Synopsis by Mark Deming
Ronald Colman plays the title role in the first of several screen adaptations of Christopher Wren's tale of adventure in the foreign legion. Beau is the youngest of three brothers who fall into an ethical dilemma when their aunt resorts to stealing valuable jewelry from the family's collection to pay off her home. Beau takes the blame for the crime and, before he can be put in jail, flees the country, with his brothers John (Ralph Forbes) and Digby (Neil Hamilton) in tow. The Geste Brothers eventually join the French Foreign Legion, where they suffer under the tyrannical leadership of the cruel Sgt. Lejaune (Noah Beery Sr.). Unknown to Beau, Lejaune is in cahoots with men who want to capture the Geste Brothers and bring them to justice, but when Arab forces attack the Legion compound, the valiant Gestes fight with such bravery that even Lejaune is impressed with their selfless courage. It's said that Ronald Colman considered his performance in Beau Geste the finest work of his career; lip readers might get a chuckle out of some of Noah Beery Sr.'s non-subtitled dialogue, which today would have pushed the film into an R rating if it were audible.
Arab, battle [war], brother, courage, desert, family, jewel-robbery, legion, love, mother, responsibility, sacrifice, son