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Though Rudyard Kipling's poem Gunga Din makes a swell recital piece, it cannot be said to have much of a plot. It's simply a crude cockney soldier's tribute to a native Indian water boy who remains at his job even after being mortally wounded. Hardly the sort of material upon which to build 118 minutes' worth of screen time-at least, it wasn't until RKO producer Pandro S. Berman decided to convert Gunga Din into an A-budgeted feature film. Now it became the tale of three eternally brawling British sergeants stationed in ...


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Sep 10, 2009

A Dated Classic

Still in many ways a classic of the exotic action film, and a vision of George Stevens's precise, light, unerring touch before his films became ponderous, GUNGA DIN is flawed by the fact that its slap-happy approach to combat and its patronizing attitude on racial and romantic relations have not aged well. But every time the film grates or annoys, it turns right around and does something timelessly haunting. Should be part of the experience and the collection of any serious film buff.

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