During the 1920s, French Foreign Legion Major William Foster's unit is protecting an archaeological dig but the discovery of an Arab sacred burial site prompts the angry Arab tribes to attack Foster's small garrison.
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Maria Grazia Buccella,
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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 <email@example.com>
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 »
Dick Richards's 'March or Die' is an interesting film set in Morocco during the French colonization. It nicely entangles the war drama and the love triangle. As the captain, we see a ruthless William but his feelings for Simone show a more human side. Marco is the clever thief and a skilled smooth talker with a good heart but he too has a vulnerable side. Simone is perhaps the most complex of characters as she is ambivalent concerning William and in love with Marco though she cannot bring herself to say it. The main characters are quite well fleshed out. The pacing is slow at times. The love sequences are well executed and it is very well underplayed. There is no sugar syrupy moment. The cinematography is okay. A wonderful Gene Hackman is both hateful and sympathetic. Terence Hill performs very naturally. Max Von Sydow is good but Ian Holm is unintentionally funny and it looks as if he's mocking a Moroccan tribes leader rather than playing it. A radiant Catherine Deneuve is sublime. Gosh, she looks so beautiful! The rest of the cast do well. The movie sort of has a dated feel to it but 'March or Die' is good enough watch for a Thursday night.
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