|Directed by|| Herbert Brenon |
Ray Lissner (assistant)
|Produced by|| Jesse L. Lasky |
|Written by||Herbert Brenon|
|Based on|| Beau Geste |
by P. C. Wren
|Starring|| Ronald Colman |
|Music by|| Hugo Riesenfeld |
|Cinematography||J. Roy Hunt|
|Edited by||Julian Johnson|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Language||Silent (English intertitles)|
|Box office||$1.5 million|
Beau Geste is a 1926 American silent drama film directed by Herbert Brenon and based on the 1924 novel Beau Geste by P. C. Wren.Ronald Colman stars as the title character.
Major de Beaujolais leads a French Foreign Legion battalion across the Sahara desert to relieve Fort Zinderneuf, reportedly besieged by Arabs. When he arrives, he receives no response from the Legionnaires manning the walls, only a single shot. He realizes they are dead. The trumpeter volunteers to scale the wall and open the gate, but after waiting 15 minutes, the major climbs inside himself. He finds the dead commandant with a note in his hand addressed to the chief of police of Scotland Yard which states that the writer is solely responsible for the theft of the "Blue Water" sapphire from Lady Patricia Brandon. Soon after, the bodies of the commandant and the man beside him disappear. Then the fort is set afire. The major sends two Americans to fetch reinforcements.
The film then flashes back fifteen years to Kent, England. The three young Geste brothers and a girl named Isobel stage a naval battle with toy ships. When John Geste is accidentally shot in the leg, Michael "Beau" Geste digs the bullet out, then tells John that he is worthy of a Viking's funeral. Beau burns one ship, along with a toy soldier and a "dog" (broken off a vase). Beau then gets Digby, his other brother, to promise to give him a Viking's funeral if he dies first.
Lady Patricia cares for the Gestes, her orphaned nephews, while Isobel is her husband's niece. She introduces them to Rajah Ram Singh and then-Captain Henri de Beaujolais. Lady Patricia is in financial straits; her estranged husband "has taken every penny that comes from the estate."
After the children become adults, she receives a telegram, announcing that her husband intends to sell the "Blue Water", a family jewel. She has it brought to her. Someone turns out the lights and steals it. The next morning, Beau is gone, leaving Digby a note claiming to be the thief. Digby follows, writing to John that he is the culprit. John tells Isobel that he took the jewel and departs too.
John joins the Foreign Legion and is reunited with his brothers. Boldini overhears them joking about the jewel. That night, Boldini is caught stealing Beau's belt. Boldini tells Sergeant Lejaune about the jewel, supposedly hidden in Beau's belt. Lejaune assigns John and his American friends Hank and Buddy to Beaujolais, while he, Beau and Digby join a detachment, commanded by Lieutenant Maurel, marching to Fort Zinderneuf.
After Maurel dies, Lejaune assumes command at the fort. After a fortnight of Lejaune's cruelty, some of the men plot mutiny. Beau, John and three others remain loyal. Boldini tells Beau and John that Lejaune knows about the mutiny and plans to have the men kill each other so there will be no witnesses to his theft of the jewel. Lejaune arms the loyalists, then demands that Beau give him the jewel for "safekeeping", but is rebuffed. Lejaune captures the mutineers, but an Arab attack forces him to release and arm them.
When a Legionnaire is killed, Lejaune props up his body on the battlement and makes it appear he is still alive. Finally, only Lejaune, Beau and John remain. Then Beau is seemingly killed. When John sees Lejaune searching Beau's body, he grabs his bayonet, but Lejaune draws his pistol and sentences him to death. Beau, barely alive, grabs Lejaune's leg, enabling John to stab him. Before dying, Beau tells John to desert and deliver a letter to their aunt. When John spots the relief force, he fires a single shot, then departs.
Digby climbs in and finds Beau. Remembering his childhood promise, he gives his brother a Viking's funeral, with a dog (Lejaune) at his feet. Then he deserts and finds John. They run into Hank and Buddy. Five days later, they are lost, with little water and only one camel left. Digby leaves a letter for the sleeping John (stating that one camel can carry three, but not four) and walks away.
John returns home to his love Isobel and delivers Beau's letter to Lady Patricia. She reads it aloud. Beau tells how he witnessed her selling the Blue Water to Ram Singh. To protect her, Beau stole the imitation.
Gary Cooper appeared as an American Legionnaire in Herbert Brenon's 1926 Beau Geste, in minutes 8-12. He was an uncredited extra and does not appear in his list of movies as an extra on Wikipedia, but there is consensus that many of his are missing from that time, generally with roles of minutes if not seconds. Two years later he appeared as the main actor in the role of commander Henri de Beaujolais in the sequel Beau Sabreur (of the film, lost, only one trailer remains), and finally, he already had a leading role in the mythical version of Beau Geste from 1939.
The production was to be filmed in Algeria, but "the Riffian conflict interfered", so instead it was filmed in the desert east of Burlingame, California, and southwest of Yuma, Arizona.
Mordaunt Hall, critic for The New York Times , wrote that "Adventure, romance, mystery and brotherly affection are skillfully linked in the pictorial translation of Percival Christopher Wren's absorbing novel, 'Beau Geste'".He also complimented many of the principal performers: Colman ("easy and sympathetic"), Joyce ("charming"), Trevor ("effective") and Powell ("an excellent character study of Boldini").
Beau Geste won the Photoplay Medal of Honor, presented by Photoplay magazine, one of the industry's first awards recognizing the best picture of the year.
