Beau Ideal (January 19, 1931)
Released on January 19, 1931: An American joins the French Foreign Legion to find his childhood buddy and return him to the girl who loves him.
Directed by Herbert Brenon
Written by Percival Christopher Wren, Paul Schofield and Elizabeth Meehan.
The Actors: Ralph Forbes (John Geste), Loretta Young (Isobel Brandon), Irene Rich (Lady Brandon), Lester Vail (Otis Madison), Frank McCormick (Carl Neyer), Otto Matieson (Jacob Levine), Don Alvarado (Ramon Gonzales), Bernard Siegel (Ivan Radinoff), Myrtle Stedman (Mrs. Frank Madison), John St. Polis (the Judge Advocate), Joe De Stefani (prosecuting attorney), Paul McAllister (Sergeant Frederic), Hale Hamilton (Major Laboudy), George Regas (the Emir), Leni Stengel (Zuleika, the angel of death), Wilfred North (French Officer), Helen Parrish (Isobel as a child).
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Two legends combine in this drama of love, honor and ferocious war. The French Foreign Legion was established in 1831 as a volunteer fighting force open to anyone, especially non-French men. The three Geste brothers, British orphans raised by a wealthy aunt along with her daughter Isobel, played by Loretta Young in this adventure. Tales of the French Foreign Legion have always been the material of exciting adventures, and this motion picture is no exception. This one includes a war as old as time, and as fresh as tomorrow's newspaper. In this tale the Arab folk in North Africa are on a mission to kill any Christians that they encounter, including all of the French Foreign Legionnaires. As our adventure opens we see John Geste and American childhood buddy Lester Vail dying in a prison pit in the North African desert. Then we flash back and learn the story up to the point where they are dying in their prison dungeon. Long story short, the American returns to England as an adult to woo the beautiful Isobel, but discovers that her heart belongs to John Geste. Unfortunately he is in a French Foreign Legion prison in North Africa, and will die there unless someone can save him. The American vows to find him and bring him home to Isobel. He sets off to join the French Foreign Legion and get put into the same prison as John. He succeeds in this mission, and when it looks like the two men will die soon in their prison hell, where we started this movie, they are miraculously rescued by some Arabs passing by. We soon discover that they have been saved from death so that the Arabs can use them to trick the French Legionnaires into an ambush where all of the Christians will be slaughtered by the Arabs. We also meet a gal doing belly dances for the Arabs called the Angel of Death, who will play an important part in this adventure.
Lester Vail and Ralph Forbes as they are about to die in the underground prison pit
Loretta Young at the Court Marshall of Ralph Forbes
George Regas as the Emir
Helen Parrish as the young Isobel Brandon
John St. Polis
Leni Stengel as the Angel of Death
Lester Vail refuses to kiss Leni Stengel, the Angel of Death
Leni Stengel belly dances for the Emir and his guests
Lester Vail at the palace of the Emir
Lester Vail in Beau Ideal
Loretta Young meets Lester Vail
Otto Matieson as a prisoner of the French Foreign Legion
Ralph Forbes at his court marshall
The French Foreign Legion marching in the North Africa desert