East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Morocco (1930)

Today is Joseph von Sternberg’s birthday, so it feels right that I spent one hour and a half last night rewatching his Morocco, an exotic melodrama featuring Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper and Adolphe Menjou.
The film was shot in 1930 and caused quite a stir, for a number of reasons.
While not my favorite Dietrich/von Sternberg collaboration, it’s still worth a look.
And despite the desert location, this is probably not a Tits & Sand movie, but… who knows?

The plot: cynical but maybe not so cynical cabaret entertainer falls in love with cheeky American legionnaire and refuses the advances of a more settled, wealthy gentleman. Passions flare, tragedy ensues.

Continue reading

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La Bandera, March or Die

A friend mentioned March or Die yesterday – the movie, not the Motorhead LP – and we got talking about Foreign Legion stories – being both well convinced that neither of us would survive one hour in the Legion, and yet both victims to the Legion’s mistique.

(alas, the trailer is not up to the quality of the movie itself – pity)

And so I went and watched March or Die, also known as La Bandera, a movie I had not seen in quite a while, and that surprised me for a number of reasons.

The plot in a word: the survivors of a French Foreign Legion unit, fresh from the trenches of the Great War are sent back into the Moroccan desert, to escort a team of French archaeologists looking for a lost city.
The local tribes consider the area of excavation sacred.
A violent confrontation ensues. Continue reading

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Everything about the French Foreign Legion

A very quick post to poit out to all interested parties the wonderful blog Mon Legionnaire.
Maintained by a gentleman going by the name of Jack Wagner, the blog is dedicated to “The classic French Foreign Legion in Wargaming, Literature, Pictures and History”.
And it is just great.
I can only say I am awed by the sheer quality and richness of it- a veritable treasure-trove of narrative, history and other wonders.

Mon Legionnaire is a priceless resource for writers, gamers and anyone out there looking for some fun reads or off-the-beaten-track literature.

Be sure to check it out.

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