Sunday, 18 September 2011

Beau Geste 1926

Barban and Nicole continue their walk along the deck. They discuss the respective merits of English and French languages for expressing heroism and gallantry with dignity, and the expression of these qualities in movies, such as the 1926 American film Beau Geste, starring Ronald Coleman. Miguel Mota and Paul Tiessen: The Cinema of Malcolm Lowry: A Scholarly Edition of Lowry's "Tender is the Night

Beau Geste was directed by Herbert Brenon, stars Ronald Colman and Neil Hamilton, with support from Noah Beery (Sr.), Mary Brian, William Powell and Victor McLaglen. The plot concerns a valuable gem, which one of the Geste brothers, Beau, is thought to have stolen from his adoptive family.

Ronald Colman plays the title role in the first of several screen adaptations of Christopher Wren's tale of adventure in the foreign legion. Beau is the youngest of three brothers who fall into an ethical dilemma when their aunt resorts to stealing valuable jewelry from the family's collection to pay off her home. Beau takes the blame for the crime and, before he can be put in jail, flees the country, with his brothers John (Ralph Forbes) and Digby (Neil Hamilton) in tow. The Geste Brothers eventually join the French Foreign Legion, where they suffer under the tyrannical leadership of the cruel Sgt. Lejaune (Noah Beery Sr.). Unknown to Beau, Lejaune is in cahoots with men who want to capture the Geste Brothers and bring them to justice, but when Arab forces attack the Legion compound, the valiant Gestes fight with such bravery that even Lejaune is impressed with their selfless courage. It's said that Ronald Colman considered his performance in Beau Geste the finest work of his career; lip readers might get a chuckle out of some of Noah Beery Sr.'s non-subtitled dialogue, which today would have pushed the film into an R rating if it were audible. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

A corking picture, but as a road show special not entirely surefire. The idea is that it will have to hold to just a few cities outside of New York to have a chance at $2. As a straight program leader it can't miss, although the running time of 129 minutes may keep it from equalling house records".

It's a "man's" picture, much more so than "The Big Parade." The story revolves around three brothers and their love for each other. And a great looking trio--Colman, Hamilton and Forbes. Beyond that the love interest is strictly secondary, practically nil. Which brings up the question as to how women are going to like it.
Review from Variety, September 1, 1926

Read more on the the film at ERBzine and Stanford University

The best resource materials on the film can be found at including contemporary magazine articles on the making of the film.

You can watch the film on You Tube:

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