The Last Remake of Beau Geste
A mad thing, to peel the world like an apple, “to find the true, the ardent core”, like Keaton and Durante sending up The Blue Angel in Speak Easily, Laurel as Rhubarb Vaseline in Mud and Sand, Keaton in The Frozen North suddenly a Stroheim officer-prince.
Keaton is never mentioned in the reviews, which is a striking omission.
The species of style meant is the one in which the thing signified is funny. The household physician at Geste Manor is named Dr. Crippen, a swipe at household physicians, and so on.
The Arab war is a farce, paid by a French general to a Britisher in disguise who leads camel attacks on the Foreign Legion.
The Geste twins were bought for £12 the pair at Wormwood & Gall Orphanage, their blonde-haired blue-eyed appearance presents the gibe at a “master race” in Richardson’s Look Back in Anger.
Hector Geste comes back from the Sudan with Flavia the redecorator, known to the boys as Mother (they have a sister, too, born to Hector despite explicit instructions for a “hero”).
Beau absconds with the family fortune, a fabulous blue-water sapphire, and joins the Legion lest Flavia make off with the jewel. Digby goes to prison voluntarily.
In the end, old Hector is dead, Beau and Flavia are on the hot sands of a resort beach, Digby and Isabel in the park at Geste Manor.
As Phil Harris says to Jack Benny, “Sure miss the boys.”
The most hardened comedians of all take on the relentless task, joined by the finest actors.
Imagine Mel Brooks after the screening, “You can’t beat it with a stick.”
The family crest is both cheeks of a horse’s ass and the motto, Nil Separatum Est.