Storm Over the Nile

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Storm Over the Nile
Original cinema poster
Directed by Zoltan Korda
Terence Young
Written by R. C. Sherriff
Based onThe Four Feathers
by A. E. W. Mason
Produced byZoltan Korda
Starring Anthony Steel
Laurence Harvey
James Robertson Justice
Mary Ure
Cinematography Osmond Borradaile
Edward Scaife
Edited by Raymond Poulton
Music by Benjamin Frankel
Distributed by British Lion Films
Independent Film Distributors
20th Century Fox (UK)
Release date
  • 26 December 1955 (1955-12-26)
Running time
107 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£197,803 (UK) [1]

Storm Over the Nile is a 1955 British adventure film adaptation of the 1902 novel The Four Feathers , directed by Terence Young and Zoltan Korda. The film not only extensively used footage of the action scenes from the 1939 film version stretched into CinemaScope, but is a shot-for-shot, almost line-for-line remake of the earlier film, which was also directed by Korda. Several pieces of music by the original composer Miklos Rozsa were also utilized. It featured Anthony Steel, Laurence Harvey, James Robertson Justice, Mary Ure, Ian Carmichael, Michael Hordern and Christopher Lee. The film was shot on location in the Sudan.



The film follows Harry Faversham, a sensitive child who is terrified by his father and his Crimean War veteran friends relating tales of cowardice that often ended in suicide. Young Harry follows his father's wishes of being commissioned in the Royal North Surrey Regiment. He also becomes engaged to marry the daughter of his father's friend, General Burroughs.

A year after his father's death, the North Surreys are given orders to deploy to the Sudan Campaign to join General Kitchener's forces to avenge General Gordon's death at Khartoum. Disgracefully, Harry resigns his commission on the eve of his regiment's departure, whereupon he receives a white feather (a symbol of cowardice) from each of three of his fellow officers and his fiancée.

Unable to live as a coward, Harry contacts a sympathetic friend of his father's, Dr Sutton, to obtain his help and contacts to join the campaign in the Sudan. He meets Dr Sutton's friend Dr Harraz in Egypt, and a plan is hatched whereby Harry is disguised as a member of a tribe that had their tongues cut out for their treachery by the supporters of the Mahdi. The tribe is identified with a brand that Harry undergoes as well as dyeing his skin colour. This extreme course of action is required to conceal the fact that he cannot speak Arabic or any other native language.

In his guise as a native worker, Harry follows his old company which has been ordered to create a diversion to distract the enemy. His former comrade and romantic rival Captain Durrance loses his helmet on a reconnaissance patrol. He is unable to retrieve it or move from a position facing the sun as a result of Sudanese searching for him. The hours he was forced to look at the hot sun destroy the nerves of his eyes, making him blind.

Harry warns the company of the enemy's night assault, but is knocked unconscious. His company is wiped out, with Harry's former friends, the Subalterns Burroughs and Willoughby captured by the enemy and imprisoned in Omdurman. Harry plays mute with the blind Durrance to take him to British lines, then enters Omdurman to rescue his old friends.


Main cast (in credits order)

Other notable cast


It was one of the last movies made by Alex Korda. The producer said he wanted to make films that were in colour and had big screen spectacle in order to entice audiences away from television.

Kenneth More says Alex Korda offered him a lead role in the film but he turned it down to appear in The Deep Blue Sea (1955) instead. [2]

At one point it was going to be called None But the Brave. [3]

Ann Miller was reportedly offered a role. [4] It was the screen debut for Ronald Lewis who was signed to a contract by Korda after impressing on stage in Mourning Becomes Electra. [5]

The film used locally posted British soldiers for some of the battle scenes.

Zoltan Korda reportedly complained the process of blowing up the old footage to CinemaScope "stretched the camels out until they looked like greyhounds." [6]


Variety said it "places full emphasis on action". [7]

Filmink said "Steel isn't terribly convincing as a coward, but he has heroic dash suitable for the part – he completely suits the universe of the movie (as opposed to co-star Laurence Harvey who always seems to be “acting”)." [8]

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  1. Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p506
  2. More or Less, Kenneth More, Hodder and Stoughton, 1978, ISBN   0-340-22603-X p. 163
  3. Nepean, Edith (12 March 1955). "Round the British Studios". Picture Show. London. 64 (1667): 11. ProQuest   1880291295.
  4. Looking at Hollywood: Ann Miller Is Offered Starring Role in Movie, 'Storm Over the Nile' Hopper, Hedda. Chicago Daily Tribune 19 Feb 1953: b4.
  5. OBSERVATIONS ON THE BRITISH SCREEN SCENE: Graham Greene Returns to Production -- New Star Is Born -- Other Matters By STEPHEN WATTS LONDON. New York Times 25 Sep 1955: X5.
  6. Korda, Michael (1981). Charmed Lives. Avon Books. p. 405.
  7. Review of film at Variety
  8. Vagg, Stephen (23 September 2020). "The Emasculation of Anthony Steel: A Cold Streak Saga". Filmink.