British director John Gilling holds a curious position within the history of Hammer Film Productions. He was the main creative force behind two of their most successful and fondly remembered titles; The Plague of the Zombies (1966) and The Reptile (1966). Yet the other films he made for the company have become outright obscurities. It is only in the last couple of months that two of his films - The Scarlet Blade (1964) , and The Brigand of Kandahar - made their debut on DVD; whilst The Shadow of the Cat (1961) still awaits a legitimate DVD release. Even his single entry into the ongoing saga of Egypt’s favourite mummified corpse The Mummy’s Shroud (1967) is largely overlooked and ignored despite being very entertaining. When one compares Gilling to other directors Hammer regularly employed such as Terence Fisher, Freddie Francis, or Val Guest, his marginalisation becomes more apparent. Of course an obvious answer for the relative disappearance of these films might be that they’re dreadfully incompetent. Unfortunately The Brigand of Kandahar does little to dispel that reading.
© Shaun Anderson 2012