Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Lost Command: Take I

Even after today's wild tornadic outbreak in North Texas, time to do the twist again. The show must go on . . .

Lost Command (1966) is one of those rare films that ties together elements of three wars, in this case the Franco-Vietnamese or First Indochina War (1945-1954) and the Algerian Revolution or Guerre d'Algérie (1954-1962) directly and, implicitly, the US-Vietnam War or Second Indochina War (1955-1975). It was banned in France for ten years and, apparently, all but ignored in the USA, at least by policymakers at the time.

Based on Les Centurions, Jean Lartéguy's bestselling 1960 novel, Lost Command (Les Centurions in the French language version) was directed by Montreal-born filmmaker Mark Robson. Cultural differences over ideas of race, religion and economics are shown clearly if somewhat clunkily. The international cast is eclectic. George Segal (a Jewish American) plays an Arabic Muslim Algerian French officer, Anthony Quinn (actually Mexican American) plays a tough risen-through-the-ranks Basque lieutenant-colonel paratrooper in the French Army, and so on. Like other Robson productions -- compare Peyton Place (1957) and Valley of the Dolls (1967) -- Lost Command feels a little rusty in 2012, but it's still interesting.

Today's Rune: Signals.  

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm not sure but this movie sounds familiar to me. Perhaps I saw it at some point. I used to pay attention to the history of that part of the world more.