Gunga Din

A Face in the Crowd (1957) movie poster

(1939) dir. George Stevens
viewed: 08/06/2005

An action film from another era, to say the least.

There is a definitive hokey-ness to the comedy, acting, scripting and action in this film, and Cary Grant, with all his comedic charm, seems like a true boob trying to cop a cockney accent. The hokey qualities are probably primarily hokey in contemporary retrospect and perhaps not fair to state. The film does offer models that are still common in action films today, male-bonded camaraderie, flashy fight sequences, and a light tone off-setting the dramatic sequences. I guess in some ways, certain parts are reckoned by Raiders of the Lost Ark (1980) and its many sequels and imitators. It does feel, however, that the genre has evolved in the editing and compiling of the “action”.

The heart of the film’s narrative, the tiular Gunga Din himself, is a well-intentioned, but painfully stereotyped Indian of the lowest class, played so typically of the time by a caucasian actor, in this case, Sam Jaffe. As the film starts, he seems no more than cheap comedy-relief, but eventually becomes an idealized hero.

The film is moderately fun, though some parts feel a big like The Three Stooges or something. At least, that is what it brought me to mind.

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