Guns at Batasi- Richard Attenborogh (1964) - (Searching for)

OK Guys, I've been trying Amazon, E-bay and all the usual places to get a copy of this belter of a film in which Richard Attenborough plays the epitome of an RSM. It's un-PC by today's standards, relevant to British History and is probably one of my faves. Can I get a copy ? Can I b*ll*cks.

The trouble is, there are plenty of copies about, but they're NTSC region 1 which is USA / Canada.

Now for the techie question. Happy to buy a yank copy, but can I play on my PC ? Obviously the DvD player is a UK version and in the living room so Sunray Domestic will interupt with bone questions like..."why to RSMs always have to shout ?"

Any Ideas ?...about acquiring the film not zero-alpha that is.

In case any of you haven't heard of this black and white classic, here's the synopsis:

Library Synopsis
A British Regiment stationed in a Newly independent African state is preparing to celebrate the Queen's birthday when Colonel Deal is ordered to hand over command to the African Captain Abraham pending the result of political agitation. Deal leaves for H.Q. confining all British personnel to quarters. The veteran R.S.M., Lauderdale, is in charge of the Mess, stranded travellers and Miss Barker-Wise, a visiting Labour M.P. from London. Lieutenant Boniface, Miss Barker-Wise's former protegée, assumes rebel command in the name of the new government. Abraham escapes, wounded, and is granted asylum by Lauderdale who prepares to defend the Mess against Boniface and sabotages his guns. Deal arrives confirming the new regime and Lauderdale is ignominiously ordered to leave the country by Boniface. Shattered by this seeming injustice he allows himself one act of lèse majesté before preparing to obey orders again.

I might add that it is a great film with some serious British actors, Jack Hawkins Flora Robson and, believe it or not, Mia Farrow (OK She's Irish American) to name a few. Stiffest upper british lip award goes naturally to Jack Hawkins.

I commend it to arrsers's up there with "Tunes of Glory".

Thanks for that, but I refuse to have Sky in the house because it's too bloody expensive and the kids, (all in their mid teens) continually 'mong - it' by watching hours of American Sh*te. Bad for their mental health and my wallet.

Agree with "Tunes of Glory" though. Got to be watched on a bloody wet Sunday afternoon after a massive lunch with a rather large Bushmills at the elbow.
NTSC (National Television Standard Certificate or as it's known at the BBC Never Twice Same Colour) DVDs will often play in PAL (the infinately better Phase Alternate Line system that we have in the UK) DVD players but not the other way around.

It may be worth while risking it and buying a US Copy on this basis.

If It doesn't work please forward your complaint to:

Tech Help
Room 5012
BBC TV Centre
Wood Lane
W12 7RJ

and blame them...

My copy is region 1 - my laptop plays it no problem. As there's no test cricket on Sky today I might pop it on later. I'll pass on the Bushmills.
It looks like I'm going to have to do just that, but I'll wait a few days and see what other arrsers come up with. Thanks for the advice.

Hmmm ! This thread might just translate to another subject on the lines of..."Best (say pre - 1980) war flicks to watch on a wet Sunday afternoon after lunch." That way we'll get the definitive list with out the latest Pearl Harbour cr*p or other CGI enhanced revisionary bollocks from the other side of the pond).

What d'you think ?
Right ! That's it then, I'm on to e-bay and will grab a copy. Thanks. By the way, it's NEVER to early to watch a B&W British War flick with a Bushmills at the elbow ! You've got the movie, you've definetly got the rain......why waste the moment ?
Yes, if there is one thing we have learned in recent weeks it is that a large Bushmills and military fiction go together like a horse and carriage...Steward - put Zulu Dawn on the DVD and bring me a glass of Knockando.
Warning ...this might adversely effect your enjoyment of the film......

If I'm not mistaken this film was shot not in West Africa but in Pirbright in winter.

The British DOP Dougie Slocombe, one of our great cinematographers, managed to make the set, exteriors and all look like an African Outpost.
Naked and the Dead is currently showing on movies4men...TFB and Fenianette safely off to Devon. I think the boxed set of BOB and Rome Series 1 will be getting some stick this weekend!
Appears the seller great4dvd on eBay has had these in Region 2, sells out of Spain. If you do eBay might be worth asking them? And if it’s in English? And if it’s a private copy from NTSC or a pukka PAL burn of a film print etc???

Bought my copy about six months ago - plays OK on home PC and sons laptop but not my work laptop. Didn't work on our decent DVD player (Sony) but does plays on cheap (£16.99) DVD player from Asda in sons room.

