La Bandera
Vanguard // Unrated // $29.99 // March 25, 2003
Review by Don Houston | posted May 22, 2003
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Movie: In these days of military actions around the world, it sometimes behooves us to take a look back at the films of yesteryear for a better perspective on current times. After all, the more things change, the more they stay the same is a tried and true saying that bears some truth. That brings me to the topic of this review, La Bandera (The Flag).

The story centered on a guy, Pierre Gilieth, who kills someone and flees France. On the run in Barcelona, his wallet is stolen and he finds himself in a bad spot. Without money, a foreigner such as himself will be deported back to France. I can see why someone with that prospect, murder charge or not, would do almost anything to prevent it. He can't get work so he enlists in the Spanish Foreign Legion-an employer of last resort if you know what I mean. While there, he meets someone he suspects is a cop trying to track him down. The two fight and nearly kill each other. They are sent to different companies and Pierre goes off to the campaign in Africa. He meets his soulmate and the two marry. Before long, his pal is back and he decides the only thing to do is to desert the military with her. Alas, war doesn't work out as planned but isn't that always the case? A dumb war, with dumb leaders, and men willing to do anything for a piece of cloth (the title of the movie).

Picture: The picture was presented in full frame 1.33:1 ratio and looked it's age. The movie was made in France in 1935 and while many movies from that time are now long lost to all the usual factors, this one wasn't too bad looking given the circumstances of old black & white films.

Sound: The sound was mono but cleaned up as best as possible considering the source material.

Extras: none

Final Thoughts: The movie was a bit hokey, as many movies from that time period are, but it was worth checking out for film historians who want to see one of Director Julien Duvivier's earlier movies. The cheerleader approach to the military was similar to what you'll see in many modern movies and still shows the foibles of man's memory about such things. So while the movie is definitely showing it's age, I think it's worth a rental to film buffs.



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