Wednesday 26 September 2018

Film Review: The Pride And The Passion, 1957

Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra can both be great (North By Northwest, The Man With The Golden Arm), and Sophia Loren, appearing here in one of her earliest big-screen roles, always holds the camera/eye. 

Grant, Sinatra, and the delectable Loren.

As someone with a particular interest in Napoleonic history I was hoping for something much more satisfying from that point of view. But even purely from a disinterested film buff point of view this ends up being much less than the sum of its parts; neither male lead is remotely plausible in their roles. In the end only Loren is remotely believable, and thereby emotionally engaging. Grant and Sinatra (the latter especially so) seem almost comically miscast, to me.

A lovely vintage poster.

The uniforms are appalling. Hard to see from this image.*

And then, with my Napoleonic history buff shako on, seeing how off the mark uniforms and equipment are, turns it from something merely lame, to a travesty. If the film were good enough, such details might not matter quite so much. But given the lacklustre nature of the drama, dialogue and direction, it assumes more significance. Nor is the film helped by the morally black and white portrayal of the noble Spaniards vs. the dastardly French.

Diehard fans of the main trio of actors who know very little about the era being portrayed might enjoy this as a goofily romantic costume drama. To me it was a disappointing mess.

* The busbys are the giveaway. The rear view of them is even worse. And there are cuirassiers with 19th Century American firemans helmets!

Loren looking magnificent beside the ludicrous gun.

Loren looking magnificent in a boat.

Loren looking... well, magnificent.


  1. I enjoyed the film especially Cary Grant's performance. Casting Sinatra as a Spaniard was as bad as casting 'The Duke' as Genghis Khan. The book however on which the film was based is a good read. Its The Gun by C.S.Forester.

    1. I imagine I'd prefer the book. I may watch this one again, however, poss even with the wife, as she loves old period dramas, and there aren't many 'war films' she will consent to viewing! When I was looking at pics for this post, some of the stills and publicity shots made the film look pretty impressive.