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Desert Legion (1953)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Romance | 8 May 1953 (USA)
Paul Lartal of the Foreign Legion meets the princess of a lost city in the Algerian mountains.


Joseph Pevney


Irving Wallace (screenplay), Lewis Meltzer (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Alan Ladd ... Paul Lartal
Richard Conte ... Crito Damou / Omar Ben Khalif
Arlene Dahl ... Morjana
Akim Tamiroff ... Pvt. Plevko
Oscar Beregi Sr. ... Si Khalil (as Oscar Beregi)
Leon Askin ... Maj. Vasil
Anthony Caruso ... Lt. Massaoud
George J. Lewis ... Lt. Lopez
Sujata Rubener Sujata Rubener ... Dancer (as Sujata)
Asoka Rubener Asoka Rubener ... Dancer (as Asoka)


Paul Lartal leads a troop of legionnaires into ambush at the hands of Omar Ben Calif. Returning later at the request of Princess Morjana he is led to the hidden city of Madara, currently harrassed by the evil Crito. Lartal must do in the bad guys (which includes participating in a bare chested spear-throwing contest), save the city and comfort the Princess. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A RECKLESS LEGEND OF THE FOREIGN LEGION! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Based on a 1927 novel by Georges Arthur Surdez titled "The Demon Caravan". Surdez (1900-49) contributed many "adventure" stories to such publications as "Collier's", the "Saturday Evening Post" and "Argosy". He was especially noted for his French Foreign Legion tales. See more »


Crito Damou aka Omar Ben Khalif: [to Lt. Lopez] A brave and silent soldier. We shall see how long you can remain brave and silent.
See more »

User Reviews

From Mabuse to Alphaville
29 November 2019 | by richardchattenSee all my reviews

Hollywood must have absolutely throbbed with fascinating stories in its heyday, and a glance at the credits of even a Universal-International potboiler like this (actually directed with some flair by Joseph Pevney, who later worked on 'Star Trek') reveals that it certainly lived up to both the 'Universal' and the 'International' parts of its banner in those days!

At a superficial glance this appears just another yarn about the foreign legion; but on closer inspection it turns out to have elements of 'Lost Horizon' thrown into the mix, with ravishing redhead Arlene Dahl (still with us at 94, by the way) photographed in Technicolor in a succession of glitzy, diaphanous outfits by Bill Thomas by veteran cameraman John Seitz (whose CV included 'The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse' and 'Sunset Boulevard').

At fourth and fifth place in the cast list we find Akim Tamiroff without his rug but sporting enormous side-whiskers, who a dozen years later would turn up in 'Alphaville'; and as Dahl's father 77 year-old Oscar Beregi, twenty years after playing the role of asylum director Dr Baum in 'The Testament of Dr Mabuse'!

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Release Date:

8 May 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La legión del desierto See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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