Monday, July 16, 2012


This forgettable B-movie is on DVD only because cult figure Samuel Fuller wrote the screenplay (years before he would begin his directing career which would culminate—as far as I'm concerned—with 2 wonderful arty B-movies of the 60s, THE NAKED KISS and SHOCK CORRIDOR). Pilot Paul Kelly gets word that his brother, a French Foreign Legionnaire, has died; he immediately quits his job, even ignoring the pleas of his girlfriend (Lorna Gray), and flies out to the Sahara to join the Legion in order to get revenge on the sadistic captain (C. Henry Gordon) who was responsible for the brother's death. Sure enough, at Fort Agadez, smack in the middle of the desert and known as "The Last Outpost," Kelly finds Gordon is a strutting disciplinarian who is hated by his men. After Gordon drives several men to their deaths by exacting brutal punishments for seemingly minor offenses, Kelly gets the men to mutiny, and Gordon and the officers are sent out into the desert with few supplies and one bullet per man so they can finish themselves off. However, after a gang of Arabs attack the men, Gordon manages to survive and, dressed in Arab clothing, makes it to civilization to report the mutiny. Back at Agadez, the men are getting restless when needed food doesn't arrive—what does arrive is a huge battalion of men, led by Gordon, come to take back the fort.  What neither Gordon nor Kelly know is that over the next dune is a bunch of Arabs with guns, waiting to attack everyone.

At just under one hour, this winds up feeling more like a sketch of a movie with no character development and a rushed action climax. In a better movie, Kelly would be a more interesting character; his turning-out of Gordon and the men to certain death is nothing short of murder, though because Kelly is the hero and this was made during the Production Code era, we have to see that all the men die, not because of what Kelly did, but at the hands of the warring natives. There's a ridiculous subplot which involves Gray flying to the fort (and crashing into the sand) to find out what happened to Kelly. Kelly (pictured) is fine, though the usually reliably villainous Gordon seems a bit sluggish here. In smaller roles, you'll notice Dwight Frye as a snitch for Gordon, noir stalwart Marc Lawrence as one of the men loyal to Kelly, and Stanley Browne and Raphael Bennett as two of the poor saps who fall victim to Gordon's cruelty. [DVD]

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