Foreign Legion Major Foster (Hackman), an American haunted by his memories of the recently-ended Great War, is assigned to protect a group of archaeologists at their dig. Foster's unit ... See full summary »
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Foreign Legion Major Foster (Hackman), an American haunted by his memories of the recently-ended Great War, is assigned to protect a group of archaeologists at their dig. Foster's unit includes the charming, thieving rascal Marco (Hill), who joined the Legion only to avoid prison. After long stretches portraying the boredom and hardship of day-to-day life in the Legion, Foster's command occupies a small village where the archaeologists believe they've found a burial site sacred to the Arabs. An Arab leader (Holm) uses this affront to unite the tribes in Jihad, and attacks the tiny Legion garrison at the dig. An epic battle follows, very reminiscent of the film "Zulu". Costumes, firearms, and props are all very authentic-looking, and show great attention to detail. Written by
Cameron Fairchild <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Gene Hackman had been experiencing pains in his back. The film's insurance company refused to allow the shooting to continue because a permanent injury to Hackman could have cost it a lot of money. The insurers suggested shooting the film somewhere in the deserts of the United States. But the color of the sand dunes in Agadir is not the same as the color of the sand in Nevada. Several big American transport planes were used to transport tons of sand from the Agadir dunes in order to camouflage the sand of Nevada. (Source: Beyond Casablanca, Page 131). See more »
The Legion uses French military equipment and customs. Yet in one scene, when the new recruits are awakened one morning, an American bugle call (reveille) is used. See more »
Maj. William Sherman Foster:
[Marco has rescued Top Hat and brought him back to the Legion's fort. Major Foster is not impressed with this "heroism"]
On a march a man dies where he falls. We don't go back for stragglers.
I'll remember that, sir.
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Forgotten film by Gene Hackman. This was the truest depiction based on the histories of the Legion of the so called "Beau Geste" period. The book didn't have as happy an ending but both are satisfying. The film has some interesting moments in its final battle scene where the Legionaires are running around using Lewis Light Machine guns as Tommy Guns. Catherine DeNeuve was reduced to window dressing unfortunately. And surprise of surprises; Ian Holm,who is so English, plays the Berber Leader, El Krim. Morocco is a long way from the Shire. Terence Stamp is surprising as a blond gypsy who rises to the military way of life after avoiding all discipline and authority.
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