Comparing and Contrasting The Lives of a Bengal Lancer and Stanley and Livingstone
In the British Empire films, The Lives of a Bengal Lancer and Stanley and Livingstone, the focus of the films is what makes a person a hero. What characteristics should the person have, what does the person have to endure, and how do they become heroes? These are questions that both films ask and answer, throughout the course of the motion picture.
Each film represents heroism in a different way. In the film Stanley and Livingstone the main character, Henry Morton Stanley, goes on a journey to find the "lost" Doctor David Livingstone, but what Stanley really finds on his journey to Africa is what heroism really is. (Or at least what this movie says heroism is.) The main requirement that this film stresses to be important in a hero is selflessness as well as courage, bravery, strength and knowledge.
This selflessness is a trait that Henry Morton Stanley admires greatly in the good, Dr. David Livingstone. This is evident when Stanley meets the doctor for the first time and is surprised to find that he is not lost nor captured, but he is willingly living in this jungle and helping these people. There are a lot of reaction shots of Spencer Tracey's character (Stanley) which show him admiring Dr. Livingstone. Stanley develops a great admiration for the doctor and because of the doctor's selflessness he begins to take on a heroic quality throughout the film. There are many scenes where Stanley can be seen showing his admiration for Dr. Livingstone
(through the reaction shots). One such scene is when Dr. Livingstone is removing a spine from a child. Then as the film progresses, it is Stanley who is faced with whether or not to...