How one responded to The Last Remake of Beau Geste depended largely on how one responded to its star, pop-eyed comic Marty Feldman (who also directed the film from a screenplay he wrote with Chris Allen, and a story he wrote with Sam Bobrick).
As its title suggested, the film spoofed most Foreign Legion films, but particularly William Wellman’s celebrated 1939 Paramount adventure (which starred Gary Cooper). In fact, scenes from the original movie were irreverently intercut into this version.
Feldman cast himself as Digby Geste, the twin brother of Michael York’s Beau Geste, and if the rest of the film had been consistent with this piece of inspired lunacy, he might have had a hit on his hands.
But Feldman’s undisciplined, hit-and-miss approach to comedy ultimately let him down and, apart from a handful of amusing sight-gags, it was left to a cast that included Peter Ustinov (as the brothers’ psychotic Foreign Legion commander with interchangeable peg legs), Ann-Margret (as their conniving mother-in-law), James Earl Jones (as an Anglicised Arab), Trevor Howard (as Sir Hector Geste), Spike Milligan (as Sir Hector’s elderly servant), Terry Thomas, Roy Kinnear and Irene Handl to help bolster the fun.
A stand-out scene has Feldman magically travel into footage from a 1939 version of the same story, resulting in a dialogue scene between Feldman and Gary Cooper.
Dagobert ‘Digby’ Geste
James Earl Jones
Sheikh’s Aide & Camel Salesman
Henry Polic II