Tunes of Glory

1960

Drama /

0
IMDb Rating 7.7

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

1080p
2.04G
Normal
English
/
106 min
P/S 109 / 205

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by jhclues 10

A clash of wills and personalities between two men, one a psychologically scarred idealist, the other driven by ego and his own needs to the point of cruelty, is examined in the peacetime military drama, `Tunes of Glory,&#39; directed by Ronald Neame and starring Alec Guinness and John Mills. Major Jock Sinclair (Guinness) is the acting Colonel of a Scottish regiment, but as the story begins he has been notified that he has been passed over for promotion and his replacement, Lieutenant Colonel Basil Barrow (Mills) is en route to take command. Sinclair is a soldier&#39;s soldier, a man&#39;s man loved and respected (with some qualifications) by his men. He has clawed his way up through the ranks, was once a piper (he would&#39;ve been happy as a Pipe Major, in fact, but Hitler-- as he says at one point-- `Changed all that&#39;), and feels strongly that he should have been made Colonel of the regiment. Barrow, on the other hand, is an aristocrat and a third generation officer of this particular regiment. He suffers, however, from his experience in a prisoner-of-war camp, and has never fully recovered, the impact of which is succinctly expressed when he tells his Captain that he never really came back. From the beginning, it&#39;s an almost impossible situation, and from the moment Barrows arrives the atmosphere is thick with tension as he and Sinclair square off in a contest from which it is readily evident that neither will emerge unscathed in one way or another .<br/><br/> Working from a tight, intelligent screenplay by James Kennaway (adapted from his own novel), Neame delivers a taut, insightful character driven drama that explores the diversity of human nature, and illustrates the good and evil contained within us all and the traits which ultimately determine which will be the prevalent manifestation of the individual personality. Through the device of placing the protagonist and the antagonist-- each the antithesis of the other-- in a no-win situation, the film examines motivations, actions and reactions that can lead the story in any number of directions, none of which are positive, but all of which are logical and which finally leads to a conclusion that is extremely powerful, incisive and totally believable. <br/><br/> As Jock Sinclair, you see Alec Guinness in a role quite unlike anything else he&#39;s ever done; it was, in fact, his own personal favorite of all of his cinematic creations. Sinclair is a man who is course and rough-hewn, an egoist who, when the personal need arises, will wantonly subject those around him to psychological cruelty in order to elevate himself and his position and to assuage his own ego. At mess, for example, he derides a young officer for not smoking his cigarette like a man; he orders every `man&#39; to drink whiskey, implying that to do otherwise constitutes an assessment of an individual&#39;s masculinity. Boisterous bravura and ribald behavior are his tools of navigation through life, coupled with an attitude of doing things his way or the wrong way. And Guinness plays it to the hilts. Beginning with his whole perspective and attitude, he IS Sinclair, while physically he embodies and expresses exactly who this man is and what he stands for. At times, his eyes fairly bulge with an enthusiasm that suggests a lasciviousness underlying the cruelty; when he walks he strides purposefully, and carries himself in such a way that when he enters a room he veritably fills it and makes his presence felt so that the very air seems oppressed by him. It&#39;s a performance that, even in a strong year of Oscar contenders (Trevor Howard, Lancaster, Lemmon, Olivier and Tracy were all up for Best Actor-- Lancaster won) he deserved to be among them. In this film Guinness is quite simply unforgettable in one of his most powerful roles.<br/><br/> John Mills, as well, delivers a superb, introspective performance as Barrow, capturing the way in which this man must live so inwardly to survive, and conveying how difficult it is for him to continue on while attempting to live up to his heritage and the expectations of a position to which he is clearly unfit in his current mental state. In Barrow we see reflected the prevailing attitude of the times that `might makes right,&#39; and that anything less is akin to unacceptable negligence, that same military mind-set that put Jake Holman at odds with the world in `The Sand Pebbles,&#39; and led to the unfortunate incident depicted so eloquently in `A Few Good Men.&#39; It&#39;s an excellent, understated, sensitive performance by Mills, who plays brilliantly off of Guinness&#39;s brutishness.<br/><br/> The film also boasts a number of excellent supporting performances, especially Dennis Price, as Major Charlie Scott, whose stoic assessment of himself as well as the situation at hand serves as the film&#39;s conscience; Gordon Jackson as the sympathetic Captain Jimmy Cairns; and Duncan Macrae in a memorable turn as Pipe Major Duncan MacLean.<br/><br/> Also included in this outstanding supporting cast are Kay Walsh (Mary), John Fraser (Ian), Susannah York (In her film debut as Morag Sinclair), Percy Herbert (Riddick), Allan Cuthbertson (Eric) and Angus Lennie (Orderly). A powerful film that so successfully demonstrates the devastating effects of dysfunctional human relationships and conveys the need to look beyond ourselves, `Tunes of Glory&#39; presents a story to which everyone will be able to relate because the theme is applicable to any setting involving human interactions. A thoroughly involving film featuring a number of memorable performances (especially by Guinness) that will give you reason to take pause and reflect, and hopefully add some perspective to a world too often mired in unnecessary turmoil. I rate this one 10/10.