The following is an overview of 1926 in film, including significant events, a list of films released, and notable births and deaths.
Ralph Forbes was an English film and stage actor in the UK and the United States.
James Neil Hamilton was an American stage, film and television actor, best known for his role as Commissioner Gordon on the Batman TV series of the 1960s.
Beau Geste is an adventure novel by P. C. Wren, which details the adventures of three English brothers who enlist separately in the French Foreign Legion following the theft of a valuable jewel from the country house of a relative. Published in 1924, the novel is set in the period before World War I. It has been adapted for the screen several times.
Percival Christopher Wren was an English writer, mostly of adventure fiction. He is remembered best for Beau Geste, a much-filmed book of 1924, involving the French Foreign Legion in North Africa. This was one of 33 novels and short story collections that he wrote, mostly dealing with colonial soldiering in Africa.
Herbert Brenon born Alexander Herbert Reginald St. John Brenon was an Irish film director, actor and screenwriter during the era of silent movies through the 1930s.
Beau Hunks is a 1931 American Pre-Code Laurel and Hardy film, directed by James W. Horne. The title is a reference to the novel Beau Geste (1924), and to the common ethnic slur of the time, "bohunk". At 37 minutes, it is the longest L&H short. The French Foreign Legion scenario was remade as The Flying Deuces with Charles B. Middleton again playing their commanding officer.
Mary Brian was an American actress, who made the transition from silent films to sound films.
The Last Remake of Beau Geste is a 1977 American historical comedy film. It starred and was also directed and co-written by Marty Feldman. It is a satire loosely based on the novel Beau Geste, a frequently-filmed story of brothers and their adventures in the French Foreign Legion. The humor is based heavily upon wordplay and absurdity. Feldman plays Digby Geste, the awkward and clumsy "identical twin" brother of Michael York's Beau, the dignified, aristocratic swashbuckler.
Anthony Calf is an English actor. He studied acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). He has recurring roles in the television medical drama Holby City, as Michael Beauchamp, and New Tricks as Strickland. He has also worked in theatre, where his credits include productions of The Madness of George III with the National Theatre and A Midsummer Night's Dream, The false servant at the National Theatre and Rock'n Roll at the Duke of York's Theatre. He has been nominated as best actor in the Irish Times Theatre Awards 2008 for his work in Uncle Vanya at the Gate Theatre. He was featured in King Charles III on Broadway in 2015.
Beau Geste is a 1939 Paramount Pictures action/adventure film starring Gary Cooper, Ray Milland, Robert Preston, Brian Donlevy, and Susan Hayward. Directed and produced by William A. Wellman, the screenplay was adapted by Robert Carson, based on the 1924 novel of the same title by P. C. Wren. The music score was by Alfred Newman and cinematography was by Theodor Sparkuhl and Archie Stout.
Beau Geste is a 1966 adventure film based on the 1924 novel by P. C. Wren filmed by Universal Pictures in Technicolor and Techniscope near Yuma, Arizona and directed by Douglas Heyes. This is the least faithful of the various film adaptations of the original novel. In this version, there are only two brothers, rather than three, and there are no sequences showing Beau's life prior to his joining the Legion.
Beau Geste is a BBC television serial, based on the 1924 novel by P. C. Wren. The series aired on BBC1 from 31 October to 19 December 1982 and starred Benedict Taylor, Anthony Calf and Jonathon Morris as the three brothers.
The French Foreign Legion is commonly portrayed in literature as a refuge for the wronged, as well as scoundrels and fugitives from justice. Several versions of Beau Geste, for example, have exploited this theme to dramatic effect.
Raffles is a 1930 American pre-Code comedy-mystery film produced by Samuel Goldwyn. It stars Ronald Colman as the title character, a proper English gentleman who moonlights as a notorious jewel thief, and Kay Francis as his love interest. It is based on the play Raffles, the Amateur Cracksman (1906) by E. W. Hornung and Eugene Wiley Presbrey, which was in turn adapted from the 1899 short story collection of the same name by Hornung.
Artists and Models Abroad is a 1938 comedy film directed by Mitchell Leisen and starring Jack Benny and Joan Bennett. It was made by Paramount Pictures. The screenplay was written by Ken Englund, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse.
James Digby Wolfe was an English-born actor of television and film, screenwriter and university lecturer in dramatic writing. After a successful career in his native UK and Australia, his later career was based in the United States.
Beau Ideal is a 1931 American pre-Code adventure film directed by Herbert Brenon and released by RKO Radio Pictures. The film was based on the 1927 adventure novel Beau Ideal by P. C. Wren, the third novel in a series of five novels based around the same characters. Brenon had directed the first in the series, Beau Geste, which was a very successful silent film in 1926. The screenplay was adapted from Wren's novel by Paul Schofield, who had also written the screenplay for the 1926 Beau Geste, with contributions from Elizabeth Meehan and Marie Halvey.
The Legion of Missing Men is a 1937 Monogram Pictures film about the French Foreign Legion set in the French protectorate of Morocco. Directed by Hamilton MacFadden, it stars Ralph Forbes who had also served in the cinematic Foreign Legion in Beau Geste and Beau Ideal (1931). Singer and actress Hala Linda was married to the composer of the film's The Legionnaires Song Richard Gump. It was the only film of Monogram's Marlene Dietrich imitator. The film features scenes reused from a silent film, presumably Under Two Flags.
Beau Ideal is a 1927 novel by P. C. Wren. It was the second sequel to Beau Geste.
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