Not really epic material, this is a fated romantic drama (a typically French quality) set against the exotic background of the Foreign Legion and, actually, a remake of Jacques Feyder’s 1934 film LE GRAND JEU.
The plot involves a successful young lawyer (Jean-Claude Pascal) who, due to a shady deal, finds himself penniless and separated from his wife (Gina Lollobrigida). Stranded in Algeria, he’s persuaded to join the Foreign Legion where he befriends a couple of similar losers (played by Raymond Pellegrin and Peter van Eyck). All three lodge in the tavern run by an ageing fortune-teller (Arletty) and occasionally go out in search of a good time with the local girls eventually meeting up with one who’s a dead-ringer for Lollobrigida! Soon, the buddies fall out over her (and one of them even winds up dead, an event which Arletty had actually predicted!) though the girl, naturally, is drawn to the hero (even if her sweet-natured character differs from that of his materialistic wife). At the end, Pascal does run into the latter and discovers that they have nothing more in common which, therefore, gives him free rein to start life over with his new-found love.
This was one of the first international efforts Siodmak made following his spell in Hollywood (to which he returned sporadically thereafter). Consequently, while his best work may have been behind him, the director manages to lend a reasonable amount of style to the melodramatic (even unlikely) proceedings.
1.63GB | 1 h 38 min | 745×576 | mkv