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Michael "Beau" Geste leaves England in disgrace and joins the infamous French Foreign Legion. He is reunited with his two brothers in North Africa, where they face greater danger from their own sadistic commander than from the rebellious Arabs. Written by
Marg Baskin <email@example.com>
There are no female speaking parts in this movie. See more »
Throughout the film the legionnaires wear the collar insignia of the 2nd Regiment of the Foreign Legion (2e REI.) Yet most of their geographic references are to Algeria. When the detachment relieves Ft. Zinderneuf the previous commander's orders are to return to Sidi bel Abbes, the Legion HQ in Algeria. Likewise, during the mutiny the legionnaires discuss escaping across the border to Morocco. Additionally the legionnaires are in combat with the Tuaregs, a Saharan tribe found in Southern Algeria. However, during the period of the film (and throughout the inter-war period) the 2e REI was stationed in Morocco, fighting the Berbers, and not in Algeria, which was instead garrisoned by the 1e RE. See more »
Sergeant Major Dagineau:
[to Beau Geste]
So, you couldn't wait till my back was turned. Good, because it won't be a bullet you'll get from me, but you'll beg for one before you die. I promise you.
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For those who watch the Cooper version, similarities will be made. The Cooper version is probably a bit better for most of us, and evokes more of the "childhood fantasies meet horrid realization" motif.
This film is good on its own merits. This film is completely the opposite of the other in the brothers who are killed. In fact, the third brother never even speaks, and we don't even know he is there if we watch the film. The second brother arrives late, and still serves as a character, but the entire focus is on "Beau" himself.
This film also gives us more of the sadistic NCO, played by Telly. He is not only cruel, but sadistic, as he even punishes those loyal to him.
The character of Beau is the motif of the story, however, and is what makes the film worthwhile. He is an "everyman", but yet "the man of mystery". True to life, the "man of mystery" is not someone who embarks on a ego trip, but someone who just lives life. It is not someone who tries to con, cheat, and confuse others, because Life does enough of that on its own (which makes such a person look like an inept fool to others), but someone who is honest and tries to do his job. Life ALWAYS makes such men look like "men of Mystery", because there are just too many oddities that occur.
This is what happens in "Cool Hand Luke", as Newman's character is made into a legend, yet from the beginning he tells the prison guard he doesn't want to make trouble, and he doesn't. His honesty is what turns him into a legend.
So it is here. Beau is miscast as a crusader and assassin, playing the "Inspector General" so to speak, both to the leaders, and to the men. He never tries to confuse any of them. He merely glides along, and that is what makes this film so breathtaking, and makes the action come so alive.
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