King of the Khyber Rifles (1953)

King of the Khyber Rifles (1953)

Director: Henry King
Starring: Tyrone Power, Terry Moore, Michael Rennie

A half-caste British officer assigned to the garrison near the Khyber Pass where he was born and raised faces prejudice, discrimination and hostility from both sides, but he may be the only man who can stop the warlord Karram Khan.

The Sepoy Rebellion got only brief mention in my high school history book, but this is the backdrop for the film. It'd be easy to have the main character in a movie like this be rather bland, but I liked Tyrone Power's portrayal of Captain King. He is gallant and loyal, showing partiality to neither side of his heritage, and strives to serve with honor while recognizing his social limitations. Michael Rennie is also interesting as General Maitland, who is mostly sympathetic to King but all too conscious of his position and the consequences of favoring King too much. I'm somewhat ambivalent about Terry Moore as love interest Susan Maitland. She's not bad, but I sort of feel the romantic subplot could've been excised without hurting the story any. Guy Rolfe was interesting as Karram Khan, but some people may be put off by the brownface portrayal.

This isn't a bad movie and if you're at all interested in the British occupation of India, you may find it worth seeing.

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