“Beau Geste” is an adventure story set mostly in the Sahara desert — a tale of honor and treachery so epic it’s been turned into a movie four times by Hollywood.
And once by a dozen goofy college friends from San Diego.
Their parody, made 75 years ago, is a little-known episode in local pop-culture history. It’s getting new life through a documentary written and directed by a Los Angeles area film historian.
“I love the spirit of what those kids did,” said Frank Thompson, the historian. “All it was for them was fun.”
They got the idea in the summer of 1939 after stumbling across the set Paramount Studios had erected in the sand dunes near Yuma to film the best-known version of “Beau Geste,” released just a few months earlier. It stars Gary Cooper and tells the story of three brothers who join the Foreign Legion to spare their English family from scandal involving a stolen sapphire.
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