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Beau Geste

Screening on Film
Directed by William Wellman.
With Gary Cooper, Ray Milland, Robert Preston.
US, 1939, 35mm, black & white, 120 min.
Print source: Universal

Wellman’s Beau Geste is the remake of a wildly popular 1926 silent film adapted from the novel of the same name. This colonialist adventure is the story of three brothers who join the French Foreign Legion, battling to save each other, their family honor and their beleaguered north African outpost, although the film’s largely faceless Arab hordes take a second place in villainy to the sadistic sergeant to whom the brothers report. While the critics of the day professed to prefer the silent version, Wellman’s film has become one of the classics that made 1939 Hollywood’s annus mirabilis, thanks in no small part to the remarkable star power of its cast.

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