Lost Command is now open for discussion

Our August 2007 film selection, Lost Command, is now open for discussion. Members who would like to Post an Official Commentary here are welcome to do so (Contact Ron or Roger if you would like to have posting priveleges to this blogsite). Anyone, member or not, can place brief comments here by simply clicking on the comments button.


One thought on “Lost Command is now open for discussion


    This movie was shot in Spain, and it was being filmed just before the classic Gillo Pontecorvo behemoth THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS (1966). It was released first but it has been overshadowed by the more popular epic for over 40 years. One of the problems it had was that the actual history regarding the Algerian fight for independence received the “Hollywood” treatment—complete with well-known actors and a “Love Story”.

    THE LOST COMMAND (1966) was directed by Mark Robson, who had given us several powerful films 20 years earlier, like CHAMPION (1949), HOME OF THE BRAVE (1949), BRIGHT VICTORY (1951) and THE HARDER THEY FALL (1956). The year before COMMAND, he directed the fine war film, VON RYAN’S EXPRESS (1965). Robson, in the twilight of his career directed mainstream fluff like THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (1967), and EARTHQUAKE (1974).

    Anthony Quinn played Lt. Col. Pierre Raspeguy, a Basque peasant who rose in the ranks to a commander of paratroopers. We are introduced to him just as the Viet Minh are overrunning his company at the battle of Dien Bien Phu in Indo-China; soon to become Viet Nam. Emerging from a POW camp, Quinn loses his command.. We are treated to a back story scene as Raspeguy returned home for a visit to his family and his village. We see more than a trace of Alexis Zorba during those scenes. Soon in France, he is romancing a widowed Countess de Clairfons (Michelle Morgan), who cannot seem to resist his earthiness. Through her aristocratic intervention, he is offered another command of paratroopers, and sent into the fray in Algeria.

    Quinn was able to gather many of his old troops around him, including Alain Delon and Maurice Ronet. After arriving in Algeria, Raspeguy discovered that his primary advesary was a former officer of his in Indo-China, Lt. Mahidi (George Segal). Segal had to struggle a bit with the dark pancake make-up and the French accent, but generally he was effective. Claudia Cardinale played Aisha, Mahidi’s sister, providing the love interest for Delon. She, too, although woefully miscast provided adequate eye candy.

    There are three large scale battle scenes in the movie, and they are handled very spectacularly. When the 10th Paratrooper Battalion arrived early one morning in the city of Algiers, declaring martial law –there are marvelous echoes and similarities to Pontecorvo’s film. LOST COMMAND does serve as an interesting companion piece to BATTLE OF ALGIERS, for it deals a lot with the battles in the mountains, where historically much of the revolt actually happened. Then the FLN took to the city streets, and their terrorist bombings cajoled the international press into covering their struggle.

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