Home Movies by Decade Movies - 1970s Last Remake of Beau Geste, The (1977)

Last Remake of Beau Geste, The (1977)

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
Marty Feldman
Beau Geste
Michael York
Flavia Geste
Peter Ustinov
Sir Hector
Trevor Howard
Spike Milligan
Terry Thomas
James Earl Jones
Miss Wormwood
Irene Handl
Roy Kinnear
General Pecheur
Henry Gibson
Sheikh’s Aide & Camel Salesman
Avery Schreiber
Hugh Griffith
Isabel Geste
Sinéad Cusack
Captain Merdmanger
Henry Polic II

Marty Feldman