East of Sudan (1964)
How Far is Shepperton from Sudan?
With the Mahdist insurrection raging on in Sudan, veteran private Baker (Anthony Quayle) joins forces with newly arrived Murchison (Derek Fowlds) and British Governess Miss Woodville (Sylvia Syms) and Asau (jenny Agutter), the daughter of the Emir, in escaping from Barash. But their journey is a dangerous one as they have to navigate the wildlife along the banks of the Nile as well as tribes and Slavers.
Oh dear, within minutes of "East of Sudan" starting I had a sinking feeling as I realised I had seen the opening action footage before yet had never watched this movie. You may be saying what? But here is a movie which uses footage from the classic "The Four Feathers" from 1939 and I don't mean just some footage as anything which involves a wide angle action shot or a lot of supporting actors is lifted from "The Four Feathers".
This use of footage from "The Four Feathers" did the exact opposite of what was intended because rather than impressing me made me think small movie which cheated. And trust me when we do have scenes of the actual actors in "East of Sudan" it looks incredibly fake and has obviously been shot on a studio lot, in fact it was shot in Shepperton. And sadly it caused me to lose interest and struggled to get it back despite serving up some old fashioned adventure which frankly could have been lifted from better movies and still would have struggled to entertain.
But despite this I carried on because of who was in the movie as Anthony Quayle and Sylvia Syms appeared in some of the best British movies of the 60s. Sadly both are saddled with weak characters and could do nothing to make them exciting or even believable. There is also some other familiar faces including Derek Fowlds and a young Jenny Agutter in her first movie and delivering the sort of performance which wouldn't have been out of place in a Walt Disney movie.
What this all boils down to is that "East of Sudan" is sadly a weak movie which when it isn't using footage from "The Four Feathers" is obviously filmed in a studio as it has that fake quality. In truth it isn't terrible but the only real reason I can give you to watch is out of an interest in its stars rather than because of what happens. And to answer my title it is around 3,060 miles from Shepperton to Sudan.
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