Legion of Forgotten Men


Over at the Auteurs’ Notebook, you can find both a new Forgotten, featuring yet more Duvivier-based fun, and the third and, for now, final installment in my Thugs with Ugly Mugs series.


8 Responses to “Legion of Forgotten Men”

  1. david wingrove Says:

    It’s truly amazing to see what they got away with in French fims of the 30s! My favourite is Max Ophuls’s DIVINE – which feature opium-smoking, a menage a trois, an overt lesbian and and an S&M Folies Bergere number featuring a bevy of naked chorus girls in chains. SHOWGIRLS looks tame by comparison.

  2. Showgirls certainly looks ugly by comparison.

    La Kermesse Heroique/Carnival in Flanders also has some startling stuff, including Louis Jouvet as an inquisitor flirting with a lady by reciting the kinds of tortures he’s inflicted…

    I was discussing Foreign Legion movies with the Self-Styled Siren, recently. I proposed that La Bandera is basically apolitical about the purpose of these units, and fairly clear-headed about the kind of riff-raff who comprised them. It’s still more a film of the right wing in its way, since it’s about duty and heroism in carrying out colonial conquest, but it doesn’t romanticise the people as much as Beau Geste.

  3. david wingrove Says:

    Much as I blush to admit it, I think SHOWGIRLS is fantastic. I’ve never been to Las Vegas, but I imagine that’s precisely what it must be like – in all its unspeakably vulgar, lurid, tacky glory – and a friend who has worked as an ‘exotic dancer’ vouches for the film’s basic accuracy.

    My favourite French Foreign Legion movie is THE LAST REMAKE OF BEAU GESTE with Marty Feldman and Michael York playing identical twins. It’s one of the most hilariously dumb movies of all time.

  4. Actually One From the Heart is far more evocative of Vegas than Showgirls. Of course the place has changed drastically since both were made. It used to be about gambling and stars (Sinatra et cie., Noel Coward, Marlene Dietrich, Dean & Jerry, Louis & Keely) now it’s about skyscraper hotels.


  5. As iconic as Gabin is, Louis jouvet is the most important Frech films star. I see his influence to this very day in the work of such bright youngsters as Charles Berling and Mathieu Almaric.

  6. He also saved Ophuls’ life, so we owe him for La Ronde, Madame De, Lola Montes…

    Just got my sweaty hands on Duvivier’s La Charrette Phantome, his remake of Sjostrom’s Phantom Carriage, with Fresnay and Jouvet. Exciting!

  7. David E., I totally agree with you about the greatness of Jouvet. I’ve only seen him in a handful of films, but he’s impressed me in every role I’ve witnessed thus far. Seeing him interact with Gabin in THE LOWER DEPTHS is unforgettable.

  8. That one’s coming up for me. The Siren mentioned it and I harumphed sagely, too ashamed to admit I hadn’t seen it yet.

    Next in line for me, though, is Jacques Feyder’s Queen of Atlantis.

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