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Beau Geste Reviews

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Apeneck F

Super Reviewer

July 21, 2007
From perhaps the best year for film ever,1939, comes this wooly, bully adventure tale of brotherly love and the French Foreign Legion as three guys match wits with a sadistic commander out in the mysterious desert sands. Gary Cooper, Ray Milland and Robert Preston are the brothers, joined to the Legion of Lost Men to save the family at home, and always seem a great bunch of guys to be around. Brian Donlevy steals the film though as the sargeant from hell, the bad guy, eating every scene he's in. They literally don't make them like this anymore, I don't know why.

Super Reviewer

September 5, 2010
A pretty good story, but the movie is kind of boring too. I've never really cared for military stories, but this one has more to it. It's a pretty good movie.

Super Reviewer

July 17, 2009
The year 1939 was a pennicle point in cinema. 1939 brought out a lot of great films and the action-adventure spectacle "Beau Geste" is one of them.
In the best-known version of novelist Percival Christopher Wren perennial,
Gary Cooper, Ray Milliand, and Robert Preston play Beau,John,and Digby Geste,three inseparable adventurous brothers in search of adventure which one of them steals their benefactress's family jewel,it's off to the French Foreign Legion for all. A fairly deadly early flashback introduces the brothers as children-though it's the only time you'll ever see Donald O'Connor playing a younger version of Cooper. The movie really kicks into gear when the brothers enlist into the brutal stages of unjustly war. Directed by the great William A. Wellman,the supporting cast features future Oscar winners Broderick Crawford and Susan Hayward. Oscar nominee Brian Donlevy is excellent and so damn good as Sgt. Markloff that some think he should have taken the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor award for his riveting performance. Worth seeing.

Super Reviewer

November 2, 2007
one of those films i can't resist like gunga din and lives of a bengal lancer. yes i know colonialism is bad. also i had this added to flixster 2 years ago :D

Super Reviewer

January 1, 2009
This one is hard to find on DVD but well worth the effort to search it out. Gary Cooper is absolutely fantastic but it's the ensemble of Albert Dekker, Brian Donlevey, Broderick Crawford and Ray Milland that makes the whole thing work. Oh, and don't forget to check out a very young and very beautiful Susan Hayward in a supporting role.
Ken S

Super Reviewer

July 12, 2007
The jewel heist is almost an afterthought to this's not really a movie where you ask "why" this is happening...but "what" is...and how well that's executed.
Anthony V

Super Reviewer

July 22, 2008
Excellent Foreign Legion adventure with a great twist at the end (copied many times since).
September 1, 2009
Beau Geste (1939)

This Willam Wellman, Hollywood classic deserves to be a part of any man's DVD library. I know, those old movies deal with imperialism and this movie was obviously gearing the kids up for World War II, but this is a great action movie all the same.

The movie starts out in the middle with a mysterious deserted French fort, and goes back to the young Geste boys who are staying at Lady Patricia Brandon's (Heather Thatcher) house, along with Isobel Rivers (Susan Hayward). Young Beau (Donald O'Connor) grows up to be a handsome young man (Gary Cooper) and his brothers, John (Ray Milland) and Digby (Robert Preston) are hungry for adventure.

So, when a family gem comes up missing, and Beau has taken off, the other two brothers leave the house too, and join the French foreign legion. By pure luck, they meet at this one fort, defended against the desert hoards by a cruel Sergeant Markoff (Brian Donley). Although Beau hates Markhoff's sadism, he admires his desert warfare savvy. The trick is just trying to live through it.
July 16, 2009
I wasn't expecting much surprise from this film, but I was counting on some solid entertainment. Unfortunately it doesn't even provide the basic qualities you're entitled to expect from a Hollywood flix of the Golden Age.
The story is badly constructed, we could not care less about what happens to the characters and the blatant racism makes it painful to watch.
If you want to see Gary Cooper in a good soldering colonial film, watch The Life of a Bengal Lancer.
November 12, 2007
This is an amazingly powerful story of the loyalty between three brothers. I personally identify with this film.
December 13, 2008
I saw this movie for the first time as a little girl. My dad made my brother and I sit on the couch after having a knock down drag out. Our punishment was to sit on the couch until dad gave us the okay to get up. As we sat, we started paying some attention to the movie Dad was watching on tv. It was THIS VERY Beau Geste.
After about 30 minutes of sitting out our punishments on the couch, we were given the chance to get up.
We refused. We were transfixed and wanted too finish watching.
My brother was about 8 and I was about 6 at the time.

That says A LOT for the brilliance of this movie in that it was able to capture the attention of two little pouty kids who'd just bruised the tar out of each other. BRILLIANT!!
June 8, 2012
The cinematography is very good in this one, and the story is slow-burning, but rewarding in the end.
The -Stick
July 18, 2009
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
July 11, 2005
Un-fucking-believable. The only reason I'm not giving this a 10 is that I don't give anything a 10 the first time out.

I don't want to go into too many plot details as much of [i]Beau Geste[/i]'s brilliance lies in the way in which the story unfolds. At its most basic, the film is the story of the Geste brothers: Beau, Digby and John. It's a story of love, friendship, loyalty and brotherhood, set against the backdrop of the French Foreign Legion. I know I'm not giving you a whole lot to go on other than a 9 rating, but the film was too special for me to put into words just yet. How's this for a recommendation: Beau, Digby and John are played by Gary Cooper, Robert Preston and Ray Milland, all of whom are in top form.

My previous encounters with director William A. Wellman have pretty much all been with films from the pre-code era, including [i]The Public Enemy, Female[/i], [i]Wild Boys of the Road[/i] and [i]The Purchase Price[/i]. [i]Beau Geste[/i] is a natural descendent from these socially conscious films with its clear indictment of man's inhumanity to man presented without sacrificing the story, trivializing the characters or descending to broad proseletyzation. And if you've ever sat through [i]Dogma[/i], you'll understand just how great Wellman's accomplishment is.

Sweet William would love this movie.

Double Feature Fun: [i]Gunga Din [/i](Stevenson, RKO, 1939)
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