A reinforcement of French Foreign Legionnaires finally arrive at the besieged Fort Zinderneuf. The day before, it was being attacked by arab tribesmen. The commander halts his troops to access the situation. Although the French tri-color flag proudly waves above the fort - everything is mysteriously quiet. Maybe everyone inside is asleep. "Let's wake 'em up in there..." says the commander and fires his pistol into the air. He is answered by rifle shots from the fort - the bullets narrowly missing the commander's horse. "I'm gonna take a closer look..." says the commander and does -riding his horse right up to the base of the fort. Wha...? Somebody just took a potshot at him and he wants to take a closer look? This is just the first of many illogical moments that just derails any enjoyment I might get out of this flick.
The film boasts a stellar cast. You have Gary Cooper (Beau Geste). You have Ray Milland (Beau's brother John Geste). You have Robert Preston (Beau's other brother Digby Geste) and a young Susan Hayward (Beau's step sister O. Yu Geste). Heh...I jest at that last one!
It's directed by one of my fave classic directors, William Wellman. The film has very good production values with some rousing battle scenes...but as I've mentioned - the twist and turns of the story just seem a bit too implausible to di-Geste. Zing.
The story is mostly done in flashback as the beginning scene above really is near the ending. We get the back story of the Geste Brothers who are part of a wealthy family and live in a lavish english estate. There is a scene here that foreshadows what will happen later - yes, I get it...but it still doesn't excuse the silly twists to come.
The head of the estate, Lady Patricia decides that she must sell a family jewel in order to pay off some debts. Before she sells the beloved jewel, Lady Pat decides to show it to her family one last time. The family gathers around the jewel - when all of a sudden the lights go out. When the light comes back on - the jewel is gone...but no one will admit to taking it. Maybe it was Beau - who decides to join the French Foreign Legion right after the incident. Maybe it was John - who joins the Foreign Legion too. Or, maybe it was Digby - who likewise joins up. Just a bunch of copycats, if ya ask me.
The brothers end up at the aforementioned Fort Zinderneuf under the command of a cruel Sgt. Markoff (Brian Donlevy). He is so cruel that the troops decide to mutiny. Sgt. Markoff gets wind of the mutinous activity and becomes even MORE cruel. Then the drama is interrupted by attacking arab tribesmen. Man, I just hate it when arab tribesmen interrupt the story like that, don't you?
4 / 10