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Reviewed by coop-16 10

I finally had the chance to see this film in its entirety on Bravo a few days ago. Ronald Neame was not a director of the first rank, and he probably wasnt even a director of the second, but this is NOT a directors picture. It is a picture carried by superb acting and a brilliant script.I am now convinced that Guinness was one of the greatest screen actors that ever lived-if not the greatest.. This performance surpasses even his Colonel Nicholson in Bridge on the River Kwai, or his magnificent performances in the Ealing comedies. His boorish, arrogant, but oddly touching and vulnerable Jock Sinclair is a full length portrait worthy of Rembrandt-or Dostoevsky.John Mills, as the &quot;by the book &quot; colonel, whose aloof exterior hides enormous psychic scars, is almost equally good.Dennis Price, as a friend who turns his back on Sinclair, and the superb Gordon Jackson ( he was a great actor long, long before Upstairs Downstairs)as a restrained, sensitive officer who tries ineffectually to help both antagonists, are almost equally good. All of the other performances are very fine.The films beautifully written, sometimes funny, usually achingly sad script is a profound meditation on honor, tradition, repression and class conflict. Guinnesses soliloquy at the end is one of the most heart-breaking moments in all of film.

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Reviewed by trimmerb1234 7

As a very late reviewer I see that very much of what I would have said has already been said so I endorse rather than repeat it. What is surprising is that these lengthy perceptive and very admiring reviews have come not from the film&#39;s country of origin but from the USA where it seems to have struck a particular chord. Reviewers have noted Guinness&#39;s perhaps finest ever performance as well as, very unusually the fine ensemble playing where script, casting and direction must all have been of similar quality.<br/><br/>I would take issue with the reviewer who said that the Mills character would never have been given command. Clearly he had been highly educated, had a long and distinguished career in a headquarters job following a traumatic time as a POW of the Japanese. He would have at least earned some kind of moral right at the end of his career and in peacetime to be given the job that he believed he really wanted and might have thought to have been among friends. He would most likely have been highly respected owed favours and been able to pull strings. Had Jock Sinclair (Guinness) - unashamedly uneducated, rough and proud to have been educated in Barlinnie jail, Glasgow and deeply popular with his men not been the officer he replaced, most likely Colonel Barrow would have made a success of it. The whole entirely believable tragedy came about through the grotesque mischance that with these so different characters, one had to wrest command - and respect of the men - from the other. Colonel Barrow&#39;s fragility was only exposed when he tried to impose his English &quot;civilising&quot; ways on the one person whose whole being rejected them. Bad enough if it had been simply about class, here it was a battle for the Scottish soul. These deeper levels of conflict deriving from earlier historical intra-Scottish battles was suggested by one reviewer. The film tells a story which perhaps could have been set in almost any country with a strong military tradition - France. Germany, Japan etc rather like its near name-sake &quot;Paths of Glory&quot; by Stanley Kubrick set in WW1 France. Here though the central conflict presumably had very deep roots in Scottish ethnic and tribal history of clan wars, of Highlanders vs Lowlanders even of those supposed English-loving &quot;traitors&quot; who &quot;sold&quot; Scotland to &quot;a parcel of rogues&quot; (The English) in 1707. It may well be that for Sinclair, the entirely Anglicised Colonel Barrow (gin-drinking, aloof, distant and without a hint of a Scottish accent) represented exactly that kind of treacherous pseudo-Scot.<br/><br/>One reviewer describes it as &quot;pure John Ford&quot; leaving it unclear if he is suggesting that it was similar or derivative. With art in general, its lower and by definition least original forms ape others. This film does not ape any other - as already said the intensity of the conflict derives not just from class but from old old historical grievances between two intimately close nations. In &quot;Old&quot; Europe grievances and rivalries ran long and deep. <br/><br/>Just a rather sad footnote. One reviewer mentioned similarities to earlier John Ford/John Wayne movies. The entire John Wayne archive is to be seen on a continuously circulating basis on two of Britain&#39;s five national television channels State broadcaster the BBC and so-called public service broadcaster Channel 4. Yet in contrast Tunes of Glory has rarely been shown. It reappeared 2 years ago but in a poor quality print on a remote satellite channel which plays mainly public domain material. Many of Britain&#39;s fine vigorous quality films of the 1960s have never been shown at all on British television until a few months ago when again a very minor satellite channel started showing them: Otley, The Hireling, The Reckoning and others. I did not see them originally and it was revelation seeing the bold acting and directing talent which existed then and how sad is the current decline into the Lock Stock etc formulaic gangster stuff. Very curious indeed that great British films are not shown on the supposed British public service channels and it is left to small satellite channels Movies4Men and Simply Movies to show them. Very curious indeed. Public service broadcasting not in the service of the public.

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