Posted January 16, 2011 by Alex Moss Editor in Films
 
 

The Last Remake Of Beau Geste


Drawing
inspiration from Monty Python’s surreal antics and Mel Brook’s madcap parodies,
Marty Feldman’s 70s comedy The Last
Remake of Beau Geste
precedes the Zucker’s brand of goofy comedy by a few
years, although it’s more of a hit-and-miss affair.

When a
wealthy aristocrat (Trevor Howard) adopts two twins to become his heir; the perfectly formed, heroic Beau (Michael
York) and Feldman’s google-eyed Digby
it’s only a matter of time before rivalries surface. After being accused of
stealing the precious family Blue Water
Sapphire
and sentenced to hard labour, Digby escapes and sets off to find
the real thief, Beau, pursued by their promiscuous
new step-mother Flavia
(Ann Margaret).

Perhaps
the title’s “Last Remake” tag is fairly accurate, since it’s unlikely classic
novel Beau Geste will get another
film adaptation, something Feldman is keenly aware of, cramming joke after joke
in his scattergun effort to fill every scene with ever-escalating levels of humour.

Think the
Zucker’s forgotten masterpiece Top
Secret
combined with Carry On’s
Follow That Camel
and you have some idea where this is going. Enjoyment
will depend very much on whether you’re willing to overlook a few duff jokes for each brilliant one.
Much as in Mel Brook’s efforts, very little is left sacred in the genre;
Feldman even throwing in the odd ad
break to break up the slapstick
.

Fitting
then that Spike Milligan appears in
many of the film’s early scenes; clearly we’re in his comic territory too. Feldman does a decent job with the material
even if his performance seems slightly over-egged at times; perhaps this was a labour of love if a
slightly odd choice. Peter Ustinov and Michael York do well to send themselves
up, something York would continue later in his Austin Powers trilogy roles while the supporting cast offer a
little more than just background gags with some
great lines.

Not a
classic then but perfectly passable for
spoof enthusiasts
and still more entertaining than all four Scary Movies
and whatever else passes for a parody on screen nowadays put together. That
says far more about them than it does Beau
Geste’s buffoonery.


Alex Moss Editor

 
Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com