Beau Geste [1939]

Gary Cooper plays the oldest of three brothers who join the French Foreign Legion to cover a mysterious theft, and are soon caught up in high adventures. The opening scene in a fort full of corpses sticks in the memory forever, and Brian Donlevy's role as a sadistic sergeant makes a striking impression as well. Director William Wellman (Wings), a veteran pilot of World War I, drew--as he often did--upon the authenticity of his own experiences in battle to give this film a measure of reality. --Tom Keogh

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