Two silent film versions preceded this 1936 Hollywood adaptation of the 19th century novel by the writer Ouida Bergere. It is set in Saharan Africa but was filmed in the Arizona desert. Ronald Colman is Corporal Victor, a man who has taken the rap for a crime committed by his younger brother. Victor has joined the French Foreign Legion to escape his past, taking with him his valet Rake (Herbert Mundin). His commander is the ruthless Major Doyle (Victor McLaglen), who becomes jealous when Cigarette (Claudette Colbert), a nightclub singer with a yen for men in uniforms, sets her sights on Victor. Victor, however, lusts after a more refined Englishwoman named Lady Venetia (Rosalind Russell), and he eventually dumps Cigarette for Venetia. McLaglen sends Victor off on a difficult mission from which he hopes that he won't return.
by Michael Betzold synopsis