Soldiers Three Film Details
Overview: Retired British general Brunswick reminisces about the days when he was a colonel in charge of a British Army battalion fighting against native rebels in colonial India during the late 1800s.
Tagline: Rough, Tough and Riotous!
Review: Soldiers Three is pretty unusual: pretty much a comedy about British troops in colonial India during the 19th century. While it’s refreshing to have a comedy on such an offbeat subject, quite a bit of it simply isn’t very amusing! Walter Pidgeon is Colonel Brunswick who, now elderly, reminiscences to a group of soldiers in a private club during World War I, as to how he was promoted to General while stationed in India. He was in charge of the Rutlandshire infantry regiment with his adjutant, Captain Pindenny (David Niven), most of the time at his side. The story focuses on three soldiers in the regiment, a trinity of cut-ups who take delight in delivering mayhem to the regiment wherever they go. The three are Privates Archibald Ackroyd (Stewart Granger), Bill Sykes (Robert Newton) and Dennis Malloy (Cyril Cusack). Ackroyd is the de facto leader of the group despite maintaining that they’re all equal. Their machinations include such unfunny exploits as picking a fight with members of a Scottish regiment (they mock them for wearing kilts) and getting drunk and commandeering a litter (a wheel-less carriage powered by human transport), in which they return to camp. Brunswick proves to be the most amusing of the characters here, with his laissez-faire attitude towards the troops. That includes the Soldiers Three, despite all their transgressions. Pindenny has good chemistry with Brunswick but is less amusing when he’s assigned to command the wayfaring three. There’s a particularly unfunny scene in which Pindenny leads the three and a few other troops to retrieve rifles that were stolen from camp, after natives create a cattle stampede. They’re forced to dress in women’s clothing which Ackroyd retrieves from a prostitute friend after getting their clothes soaked while wading in a river. It’s all quite silly. The break into the Second Act only takes place after Brunswick finally fed up with the three, promotes Ackroyd to Sergeant, effectively splitting their camaraderie. The climax turns serious and is the best part of the picture. Pidwenny along with Sykes and Malloy and others in the regiment along with others from the newly promoted Colonel Groat’s regiment, are ordered to defend a decaying fort miles away. Ackroyd, now a deserter, saves the day while the rest of the surviving British soldiers are holed up after taking refuge in a powder house at the fort. He manages to dispatch Manik Rao, the rebel leader, by throwing him down a well to his death. Brunswick, disobeying Groat’s orders, arrives at the fort and overcomes the rest of Rao’s rebels. For that he’s promoted to general instead of being court martialed. Ackroyd gets off easy by being demoted to private (which he wanted in the first place). Soldiers Three partly has an anti-war theme, chronicling the pointlessness of the bureaucratic orders that move troops around with no particular reason in mind. But the comedy aspect is simply hopeless-it’s like a bad episode of the 70s TV series, MASH, with the soldiers for the most part protesting the pointlessness of military life through the previously alluded to humorless escapades. When it’s time to be heroic, the cut-ups suddenly rise to the occasion. But the “downtime” is pretty much insufferable. If you can wait it out, the climax saves the film from critical oblivion.
Country: United States
Duration: 92 min
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, War
Also known as: Ska ske överste,Soldiers Three,Três Grandes Amigos,Drie soldaten,Drei auf Abenteuer,Drie van de infanterie,Oi treis fantaroi,La espada bengalí,I tre soldati,Trois troupiers,Tre raske soldater,Suruttomat veijarit,Trei soldati,Tres soldados