THE LOST COMMAND (1966) @ Wine Styles

Hello out there, all you stalwart TFC members! Here we are again preparing for another “Second Saturday Series” screening at Wine Styles. Last month many of us enjoyed AN UNFINISHED LIFE there. It is hard to beat those plush recliner seats, that huge 12’ screen, and the Dolby sound system that Tim & Mary provide for us.


This next Saturday, August 11, 2007, please join us for a screening of Mark Robson’s THE LOST COMMAND (1966). This film was based on the hard-to-find novel by Jean Larteguy. Largely overshadowed by THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS (1967), never the less this is a fine adventure film. Like Gillo Pontecorco’s epic, THE LOST COMMAND is also based loosely on true events from the Algerian fight for independence from France. It had been a French colony for 130 years.


We follow the great Anthony Quinn as Lt. Colonel Raspeguy, a Basque peasant who has risen to being an officer in the French Paratroopers. We even see a touch of ZORBA in this character. His 10th Paratrooper Battalion has been overrun and defeated in Indochina at the battle of Dien Bien Phu –and they end up as POW’s. To avoid disgrace, or being drummed out of the military, Quinn is forced to take his men, who have all volunteered to serve with him again, into Algeria to quell the unrest, to stem the tide of revolution churned up by the FLN. He is confronted with two difficulties, the first being that the uprising is led by his former battalion officer, Mahidi (George Segal), and he has to adapt to urban warfare fighting terrorists. Alain Delon plays Capt. Esclavier, the company historian, in a part originally written for Paul Newman. This rarely seen film, only recently transferred to DVD, makes a wonderful companion piece to the classical behemoth THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS. It is very much a “Hollywood” treatment, but regardless many of the salient facts of actual history find their way to the surface.


At WINE STYLES, the screening will be at our standard 7:00pm. The wise ones arrive around 6:30pm to snag a good seat. Please phone the store at (253) 756-1922 to order your snack items or beverage of choice, so that Tim and Mary can do the prep work for our visit and staff accordingly. The address is, of course, 2665 N. Pearl Street, directly behind KFC. Hope to see you there!


Glenn for David



2 thoughts on “THE LOST COMMAND (1966) @ Wine Styles

  1. There were fewer of us turned out for this event than usual. It happens in the summer. I guess a batch turned out two nights earlier at the FIREHOUSE COFFEE CO. to view GO TELL THE SPARTANS. Mohsen helped set it up. Perhaps the next screening other than Wine Styles could be at the church where Roger is setting up things with Rev. Frances. The TFC picnic is on for Saturday, August 25, at the Gilmour Ranch, the rear acres as it were. The summer is all over almost, and June seemed a moment ago. I will make the announcement here in a few days of the Producer’s picks for the (3) films for September. They will include a member pick, a committee pick DVD, and a theatrical pick.


  2. I guess the better film to have screened at Wine Styles would have been THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS, but I was under the impression that THE LOST COMMAND was going to be hard to find, to rent, and to view. The film really smacked of the “Hollywood” treatment. Ron would have turned it off if he had tuned in on TMC or TCM or AMC or whatever. I just love Anthony Quinn. As David said, there was some Zorba, and some strong man from LA STRADA. I even saw a little of Emilio’s brother in VIVA ZAPATA. Of Mexican descent, Quinn got to play every kind of ethnic group. When he got touchy in LOST COMMAND, whenever anyone called him an animal, even his French Countess, it did not ring true. She smiled and called him a “beautiful beast of war”. I guess he was that. But the line was immortalized by Kirk Douglas in SPARTACUS, as Charles McGraw watched him in his cell with Jean Simmons. “I am not an animal!”, he raved, and we cannot forget the look in eyes, or the intensity in his voice. As I will point out in my comment on this film later though, it did deal with a larger issue than just the Battle of Algiers. It dealt with the fighting in the mountains, which constituted the bulk of the revolution in reality. It ,despite its CA glamour, managed to give us a better overview of that fight for independence than Pontecorvo’s very focused and biased film did.


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