By Eli Sanchez
Guest Contributor, Silver Screen Capture
William Wellman’s classic (A-), Beau Geste showcases talented leads, unsavory characters and romantic depictions of dissident life among the French Foreign Legion. The film follows the exploits of three very tightly-knit brothers played by Gary Cooper (in the titular role), Ray Milland and Robert Preston. These three, adopted to a seemingly well-to-do British family in England, have formed quite a bond; so much so that they feed off of each others’ ambitions to the point of playing out childhood fantasies of joining the French army. They seemingly try to one-up each other on courageousness and cockiness. Eventually, following a jewel theft of honest intent, a journey to get away from it all and an intermingling of a sordid cast of characters led by a Russian expat turned Legionaire Markov (Brian Donlevy) who runs his battalion more like a gulag, the film grabs you into the beautiful oasis of a desert adventure. The film leans heavy on familial sentiment and loyalty to a name without seeming too preachy or clingy to traditional values. The film teeters between extreme pride and extreme sadness equally well in its storytelling and film direction.