After being humiliated by a young upstart during a training exercise, a decorated general looks back on his forty-plus years of military service and all the triumphs, losses, and regrets (including a chaste affair with his best friend’s wife) that made him the man he is today. Now regarded as an obsolete fossil by a new generation of soldier, Gen. Clive Candy at first rebels against the impertinence of youth—and the cruelties imposed by old age—until those jogged memories recall his own reckless zeal two generations ago. Using postcard sets filmed in gloriously exaggerated technicolor and graced by a quick-witted and oh-so-British script, this classic Powell & Pressburger production uses one likeable old man’s recollections to examine issues of loyalty and honour as well as the inherent follies of patriotism…no wonder then that Winston Churchill loathed the film. Unfortunately it also suffers from a few too many “jolly goods” and “hip hip hurrahs” turning what could have been a brilliant two-hour epic into an almost three-hour endurance test. A compassionate character study nonetheless whose wry critiques manage to rise above the extra padding.

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