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Funny to see as the non-French people see the Legion Etrangère;generally in the French movies ,the hero has done something very wrong and takes refuge there;to be honest,it was the same in "Beau Geste" .Here ,the hero is unfairly charged with murder and sentenced to death and he takes refuge in civilian life.
William (Wilhem) Dieterle has a good knowledge of the French popular culture ;after all he did the best version of "Notre Dame De Paris" (The hunchback of Notre Dame ,1939)not to mention his Madame Du Barrry and his Pasteur biopics.Here in the fort,we can hear the Legion classic "As-Tu Vu la Casquette Du Père Bugeaud?" which I used to sing in nursery school (or is it my grandma who taught me the song?);the native brats sing "Cadet Rousselle" in English ;the hero's name is Morand ,the same as Pierre Benoit's legionnaire in "L'Atlantide" which was transferred to the screen several times ,even in the silent age.
The rebels who attack the fort are given the same treatment as those in Ford 's "lost patrol" (1934)or Julien Duvivier's "La Bandera" (1935):they are bastards,period.
The movie is too short and the ending is rather implausible,but it is quite entertaining and it's always a joy to see Loretta Young as the comforter angel.
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