The film, The Charge of the Light Brigade and The Wind and The Lion exemplify Great Power Imperialism In what is now known as the Third World. These moves depict the images that the imperial powers and local people and elites held of each other. In both films, the imperial powers are portrayed as honorable, civilized, and decent, whereas the local people and elites are viewed to be dishonorable, uncivilized, barbarians. The imperial powers’ view of the local people and elites is revealed through the condescending attitude shown to them, as well as their traditions.
The local people and elites are treated as pawns on a chessboard, willed to move by the whim of imperialism. Also dealt With are the views of the imperial on the Great Power struggle for territorial acquisitions outside of Europe. Yet despite their many cultural differences, the local people and elites hold a similar view to the imperialists.
They see the imperial powers as being cowardly, and manipulative, and often we see the same imperial attitude brought out in the local elites.
These various perceptions and attitudes are illustrated in various scenes through the actions and reactions of the characters. The imperial view is examined in two ways: their perception of local people and elites, and their perception of themselves. Throughout both films there is the constant attitude that the imperial powers feel that the local people and elites exist to do the imperial bidding. This mindset is first seen in The Charge of the Light Brigade when the British military officials, in a condescending mariner, inform Surat Khan that the Queen of England has revoked her monetary support.
Their expectation of diplomatic relationships to remain changeless illustrates their consideration only for the welfare of their state, while remaining dismissive of the welfare of those beneath them.
Similarly, in The Wind and The Lion, the Americans expect the Bashaw of Tangier to force the Raisuli to hand over the American hostages. Their manner towards the Bashaw is very demanding and at one point a more experienced official has to curb a younger official’s rude outburst, their whole mannerism indicates that they feel that the Bashaw is not a political equal and that their demands should be met iust because they are Americans. The imperials continue their poor treatment through the obvious disdain that they show for local customs and traditions. In The Charge of the Light Brigade the British openly criticize the Bashaw Ior for owning a vulture, citing it as barbaric, even though they are guests in his home. In The Wind and The Lion, the military official shows his impatience at the Sherif of Wazan for his request of lions. His whole attitude determines the request’s petty, as if the Sherif is a spoiled child and his actions towards the Sherif are comparable to those of an exasperated parent.
Though they view the locals as uncivilized. and beneath themselves. the imperials see themselves in quite a different light. They are motivated by honor; always acting in a manner they consider civilized and decent. In The Charge of the Light Brigade the battalion feels that it is necessary to vow revenge of Surat Kahn and the Russians for the barbaric slaughter that they suffer at his hands. They feel dishonored, and that only through vindication on the battlefield will honor be restored. In The Wind and The Lion the Americans also feel an urge to maintain their honor. and do so by fighting against the FrancorRussian alliance to free the Raisuli, as per their agreement. This also illustrates the different value systems that are held by the imperials and the locals, for the imperials, their exploits on the battlefield are the largest measure of he status of a man.
This is illustrated by Maior Geoffrey Vickers’s insistence that the Light Brigade be allowed to fight Surat Khan in The Charge of the Light Brigade. as well as the takeover of the Bashaw of Tangiers palace, in The Wind and The Lion. However, we see the locals measure a mans worth through his material possessions. In The Charge of the Light Brigade, We see the importance that the Sherif of Wazan places on his carriage, and in The Wind and The Lion we see how the Raisuli measures his status through the number of women, soldiers, and wealth he owns. In both The Charge of the Light Brigade and The Wind and The Lion, the local people and elites hold similar views of the imperials- they view them as manipulative, dishonorable, and untrustworthy. In The Charge of the Light Brigade Surat Khan feels manipulated by the English when they revoke their monetary support, and in return for their lack of support he becomes unsupportive in their quest for maintaining stable diplomatic relations.
Instead, he becomes manipulative as well and aligns himself with he russians in order to unbalance the Great Power struggle. In The Wind and The Lion the Raisuli also feels the presence of imperial manipulation in that the FancorRussian alliance is puppeteering the Bashaw of Tangier and the Sherif oi Wazan in order to further their Great Power struggle for territorial conquests. The local people and elites also maintain that while the imperials go on about honor they are in fact very cowardly. This is made obvious in The Wind and The Lion when the Raisuli rants about how the Great Powers are not great, but cowardly for fighting With guns while the locals maintain great honor by fighting with swords, and looking their enemies in the lace. Yet despite these viewed differences, we are shown how their views of each other are veiy similar. An exemplary example of this is in The Wind and The Lion when the Russian soldier puts away his gun and fights the Raisuli with a sword, and in return, the raisuli does no unnecessarily kill him.
The attitudes that Surat Khan and the Raisuli maintain are very imperialistic In that they are very self centered, only thinking about the benefits for their country or tribe in. The Wind and The Lion we see how Surat Khan has no loyalty but switches alliances depending on who serves his needs better an action very similar to the betrayal he felt at British hands. In the same way the Raisuli, in The Wind and The Lion, feels that any measure is necessary to free his people from the oppression that they feel at imperial hands. Despite their similarities, the differences are great as well the local people and elites are motivation differs from that ol the imperials, in The Wind and The lion we see that while the Americans are motivated by an assault to their honor, the Raisuli is motivated by his God, Allah. Both films deal with the varying Views these different cultures and social classes have of each other. The imperials view the local people and elites as beneath them, uncivilized, and barbaric while the local people and elites the imperials as untrustworthy cowards vet despite these varying opinions, there are in fact many similarities between them.
The Charge of the Light Brigade displays a realistic portrayal of imperial attitudes and the Great Power struggle for outSIde territories. We are shown how the British interact with each other and with the locals, as well as the reasoning behind their actions. The Wind and The Lion also does an excellent job of representing imperial attitudes and the struggle between European Great Powers. However, it also has an interpretation of the local people and elites’ attitudes in The Wind and The Lion, because we have a greater insight into the views of the local people we can better understand the interaction between the locals and imperials, and the varying similarities and differences. There are always two sides two a story two opinions to an issue and The Wind and The Lion keeps this concept in mind, making it the better film. It is interesting to wonder that despite their differences, in different circumstances these cultures might find their similarities ironic and amusing.