A timid British Army officer has quit and burns his last day summons to a war in Egypt. Calling him a coward, his girl friend and 3 officer friends give him a white feather. In redemption, he shadows his friends in war to save their lives.
C. Aubrey Smith
Mary Rutledge arrives from the east, finds her fiance dead, and goes to work at the roulette wheel of Louis Charnalis' Bella Donna, a rowdy gambling house in San Francisco in the 1850s. She... See full summary »
Edward G. Robinson,
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... See full summary »
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>
This film has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 10 critic reviews. See more »
After Markoff puts the first corpse back on the wall to give the illusion that there are many legionnaires on the wall, it is clear that the "corpse" is still breathing. See more »
Michael 'Beau' Geste:
There'll be a flag flying out there in the morning that I swore to uphold. Armies of good men have died for it gladly. It's a battle flag and it's a flag of victory. I'm rather proud to be under it. And I wouldn't want to go out in the morning like you and know that I was going to be a traitor to it!
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Opening credits prologue: "The love of a man for a woman wanes and waxes like the moon . . . but the love of brother for brother is steadfast as the stars, and endures like the word of the prophet."
The three Geste brothers, wards of their Aunt Patricia, go off to the Foreign Legion because they are suspected of stealing a family jewel, the Blue Water sapphire. It's a question of family honor and pride back in the day when this was thought to be a real virtue.
Beau Geste continues as a story about the Geste brothers in the Foreign Legion. Since they are all adopted wards with no clue as their real origins, that might account for the distinctly non-British speech of Gary Cooper as Beau and Robert Preston as Digby. Ray Milland as the youngest brother John was presumably influenced by British speech at a young enough age.
Though the three brother leads perform more than adequately, Beau Geste is truly a film where the character actors take over. Brian Donlevy was given his one and only Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor as the sadistic Sergeant Markov. You won't forget him, I promise you.
Three others that also stand out are Albert Dekker who leads a mutiny against Markov at the distant outpost of Fort Zinderneuf and Stanley Andrews as Maris who tries to prevent the mutiny. And last but certainly not least is J. Carrol Naish who is Rassinov the eyes and ears of Markov among the men. Naish was an amazingly versatile character actor who played just about every ethnic type you could name. He blended into his characters so well he almost has no identity of his own on screen. And that hyenish high-pitched cackle that he uses for Rassinov will linger with you forever.
Susan Hayward is in this also as the love interest for Ray Milland. She's young and pretty wasted in a thankless role in a male dominated film. No hint at all here of the characters she later portrayed like Lillian Roth or Barbara Graham.
Beau Geste is the kind of adventure story for those who like their heroes gallant and romantic as so many of us do.
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