- Beau Geste (1939 film)
name = Beau Geste
caption = Original film poster
William A. Wellman
producer = William A. Wellman
writer = Robert Carson
P. C. Wren(novel)
Gary Cooper Ray Milland
Broderick Crawford Brian Donlevy.
editing = Thomas Scott
2 August 1939(US)
runtime = 112 min
country = USA
language = English
amg_id = 1:4503
imdb_id = 0031088
"Beau Geste" is a 1939 film made by
Paramount Picturesbased on the novel of the same name by P. C. Wren. It was directed and produced by William A. Wellmanfrom a screenplay by Robert Carson. The music score was by Alfred Newmanand the cinematography by Theodor Sparkuhland Archie Stout.
The film is a virtual scene-for-scene
remakeof the 1926 film starring Ronald Colman. This version is probably the best known adaptation, with Gary Cooper, Ray Milland, Robert Preston, Susan Hayward, Broderick Crawford, and Brian Donlevy. Donlevy was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
A valuable sapphire called the "Blue Water" has to be sold to pay the debts of the absent Sir Hector Brandon. The three Geste brothers, 'Beau' (
Gary Cooper), John ( Ray Milland), and Digby ( Robert Preston), had lived with the family since childhood, along with adoptee Isobel Rivers ( Susan Hayward). Their guardian, Lady Brandon ( Heather Thatcher), brings out the gem for one last look when suddenly the lights go out and the jewel is stolen. All present proclaim their innocence, but each young man later confesses to the crime to his brothers.
Under suspicion, all three men leave England (John reluctantly leaving Isobel) and join the
French Foreign Legion. They are trained by the sadistic Sergeant Markoff ( Brian Donlevy), who finds out about the theft and is convinced that Beau is hiding the gem.
A detachment, including Beau and John, is sent to man Fort Zinderneuf, in a remote part of the
Sahara Desert. When the officer in charge dies, Markoff takes command. His brutal treatment of the men finally leads to outright mutiny, but at that very moment, the fort is attacked by Arabs. The initial attack is beaten off, but besieged by hostile forces, the defenders are killed one by one. Markoff orders the survivors to prop up the corpses at their posts to make it look as if there are still plenty of soldiers left. The final attack is repulsed, but Beau is shot, leaving Markoff and John the only men left alive.
Markoff sends John on an errand, searches Beau's body and finds the sapphire. When John returns, Markoff draws his pistol to shoot the only witness to his theft. However, Beau is not yet dead and manages to spoil Markoff's aim, allowing John to kill him with a bayonet. Then Beau expires in his brother's arms. Just then, John hears a bugle announcing the arrival of reinforcements, Digby among them. He takes a letter Beau had written and sneaks away.
Digby is sent to discover why there is no response from the fort. He finds Beau's body and, remembering his oft-expressed wish, gives him a
Viking funeral. He places Beau on a bed, with a dog (Markoff) at his feet, and sets fire to the room. Then he too deserts.
He finds John and two American deserters, and together they begin the long journey home. Desperate for water, they find an oasis occupied by a large band of Arabs. Digby tricks them into fleeing by playing a bugle to signal a charge by non-existent Legionnaires, but he is killed by a parting shot.
John returns home. There, Lady Brandon reads Beau's letter. It reveals that Beau stole the gem because he knew it was a fake. Lady Brandon had sold the real one years before, and Beau wanted to conceal this from Sir Hector. Beau knew of the sale because, as a child, he was hiding in a suit of armor when the buyer took the gem away.
Gary Cooper- Michael "Beau" Geste
Ray Milland- John Geste
*Robert Preston - Digby Geste
Brian Donlevy- Sgt. Markoff
Susan Hayward- Isobel Rivers
J. Carrol Naish- Rasinoff
Albert Dekker- Schwartz
Broderick Crawford- Hank Miller
Charles Barton- Buddy McMonigal
James Stephenson- Maj. Henri de Beaujolais
Heather Thatcher- Patricia Brandon
James Burke- Lieutenant Dufour
G.P. Huntley- Augustus Brandon
Arthur Aylesworth- Renault
Harry Woods- Renoir
Harold Huber- Voisin
Stanley Andrews- Maris
Donald O'Connor- Beau at age twelve
*David Holt - Augustus at age twelve
*tcmdb title | id=68283 | title=Beau Geste
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