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 own sadistic commander than from the rebellious Arabs.Written by
Marg Baskin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Dagineau lifts the dead legionnaire Fouchet onto the ramparts, he is able to easily do it using just one arm, revealing it to be a mere dummy not a real actor (notice the cut to the Geste brothers in between to disguise the switch). See more »
Sergeant Major Dagineau:
[to Beau Geste]
So, you couldn't wait till my back was turned. Good, because it won't be a bullet you'll get from me, but you'll beg for one before you die. I promise you.
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Quite unfaithful to the book but a superior adventure film nonetheless
The 1939 Beau Geste was almost completely faithful to the early 20th century romantic novel with much more skillful, nuanced acting and plot development. This version transforms the three Geste brothers into Americans and substitutes a very vague, underdeveloped story line regarding their presence in the Foreign Legion.
However, this is a much better action movie. Telly Savalas is superb as the sadistic sergeant, and the almost thirty year time span between films allowed for a more explicit depiction of the sexual aspect of his twisted behavior. The battle scenes are brutally realistic and the uniforms, equipment, and methods of fighting are much more accurately portrayed here.
The most serious problem with the 1966 version is an absolutely horrid soundtrack. One of the worst ever. The traditional Legion march "Le Boudin" is converted into Lawrence Welk style dentist office muzak, even though the original, at 175 years old, has long been in the public domain and is featured in most Foreign Legion movies. Actually, "boudin" was a sausage ration issued in the old Legion. The original lyrics are pretty silly (later stanzas not so), but, in it's original form, the march is most stirring.
Both films are quite entertaining, and those who want more of a story line and more complex acting and character development will no doubt prefer the 1939 version. But for action and realism, this version definitely gets the nod.
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