Under Two Flags

The classic Under Two Flags, in book [by Ouida], play and through two silent filmizations [1916 and 1922], is still sturdy fare, talkerized. A pioneer saga of the Foreign Legion, Darryl Zanuck and 20th-Fox have further fortified it by a four-ply marquee ensemble (Ronald Colman, Claudette Colbert, Victor McLaglen and Rosalind Russell).

With:
Ronald Colman Claudette Colbert Victor McLaglen Rosalind Russell Gregory Ratoff Nigel Bruce

The classic Under Two Flags, in book [by Ouida], play and through two silent filmizations [1916 and 1922], is still sturdy fare, talkerized. A pioneer saga of the Foreign Legion, Darryl Zanuck and 20th-Fox have further fortified it by a four-ply marquee ensemble (Ronald Colman, Claudette Colbert, Victor McLaglen and Rosalind Russell).

Not the tempestuous Cigarette of the Theda Bara vintage [1916 version] when Under Two Flags was a highlight in that silent film vamp’s career, Colbert nonetheless makes the somewhat bawdy cafe hostess stand up. It’s not exactly in her metier. Twixt the native Cigarette and Rosalind Russell as the English lady, Colman does all right on the romance interest, with the desert as a setting.

Victor McLaglen turns in an expert chore as the scowling Major Doyle, lovesick for and jealous of Cigarette’s two-timing. Gregory Ratoff is planted well for comedy relief with his plaint that he’s already forgotten just what he joined the Legion to forget.

The production highlight is the pitched battle on the desert [directed by Otto Brower, photographed by Sidney Wagner] between the marauding Arabs and the handful of legionnaires defending the fort.

Under Two Flags

Production: 20th Century-Fox. Director Frank Lloyd; Producer Darryl F. Zanuck; Screenplay W.P. Lipscomb, Walter Ferris; Camera Ernest Palmer; Editor Ralph Dietrich; Music Louis Silvers (dir.); Art Director William Darling

Crew: (B&W) Extract of a review from 1936. Running time: 111 MIN.

With: Ronald Colman Claudette Colbert Victor McLaglen Rosalind Russell Gregory Ratoff Nigel Bruce

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