The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Selling the Silents #7

From the Paramount release book, 1927

"'Beau Geste' is like no other picture ever made. Probably the greatest melodrama ever unfolded on the screen, it also presents a baffling mystery in which dead men stand at arms, and other terrific events make your hair stand on end.

"All the world wants to see 'Beau Geste'! Watch for it--it is a gold-mine for your theatre.

"From P.C. Wren's enormously popular novel of wild adventure in the Sahara. Screen play by Paul Schofield. Adaptation by John Russell and Herbert Brenon."

If any film from the glory days of Paramount should see the light of day, it's this one, a rousing adventure with a great cast, including one of William Powell's best silent film roles. I understand there's a bit of a rights issue with this one, since Universal wound up with it when Paramount sold MCA its early sound film catalog and the silent Beau Geste was included by mistake because it had a music and effects soundtrack. Still, in a perfect world, there would a DVD combining this and the Gary Cooper version. Is that so hard?

Besides, who hasn't felt like running off and joining the French Foreign Legion at least once in their lives?

1 comment :

Dios Prometheus said...

I don't know about a double dvd. I already have the Cooper version on DVD, but it would be great to see a restored Ronald Coleman version of this great film.

I recently bought the Coleman Beau at EBAY on video tape. Althought it was watchable, I found myself longing to see a better, clearer version. I understand from a post at the IMDB that there is a better version of this great film out there somewhere.

Interestingly, the Cooper version is an almost frame for frame copy of the Coleman version. There are some slight changes, mostly at the end.

In 1926, publisher Grosset & Dunlap published the famous Wren novel. The novel contained many nice photographs from the 1926 Paramont Movie.