7.7/10
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54 user 23 critic

Beau Geste (1939)

Passed | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 24 July 1939 (USA)
Three adopted English brothers join the French Foreign Legion in North Africa, after one of them steals their adoptive family's famous heirloom sapphire.

Director:

William A. Wellman

Writers:

Robert Carson (screen play), Percival Christopher Wren (based on the novel by)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Cooper ... Beau Geste
Ray Milland ... John Geste
Robert Preston ... Digby Geste
Brian Donlevy ... Sergeant Markoff
Susan Hayward ... Isobel Rivers
J. Carrol Naish ... Rasinoff
Albert Dekker ... Schwartz
Broderick Crawford ... Hank Miller
Charles Barton ... Buddy McMonigal
James Stephenson ... Major Henri de Beaujolais
Heather Thatcher ... Lady Patricia Brandon
James Burke ... Lieutenant Dufour
G.P. Huntley G.P. Huntley ... Augustus Brandon (as George P. Huntley)
Harold Huber ... Voisin
Donald O'Connor ... Beau Geste (as a child)
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Storyline

Beau, John, and Digby Geste are three inseparable, adventurous brothers who haven been adopted into the wealthy household of Lady Brandon. When money in the uppercrust household grows tight, Lady Brandon is forced to sell her most treasured jewel the mighty "Blue Water" sapphire. The household gets it out for one final look, the lights go out and it vanishes stolen by one of the brothers, no doubt. That night, Beau, Digby, and John each "confess" and slip out, John leaving behind Isabel, whom he loves. They all join the Foreign Legion, and Beau and Digby are split from John and put under the command of the ruthless and sadistic Sergeant Markoff. Things begin to get hairy as the rest of the Legionaires plot a mutiny against Markoff, in the midst of an attack by Arab hordes. Written by Sam Hayes <gshayes@mail.gwi.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

AGAIN...the three Gestes face a thousand dangers of the Sahara for each other...and love! See more »

Genres:

Action | Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Arabic

Release Date:

24 July 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Drei Fremdenlegionäre See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the film's world premiere, the first reel of the 1926 silent version of "Beau Geste" was shown just before the entire 1939 sound version, in an effort to demonstrate how far films had advanced in thirteen years. This almost backfired because the 1939 film, apparently, followed the 1926 one extremely closely, and some of the first-night critics were annoyed, rather than pleased at this, feeling that the 1939 version should have been more imaginative. However, this did not keep the 1939 version from becoming a smash hit and a film classic. See more »

Goofs

When the "Blue Water" is "stolen" with the lights out it appears pitch black, but that can't be correct because there is a bright fire burning in the fireplace. See more »

Quotes

Markoff: And now, you scum, it's my turn. I'm going to give you a lesson in putting down an attempted mutiny that'll be the last thing you'll ever see. Maybe this'll make you die happy. Markoff thanks you. When he's an officer and has the Legion of Honor, he'll think often of the stupid, blundering pigs that put him where he is.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: "The love of a man for a woman wanes and waxes like the moon . . . but the love of brother for brother is steadfast as the stars, and endures like the word of the prophet."

. . . Arabian Proverb. See more »

Connections

Featured in Amarcord (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

The Legionnaire's Song
(uncredited)
Music by Troy Sanders
Lyrics by Frank Loesser
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Viewers Are Welcomed To Fort Zinderneuf
6 September 2000 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

A magnificent blue sapphire is stolen from the English estate of Brandon Abbas. BEAU GESTE and his two younger brothers are all suspected of the crime. To save their family from dishonor, they each make their way to join the French Foreign Legion. In the emptiness of North Africa, supported only by their love for each other, they will encounter pure evil...

Not only a wonderful adventure story, BEAU GESTE is also a morality tale on the true meaning of courage, the loyalty of brother for brother, and the responsibilities of virtue when confronted by absolute evil. Examined this way, the film can be enjoyed by the thoughtful viewer on many levels.

In the title role, Gary Cooper is excellent, exuding quiet strength & righteousness. Robert Preston & Ray Milland, as his younger brothers, give top-notch support. Here is a band of brothers to be reckoned with.

But it is the villains who really steal the show. Brian Donlevy is unforgettable as Sergeant Markoff, a sadist from the lowest depths of hell. To watch him drive the defense of his outpost, using the living & the dead, is to see a man driven mad by the evil chewing away at his very soul.

J. Carrol Naish is equally memorable as Rasinoff the rat. A little man used to lies & thievery, he becomes the natural toady for Markoff. When his fear finally drives him insane atop the watch tower, and he begins to cackle like a beast, it is a horrible sound to hear.

Broderick Crawford appears as a cowboy turned legionnaire. Albert Dekker is formidable as a mutinous soldier. Adolescent Donald O'Connor plays young Beau.

Director William Wellman gave the film fine atmospherics. Who can forget, in the very first sequence, the quiet ride up to eerie Fort Zinderneuf, manned by its unblinking sentries? The flashback scenes are rather tedious, but when the plot returns to the desert, there's adventure enough for the most jaded viewer.


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