The French Foreign Legion: Outpost in Morocco

Apr 12, 2006 (Updated Nov 17, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:George Raft, Marie Windsor, Akim Tamiroff, Story, Action

Cons:Marie Windsor should have been in more films

The Bottom Line: A sturdy action picture about the French Foreign Legion with stalwart legionnaires and beautiful women in an exotic foreign locale. Worth watching.

Outpost in Morocco (1949)

“As my late father would say, ‘all women are unfair.’” Lieutenant Glysko
“If they weren’t, there’d be no Foreign Legion.” Captain Gerard

If Leonard Maltin were writing this, he might say, “a sturdy actioner set in Morocco with solid performances by George Raft and Marie Windsor.” OK, if he said that, it would be right, but I hope to go just a little further into detail on this tale of the desert set in the early 20th century in French Morocco.

George Raft, remembered best as “that gangster that flipped the coin” also played men of action, and quite well, too. Here he plays Captain Gerard of the French Foreign Legion, a stalwart leader of men and legendary womanizer. Now George, at 55, was probably a little over the hill to be playing a man of action cum skirt chaser, but the movie proceeds along at a brisk pace following the opening where the commandant sends for Captain Gerard, and his orderly searches every boudoir in Tesket, or whatever the name of the Moroccan city was. The orderly finally finds him in a nightclub, wearing a white dinner jacket, no less, and dancing a tango with a lady with captivating eyes.

The commandant (John Litel) has an important mission for Capitan Gerard: Escort the emir’s daughter back to her city and then hang around and discover if the rumors they are planning a rebellion are true. He is to report to another Legion outpost when he learns the truth.

The escort across the burning sands of the Sahara kindles a fire between the captain and the emir’s daughter, however the lady alternately blows hot and cold and is difficult to predict. When they arrive, he finds the forward outpost has been overrun and the Legionnaires massacred. Gerard disguises himself as a native and sneaks into the city, finding that yes, the natives are up in arms and have brand new Mauser rifles to take into battle against the French. Gerard's second in command, Lt. Glysko (Akim Tamiroff) has remained behind to refortify the outpost whose walls have been broken down by the Moroccans. The rest of the movie plays out with the French trying to thwart the rebellion of the native Moroccans, and, by the way, live to tell about it. There is a misunderstanding that adds a dash of fatalism to the ending - a nice touch.

Sultry Marie Windsor, one of the great unsung actresses, as Cara, the daughter of the Emir, looks beautiful and is built like the proverbial brick facility. Windsor seemed to always wear some lacy black lingerie during much of her screen time. The way it affected me seeing her in 2006, I can only imagine how men in 1949 felt, as she is sure an eyeful. She wore similar lingerie in both of the two other movies I’ve seen her in The Killing and The Narrow Margin and captured my undivided attention every time. Just suffice it to say that not many actresses of her day could fill out a corset and singe the screen with a smoldering glance like Marie Windsor could. In this movie, she’s not given a whole lot more to do than look good, but she does gallop a horse well and there was a lot of that in this terse actioner.

Akim Tamiroff (Lives of a Bengal Lancer, For Whom the Bell Tolls), always did a fine job as a character with his thick Russian accent. It was very agreeable to see him have a much larger part than usual and to exercise his acting chops, which are second to none. John Litel (They Died With Their Boots On) was a member of the Warner Bros stock company. His familiar face appeared in some 200 movies during a long and distinguished career.

The DVD is by Alpha Video, a publisher of public domain content. The film runs 90 minutes, in black and white, and is in 1.33:1 theatrical format. Also available for ~ $8 in the Suspense 20 Pack.

I always have a soft spot for French Foreign Legion movies so this is a part of my collection. Although the story is fairly standard the strong performances from George Raft, Akim Tamiroff, and especially the stunningly sexy and beautiful Marie Windsor keep this one from becoming boring.

More French Foreign Legion films I recommend are

Beau Geste


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