5.4/10
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Beau Ideal (1931)

Passed | | Adventure, Romance, War | 25 January 1931 (USA)
An American joins the French Foreign Legion in order to rescue a boyhood friend.

Director:

Herbert Brenon

Writers:

Percival Christopher Wren (by) (as Percival C. Wren), Elizabeth Meehan (adapted by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Frank McCormick Frank McCormick ... Carl Meyer
Ralph Forbes ... John Geste
Lester Vail ... Otis Madison
Otto Matieson ... Jacob Levine (as Otto Matiesen)
Don Alvarado ... Ramon Gonzales
Bernard Siegel ... Ivan Badinoff
Irene Rich ... Lady Brandon
Myrtle Stedman ... Mrs. Frank Madison
Loretta Young ... Isobel Brandon
John St. Polis ... Judge Advocate (as John M. St. Polis)
Joe De Stefani Joe De Stefani ... Prosecuting Attorney (as Joseph De Stefani)
Paul McAllister Paul McAllister ... Sgt. Frederic
Hale Hamilton ... Maj. LeBaudy
George Regas ... The Emir
Leni Stengel ... Zuleika
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Storyline

In England, Otis Madison learns from the girl that he loves, Isobel Brandon, that the man she loves is his best friend, John Geste, and so there is nothing that Otis can do but stiffen his upper lip and set sail for Morocco and tell John that he is the man that Isobel loves. This is not easy to do as John is confined to a prison for disgraced Legionaires and the people who put him there aren't overly concerned about who Isobel loves. But the resourceful John promises his love to an Arabian beauty, Zuleika, the 'Angel of Death', which gets him out of prison, and then he has to go after the evil Emir who caused him to fall into disgrace. Isobel waits patiently in England. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Last of the Gestes Marches On! (Print Ad- Calgary Daily Herald, ((Calgary, Alta.)) 28 March 1931) See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Romance | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 January 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fremmedlegionens Helte See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A colossal flop, the film lost nearly $350,000, an astronomical amount of money in the early 1930s. As a result, the story of the Geste family was considered such a financial risk that producers weren't sure that making Beau Geste (1939) eight years later was a good idea. See more »

Goofs

When the Emir(George Regas) halts his caravan to "rescue" Ralph Forbes and Lester Vail from the grain pit,he twice shouts instructions in Greek instead of Arabic: This was the native language of Mr. Regas. See more »

Connections

Follows Beau Geste (1926) See more »

Soundtracks

Oriental Atmosphere
(uncredited)
Music by J.S. Zamecnik
Synchro Fox Music Library
See more »

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User Reviews

 
This should have been better.
13 September 2011 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

P.C. Wren wrote the story "Beau Geste" and several film versions have been made. However, few would know that he wrote two sequels, of sorts, and one of them was "Beau Ideal". I have not read the stories so I cannot say how close they are to this movie, but I felt completely underwhelmed by "Beau Ideal". It SHOULD have been a lot better, but the story just wasn't written very well--and perhaps that's the fault of the screen writer. So much of the story just didn't make any sense.

The story begins in a dank prison in the African desert--filled with starving and dying prisoners. Then, abruptly, it jumps back 15 years to England. A group of children are playing at some country estate and one of them is told that it's time for him and his mother to return to their home in America--and he bids them goodbye and his eternal friendship. Then, years later, John Geste (Ralph Forbes) returns from America to England--with the intention of asking the young girl from earlier in the film to marry him. I KNOW this made no sense--they don't seem to have seen each other in the many intervening years. How could a 10 year-old expect, when he grows, to marry a girl he never saw until over a decade later?! But what happens next REALLY makes no sense. He learns that the boys he adored on his previous trip to England had joined the French Foreign Legion (the film was VERY vague as to why). And, all but one of them had died....and the last surviving boy had been sent to a Legion prison!!! Okay...but Geste then tells the grown girl (Loretta Young) that he would take care of the problem. Huh?! Next, you see Geste joining the Foreign Legion. Wow. What a dummy. Friendship is one thing, but this is just dumb. But it gets a lot dumber! He's a good soldier but when there is a mutiny, he claims he was involved and gets himself sent to the same prison as his friend--who he couldn't even recognize because so many years have passed! Hmmmm. Might this be the dumbest character in film history?! Perhaps. I don't know about you, but entering a North African prison does NOT sound like something I'd do voluntarily!!!! Duh...

Soon the film is where it began--with another uprising in this work camp, he and the rest were thrown into a deep pit to rot. Days have passed since they received and food or drink. Eventually, a group of Bedouins arrive and let out Geste and his dying friend--the rest had long since died. It seems the men were left there because the camp had been wiped out--all were dead other than the two. Where all this goes next, you'll have to see for yourself. But understand that once again, some of what happens makes no sense--especially the woman who helps him late in the film AND Geste's apparent ability to dodge bullets! The bottom line is that the desert locale is great and the film has a bit of an epic feel to it. But the script is just bad--very bad. Geste seems idiotic and none of the film seemed the least bit possible. Not a brilliant triumph, my suggestion is to see one of the versions of "Beau Geste" instead.

By the way, the animals used in the films are Bactrian camels from Asia not the single-humped camels from North Africa and Arabia. Perhaps they had trouble getting the correct animals but they hid the second hump very well. But, the Bactrian is much shaggier and stockier and the ones in the movie are indeed Bactrians, not Dromedaries. Wow. I bet you biology professors out there are thrilled to hear this. Others, well...bear with me and my love of minute details!


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