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Beau Geste (1939)

Passed | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 24 July 1939 (USA)
Three adopted English brothers join the French Foreign Legion in North Africa, after one of them steals their adoptive family's famous heirloom sapphire.

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Writers:

(screen play), (based on the novel by)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Charles Barton ...
...
Major Henri de Beaujolais
Heather Thatcher ...
James Burke ...
Lieutenant Dufour
G.P. Huntley ...
Augustus Brandon (as George P. Huntley)
Harold Huber ...
Voisin
...
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Storyline

Beau, John, and Digby Geste are three inseparable, adventurous brothers who haven been adopted into the wealthy household of Lady Brandon. When money in the uppercrust household grows tight, Lady Brandon is forced to sell her most treasured jewel the mighty "Blue Water" sapphire. The household gets it out for one final look, the lights go out and it vanishes stolen by one of the brothers, no doubt. That night, Beau, Digby, and John each "confess" and slip out, John leaving behind Isabel, whom he loves. They all join the Foreign Legion, and Beau and Digby are split from John and put under the command of the ruthless and sadistic Sergeant Markoff. Things begin to get hairy as the rest of the Legionaires plot a mutiny against Markoff, in the midst of an attack by Arab hordes. Written by Sam Hayes <gshayes@mail.gwi.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Three against the world...brothers and soldiers all! See more »

Genres:

Action | Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

24 July 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Drei Fremdenlegionäre  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gary Cooper was not in the original Beau Geste (1926), but he did appear both in this remake of it and in the sequel to it, Beau Sabreur (1928). William A. Wellman declined the job of directing the latter film but did direct this one. See more »

Goofs

When Beaujolais is examining the corpses at the beginning of the film, Voisin half-blinks twice. See more »

Quotes

John Geste: Charming fellow, our sergeant.
Michael 'Beau' Geste: A trifle uncouth, but the best soldier we'll ever see.
See more »

Connections

Version of Beau Geste (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

The Legionnaire's Song
(uncredited)
Music by Troy Sanders
Lyrics by Frank Loesser
See more »

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User Reviews

 
In The French Foreign Legion
19 October 2009 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

It gets off to a great start ... as a mystery. A relief cavalry approaches a Saharan desert outpost called Fort Zinderneuf, enclosed on all four sides. A cursory investigation from the outside indicates that all the soldiers at the fort are dead, propped up like mannequins with guns in their hands as if prepared to shoot. Then, without warning, two shots are fired at the arriving cavalry from inside the fort. The head of the relief cavalry sends a soldier in to investigate, but he disappears. When the relief cavalry moves inside the fort, a note is found on the body of one of the dead soldiers. The note is a confession of theft of a high-priced sapphire.

"Beau Geste" is a rousing adventure story of three brothers who start out as close-nit siblings in a privileged English household, and end up as adults in North Africa, as part of the French Foreign Legion.

The plot structure is mostly one long flashback. After the opening mystery, the plot reverts back fifteen years to when the three brothers were kids, with dreams of being in the military. The plot then progresses forward to reveal their actions that led ultimately to the film's opening mystery.

The plot is okay but a tad weak in the middle Act. Too much emphasis is placed on the sadistic Sgt. Markoff (Brian Donlevy), leader of Fort Zinderneuf. He overshadows the three brothers, and is thus somewhat distracting.

The film's B&W visuals are quite good. Yet, this is one film I would like to have seen in color. All that sand and the emptiness of the desert contrasts nicely with the staid, claustrophobic Victorian interiors the three brothers grew up in.

Acting is acceptable overall. But Gary Cooper is miscast in the lead role. He looks too old to play Beau. And his acting is rather wooden. I would have preferred a younger, perhaps less well-known actor.

Background music is wasted. It's too nondescript to contribute any emotional tone to the story, and it is at times manipulative.

Overall, "Beau Geste" is an engaging adventure story, with themes of loyalty, bravery, and honor. Despite some minor irritations, it's a well-constructed, highly credible film, one that is definitely worth watching.


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