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The Brigand of Kandahar (1965) | Oliver Reed hams it up wildly in the vintage Hammer adventure

Brigand of Kandahar (1965)

His Plundering Army of Bandit Raiders Sweeps to Glory
Across the Plains of India!

In director John Gilling‘s 1965 adventure The Brigand of Kandahar, it’s 1850 and the British Army are holed up in a fort in remote north-east India (actually Bray studios in Berkshire), valiantly trying to protect the Empire’s interests.

When mixed-race British officer Lieutenant Case (Ronald Lewis) is unjustly discharged, he finds himself being becoming a pawn in a rebel plot to attack the fort. Oliver Reed hams it up wildly as the ‘half-mad’ tribesman leader Eli Khan, while Yvonne Romain lends her exotic beauty to play his treacherous sister Ratina.

Meanwhile, when Glyn Houston’s foreign journalist Marriott sets out to uncover the truth behind the officer’s dismissal, he discovers not everything’s as it seems…

Brigand of Kandahar (1965)

While it wouldn’t win any awards for historical accuracy or political correctness (especially the use of white actors ‘blacked-up’, and the scant regard for Benjali culture or customs), this studio-bound non-horror Hammer is a lively enough romp to enjoy on a lost weekend, with Romain’s busty performance and Reed’s shouty turn being the film’s highlights.

The action scenes were lifted from the 1956 adventure, Zarak, which was actually shot in Morocco, while the military-influenced music score is by legendary Australian composer Don Banks.

The Brigand of Kandahar is out DVD in the UK from StudioCanal Home Entertainment and also screens on Movies4Men (Sky 325, Freeview 48, Freesat 304) on Sunday 22 May at 3.30pm

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