Harry Black and the Tiger 1958

Whenever I read a review of this film it always seems to be a poor one BUT I thought it was a very good adventure film beautifully filmed in India.

Any  exotic locations such as Africa or India proved a great backcloth for any adventure story of this type and particularly for a colour film in Cinemascope. .   Stewart Granger looked the part in this one – very much in the same mould as Allan Quartermain in King Solomons Mines.  His character in the film  Harry Black is far from infallible –  he is a man who survived WWII – albeit with a badly damaged leg – but is still at war with his personal demons as well as a man-eating tiger.  At times in the film there are flashbacks which are integral to the plot, and the on screen chemistry between Harry (Granger) and Christian (Barbara Rush) is palpable.  Anthony Steel plays Christian’s husband – not a very appealing role for him.

The landscape and wildlife photography is terrific and the movie does a fine job of showing the people of India and their culture.

I particularly enjoyed the depiction of the relationship of Harry and his gun-bearer Bapu (I.S. Johar – another role for him was in North West Frontier as the train driver a year later) – which appeared to be built on mutual respect.  All in all this film is definitely a “must see” for fans of classic action/adventure films.

Stewart Granger and Barbara Rush search for the man-eating tiger – above.

Stewart Granger had by this time had the best years of his film career which took him to Hollywood to star in some big budget films.

Harry Black and the Tiger was produced and financed by John Brabourne who was the Son-In-Law of Earl Mountbatten who had an interest in film making and decided on this one. I do remember on a This is Your Life show featuring the life of Lord Brabourne back in October 1990 that Stewart Granger was one of the main guests - and the family seemed to be very good friends with him – and he re-counted experiences on this film. This was obviously well after the film had been made and in fact this was the first film he did produce.

Anthony Steel  was a British actor best known for his appearances in British war films of the 1950s such asThe Wooden Horse 1950. He was described as the perfect Imperial actor, born out of his time, blue-eyed, square-jawed, clean-cut. As another writer put it, “whenever a chunky dependable hero was required to portray grace under pressure in wartime or the concerns of a game warden in a remote corner of the empire, Steel was sure to be called upon – maybe typecast but at the time successful.    This was the case in Where No Vultures Fly and Harry Black – films which were made at each end of the decade.

Think he was in the original ‘Crossroads’ TV series for a while much later in his career. Also he was in a brilliant episode of Tales of the Unexpected in 1980 with John Mills called ‘Galloping Foxley’. I really liked that one.

Barbara Rush

She played the female lead in this film after her film career got off to a good start in 1951 when she appeared in When Worlds Collide and Black Shield of Falworth and Taza Son of Cochise among many others.

                               Above – When Worlds Collide – Barbara Rush. 

Barbara Rush married actor Jeffrey Hunter in 1950 and had a son, Christopher but they divorced in 1955.

She then married publicist  Warren Cowan in 1959 and their  daughter Claudia  is a journalist with Fox News TV.

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