During the Rif War in Morocco, the French Foreign Legion's outpost of Tarfa is threatened by Khalif Hussein's tribes but Sergeant Mike Kincaid devises a plan of survival until the arrival of French reinforcements.
During the 1700s, pirate Captain Vallo seizes a British warship and gets involved in various money-making schemes involving Caribbean rebels led by El Libre, British envoy Baron Jose Gruda, and a beautiful courtesan named Consuelo.
Sgt. Mike Kincaid of the French Foreign Legion learns, from a Riff prisoner, that an attack will soon be made by the villainous Hussin on the Legion's outpost of Tarfa. Kincaid volunteers to lead nine other Legionnaires on a mission to delay Hussin's attack till reinforcements arrive. When he discovers that Hussin plans to marry Mahla, a girl from a rival tribe, in order to build a coalition against the French, Kincaid kidnaps Mahla. Hussin forcefully takes her back, but by now his planned attack on Tarfa is crumbling and Mahla has begun to fall in love with Kincaid.Written by
dinky-4 of Minneapolis
"The Sahara - - years ago, land of the Riffs, the Foreign Legion-and adventure"
More known for writing credits that include the likes of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Sergeant Rutledge, Willis Goldbeck here instead jumps into the directors chair for this fun Burt Lancaster led desert adventure piece. Also starring Jody Lawrance, Gerald Mohr and John Dehner, the film finds a cast rightly not taking things too seriously. The plot sees Sergeant Mike Kincaid (Lancaster all teeth and pectorals) lead nine Legionnaires on a deadly mission to delay a Riff attack on a desert fort. Whilst on the trek Kincaid learns that the Riff leader Khalid Hussein (Mohr) is planning to marry Mahla (Lawrance) so as to unite two once opposing tribes. So, to prevent the marriage, Kincaid kidnaps Mahla and the troubles for the Legionnaires are about to get much much worse.
It's easy to dismiss the all round acting as being rather poor, but with the material and the obvious tone the makers were going for, it all sits rather well. None more so than with the square jawed Lancaster, an Oscar winning actor whose comic timing wasn't always put to the best use. Here, however, it is. For sure much of the film is iffy technically, but in glorious Technicolor and with smiles and moustaches aplenty, the film winds up being the undemanding light entertainment piece it set out to be. Think Carry On Follow That Camel meets The Crimson Pirate and we are about there I think. 5.5/10
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