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The Lost Patrol (1934)

Passed | | Adventure, War | 16 February 1934 (USA)
A dozen British soldiers, lost in a Mesopotamian desert during World War I, are menaced by unseen Arab enemies.

Director:

John Ford

Writers:

Dudley Nichols (screen play), Garrett Fort (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Victor McLaglen ... The Sergeant
Boris Karloff ... Sanders
Wallace Ford ... Morelli
Reginald Denny ... Brown
J.M. Kerrigan ... Quincannon
Billy Bevan ... Hale
Alan Hale ... Cook
Brandon Hurst ... Bell
Douglas Walton ... Pearson
Sammy Stein ... Abelson
Howard Wilson Howard Wilson ... Aviator
Paul Hanson Paul Hanson ... MacKay
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Storyline

A World War I British Army patrol is crossing the Mesopotomian desert when their commanding officer, the only one who knows their destination is killed by the bullet of unseen bandits. The patrol's sergeant keeps them heading north on the assumption that they will hit their brigade. They stop for the night at an oasis and awake the next morning to find their horses stolen, their sentry dead, the oasis surrounded and survival difficult. Written by Erik Gregersen <erik@astro.as.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

desert | sergeant | sniper | cavalry | arab | See All (28) »

Taglines:

BLISTERING SUN...BLAZING BULLETS! (original print ad - all caps)

Genres:

Adventure | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 February 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Patrulha Perdida See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$254,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(original) | (1954 reissue length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Victor McLaglen actually served with the Irish Fusiliers in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) during World War I at the same time this story takes place. He eventually rose to be Provost Marshal--equivalent of Police Chief--of Baghdad. See more »

Goofs

As the plane is circling the encampment, you can see tire marks in the sand. See more »

Quotes

Brown: I can't say much for the women though, but, oh, the girls! All Malayan females should be poisoned at 21. Before that, they're... Mmmmmm!
Jock MacKay: But a bit on the dark side, hunh, Brown?
Brown: Oh, yes, they're dark, but the longer you're there, the whiter they get, or that's the way it seems. That didn't bother me, Jock. I'll never forget the first time I saw... We sailed into a little harbor about sundown. The girls all came swimming out, flowere in their long hair, singing and laughing up at us from the ...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

There is a short version of the film, with a running time of 66 minutes, prepared for a 1949 reissue. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sahara (1943) See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(1788) (uncredited)
Traditional Scottish 17th century music
Played in the score at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

 
THE Lost Patrol Reflects Ford's' Philosophy of Life
12 July 2008 | by tpea1See all my reviews

John Ford's the Lost Patrol probably reflects Ford's views on life in general . Ford knew what he wanted in the way he handles the various actors in their parts and each fulfills their role admirably . Karloff is a bit over the top at times and evidently Ford wanted that . Ford's symbolism is reflected in the setting , the circumstances and the characters and is enhanced by Max Steiners' brilliant score . The characters are a " Grand Hotel " collection , but each having his own views about life and how death meets them.

The setting is Mesopotamia , the original Garden of Eden as pointed out by Karloff . Here is Eden ruined by the fall of man , bleak , barren and deserted .There are only ruins with very little nourishment for sustenance . Death is represented by the unseen Arabs. It strikes without warning or without being seen . It strikes at the most inopportune times . All want an opportunity to fight this unseen enemy that has decimated their ranks.It strikes mercilessly and cruelly and shatters all hope . Man facing his mortality controls nearly all of the discussions and the reminiscing .

The helplessness of man in the midst of his circumstances seems to be Ford's "arch" for this film . This is conveyed by the inability to see the enemy or know when he will strike . He steals the provisions needed to survive and there is no way to retrieve them .The seeming 'victory' of reaching the oasis shatters that illusion after the first night .

One other commented on the anti-Christian ( or religious ) bias of Ford that shows itself in this picture . One strong point that Ford makes is that there is ' no help from above '. The airplane seems to be a sign that help has arrived , but that hope is soon shot down . Then the two men discuss that they know nothing about flying ( read religion ) . Their final act of helplessness and unbelief is to burn the plane . No help is coming from above ( God ) .

I sat spellbound watching Ford weave a masterpiece of a tapestry of symbolism . Here is Ford at the top of his game and illustrating his genius whether you agree with his philosophy or not . This is not just a story ( and it is a great one at that ) , but it is man's response to life . That is where and why the attempted remakes have failed . They see only the struggle and try to focus on that . The struggle against odds has been done in every genre ,so they bring nothing new to the table . Ford used the struggle as a tableau for the deeper struggle of the basic dilemmas of man and life.

I will watch this over and over .


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