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.
Sam Hayes <[email protected]>
User 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.