The ill-advised battle of Balaclava, immortalized as a moral victory in Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem Charge of the Light Brigade, was lavishly re-created in this British historical spectacle. Among those converging in the Crimea in the mid-19th century are "good" British officer Cyril McLaglen and his "bad" counterpart Miles Mander. The latter falsely accuses the former of murder, whereupon McLaglen is dishonorably discharged from the service. He returns to the Crimea as a common horse soldier, whereupon heroine Benita Hume warns him of the presence of a Russian spy amidst the British troops. This minor revelation snowballs into the "heroic" military blunder at Balaclava ("Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do or die"). Completed as a silent film by the prolific Maurice Elvey, Balaclava was extensively re-shot as a talkie under the direction of Milton Rosmer; the dialogue was written by Robert Stevenson, later an important director in his own right.
by Hal Erickson synopsis