BEAU GESTE —-the third time around for Beau & brothers in the Sahara of 1906, but sandbagged by a small budget, a bland supporting cast and tired blood in the screenplay, it doesn’t hold a candle to the story’s earlier big-screen exploits.
Guy Stockwell, in the unenviable job of following Gary Cooper, is okay as Beau and Telly Savalas does decent sneering as the mean sergeant but the shadow cast by Brian Donlevy’s 1939 performance kept Telly from kicking up much fresh sand.
Written & directed this time by Douglas Heyes, the familiar P.C. Wren story was altered from here to Algeria, to no good end. The only bright spot in the 103 minutes comes halfway through, when there is a brief but furious skirmish with rampaging Tauregs, but the rest is pretty bland mush.
Guy Stockwell had put in a lot of TV time (a regular on Adventures in Paradise and one of the revolving cast on the anthology series The Richard Boone Show) and was in the middle of a push from Universal. Over three years they put him in nine films of mixed quality, including three half-hearted remakes (this Foreign Legion saga, The Plainsman and The Kings Pirate) and a couple of higher-value efforts that under-performed (The War Lord and Tobruk). Handsome, with a good voice, Stockwell was ill-served by the material and after a few years was back on TV. He eventually became a respected acting coach. He passed away from diabetes in 2002, at 68. His younger brother Dean got more glory, but Guy is fondly recalled by his fans.
His co-star here, Doug McClure, another TV veteran, was likewise getting pushed by the same studio, again with similar results. Also manning the doomed fort this mission are Leslie Nielsen, David Mauro, Robert Wolders, Leo Gordon, Michael Constantine, Joe de Santis and Malachi Throne.