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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
At the film's world premiere, the first reel of the 1926 silent version of "Beau Geste" was shown just before the entire 1939 sound version, in an effort to demonstrate how far films had advanced in thirteen years. This almost backfired because the 1939 film apparently followed the 1926 one extremely closely, and some of the first-night critics were annoyed rather than pleased at this, feeling that the 1939 version should have been more imaginative. However, this did not keep the 1939 version from becoming a smash hit and a film classic. See more »
John as a boy goes into the pond to get the boats and is wounded by one of the cannon. The wound is visible before the canon fires. See more »
And now, you scum, it's my turn. I'm going to give you a lesson in putting down an attempted mutiny that'll be the last thing you'll ever see. Maybe this'll make you die happy. Markoff thanks you. When he's an officer and has the Legion of Honor, he'll think often of the stupid, blundering pigs that put him where he is.
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A magnificent blue sapphire is stolen from the English estate of Brandon Abbas. BEAU GESTE and his two younger brothers are all suspected of the crime. To save their family from dishonor, they each make their way to join the French Foreign Legion. In the emptiness of North Africa, supported only by their love for each other, they will encounter pure evil...
Not only a wonderful adventure story, BEAU GESTE is also a morality tale on the true meaning of courage, the loyalty of brother for brother, and the responsibilities of virtue when confronted by absolute evil. Examined this way, the film can be enjoyed by the thoughtful viewer on many levels.
In the title role, Gary Cooper is excellent, exuding quiet strength & righteousness. Robert Preston & Ray Milland, as his younger brothers, give top-notch support. Here is a band of brothers to be reckoned with.
But it is the villains who really steal the show. Brian Donlevy is unforgettable as Sergeant Markoff, a sadist from the lowest depths of hell. To watch him drive the defense of his outpost, using the living & the dead, is to see a man driven mad by the evil chewing away at his very soul.
J. Carrol Naish is equally memorable as Rasinoff the rat. A little man used to lies & thievery, he becomes the natural toady for Markoff. When his fear finally drives him insane atop the watch tower, and he begins to cackle like a beast, it is a horrible sound to hear.
Broderick Crawford appears as a cowboy turned legionnaire. Albert Dekker is formidable as a mutinous soldier. Adolescent Donald O'Connor plays young Beau.
Director William Wellman gave the film fine atmospherics. Who can forget, in the very first sequence, the quiet ride up to eerie Fort Zinderneuf, manned by its unblinking sentries? The flashback scenes are rather tedious, but when the plot returns to the desert, there's adventure enough for the most jaded viewer.
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