow if you know his story you just know that the voice is slipping and the inevitable loss of his great instrument was not too far off.

At times this film shows it’s budget restraints and the plot feels like it’s been forced to include a romantic angle with Farrow and Leyton. Still director Gullermin makes it work with our two leading British stars. Guillermin had a long career and worked on many high profile flicks over the years including The Towering Inferno and the 1976 remake of King Kong.

hawkins and attenborough

Hawkins and Attenborough worked together a number of times over the years and if one hasn’t seen them in The League of Gentlemen it’s worth a look as is this military tale from 1964.

1 Comment »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

IDENTIKIT

The current online container for the writer Konrad Wardh

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film Club

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

CINESPIRIA

Shining a light on the deep recesses of film history

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking deeper at the best classic movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Canadian Cinephile

"The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them." - Alfred Hitchcock

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

hitchcockmaster

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

an irreverent blog of old movies

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

watching movies

Movies ala Mark

With a Cast of Thousands

Classic Horrors

From silent screen to Halloween, and everything scary in between.

IDENTIKIT

The current online container for the writer Konrad Wardh

Just Hit Play

The Good, the Bad and sometimes Ugly in film

Strother Martin Film Project

What we've got here is failure to communicate

Sophia Riley Kobacker

it's all about the story, possums...

Wolfmans Cult Film Club

Cult, B-Movies, cheesy fun films to Film Noir to classics new to me.

CINESPIRIA

Shining a light on the deep recesses of film history

cinema cities

a personal odyssey through film

Mark David Welsh

Watching the strangest movies - so you don't have to...

Scenes from the Morgue

The Lost Art of Pulp Ads: Film, Booze, Smokes & More!

Film Speech

All things film and television

Diary of A Movie Maniac

A Personal Journey Through Cinema & Television

portraitsbyjenni

My perspective on life & Classic Movie Recommendations

Statis Pro 1978 Replay

Methodically replaying every game of the 1978 baseball season!

4 Star Films

Looking deeper at the best classic movies

everythingnoir

Movies, Television, Books....Everything Noir

Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more)

by John Bengtson "the great detective of silent film locations" New York Times

Sister Celluloid

Where old movies go to live

Silent-ology

Uncovering the silent era

Canadian Cinephile

"The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them." - Alfred Hitchcock

Noirish

The annex to John Grant's *A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir*

Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Sunset Boulevard

Writings of a Cinephile

The Bogie Film Blog

A Film by Film Affair with Humphrey Bogart

Vienna's Classic Hollywood

Vintage Hollywood films and stars

The Film Authority

You're ten seconds from watching an amazing film...

Once upon a screen...

...a classic film and TV blog

shadowsandsatin

. . where the worlds of film noir and pre-code collide . .

hitchcockmaster

Where Suspense Lives!

Tipping My Fedora

Enjoying mystery, crime and suspense in all media

Silver Screenings

an irreverent blog of old movies

monsterminions

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Comet Over Hollywood

Home for classic movie lovers

filmgeek101

classic movie views for the classic and not-so-classic movie fan

Riding the High Country

Reviews and ramblings

Speakeasy

watching movies

%d bloggers like this: