Few enough films deal with the traumatic experience of the First World War, and Asquith deserves some credit for tackling the disastrous Gallipoli campaign. His gilded youth protagonists now look unbearably priggish: 'Just fetch my bath-water in the morning and brush my clothes and see that my buttons are clean and polish my boots and my belt', an 18-year-old officer tells the middle-aged soldier detailed to look after him. And the action sequences, handled by veteran director Barkas, endorse the public-school heroism. Asquith, with his staunch liberal insistence on the futility of war, puts up a brave fight, but overwhelmed by the 8,000 extras and the flotillas of troop-carriers, he ends up celebrating patriotism rather than pacifism.
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