Classic Scene Number 1

Mr. Boniface! I’ve been a member of this Mess for 23 years, Sir. In all that time I’ve never seen anybody – man, woman or child, warrant officer, field marshal or prime minister – walk into this mess with his hat upon his head. I do not see you now, Sir.

Classic Scene Number 2

Just one moment, Sir! If you please. Now you listen to me, Mr. Boniface. I’m a professional soldier, born across the road from Wellington barracks. I enlisted when I was 17. By the time I was 24 I was a sergeant, serving on the North-West frontier of India. Sometimes, Mr. Boniface, I’d lay awake in my tent with a hurricane lamp, sometimes in the middle of a blizzard, reading about the exploits of other British soldiers. Sometimes I’d be lying there in my freezing cold tent actually sweating, beads of sweat pouring down my face from a battle 200 years old. And later on, I had a little active service of my own to take notice of – now what I’m coming to, Sir, is this: all this experience of warfare, imaginary or otherwise, gives me a certain amount of experience to face this little misunderstanding with a certain amount of SANG FROID! IT’S A FLY ON THE WALL, SIR! A FIGHT WITH A FEATHER! As far as the weapons are concerned, I was ordered by my C.O. to keep them to swat flies with, and until I get instructions from the same source I intend to hang on to them …
…. You seem to have gained control of this battalion by an act of mutiny. Very well. You’re entitled to the Mess servants, because they’re your Countrymen, not mine. You’re entitled to the Mess property, because it stands on your soil….. But if you think for one moment that I’m going to hand over the lives of these people to the custody of a HALF-COOKED, JUMPED-UP, SAD LITTLE BLACK-BALLED WARRIOR LIKE YOURSELF, YOU’RE VERY MUCH MISTAKEN! DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?

Brilliant dialogue - brilliant acting.
Don't bother yourself. The flick was well written and probably well directed etc (haven't a clue what "executive producers" and "gaffers" do) but it was a foul mess as far as casting and acting went.

Attenborough - grossly hamming and blustering, like a WW2 caricature, and wholly unaware of what a real infantry RSM sounds like (OK, there are fools like that, and I've met them, but nobody should make a film about them). All he needed was an accent, good background research and a credible character outlook to change, mould and form the character into something believable and worthy of greatness, but he chose "********".

Flora Robson. Should have been banned from ever appearing in any further production of acted entertainment, be it stage, screen telly or beach. Utterly dreadful. Actress? Dame? Dear oh dear.

Which sums it all up, in my humble opinion. Everything else Attenborough did has been pretty good, but this...

(Now, if you wanted an 'RSM' back then, you should have gone for Harry Andrews. He knew how to put it up 'em. See 'The Hill'.)
I still think it's a great film for a wet Sunday afternoon. You have your opinion and I respect that. Trouble is, you seem to be the one disenting voice.

I do, however, whole-heartedly agree that Harry Andrews is one brilliant actor - in any military guise. Just watched 'Too Late the Hero'. He only had a small part as the CO of a bunch of scruffy Jocks in WW2, but he really did make the part seem as though he'd grown up with the Bn.

Does it with all his flicks, though I can never remember seeing him in RN uniform. Am I wrong ? Did Sir Harry ever play in Dark Blue ?
Was on a couple of weeks ago - terrestrial channel. However, battery problem meant the recording didn't happen. Not my fault, it'll be on again

Dear All, thanks for your help on this one. DvD arrived today and works a treat on my PC. :D

Now trying to extricate myself from chores etc in order to enjoy the fruits of my (our) labours.

On top of that, a mate has just sent me a brilliant flick that I once saw in Australia many years ago, "The Odd Angry Shot". Aussie SAS in Vietnam having a great time. Iconic for the Aussies, they must get it on TV every Boxing Day rather like we get 'Bridge on the River Kwai".

Cheers Lads, Scabbers

" Madam, a large Bushmills, if you please ! Get myself ? Oh very well well the way, Zero-Alpha your OJAR is due....." :wink:


It is probably doing the tv rounds again. I saw it last night on Film Four at 18.55 in the UK. Usually when they have a film on once it gets repeated several times at least in the following weeks.

Well worth watching and surprising I had never heard of it before, possibly 1964 was late for black and white films as by then the James Bond's were getting all the publicity, but this has far more import than any James Bond film I have ever seen.

I see it is due to be broadcast again on Saturday Nov 8th at 4.15 pm GMT

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