The Lost Patrol (1934)

74-75 mins | Drama | 16 February 1934

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was Patrol . News items state that Richard Dix was originally slated to star in the picture, but was reassigned to Stingaree before production began. Major Frank Baker, who was hired by producer Cliff Reid as a technical advisor, was a British army veteran of the Mesopotamia and Palestine campaigns. Desert scenes for the film were shot in Yuma, AZ. According to a HR news item, the production unit encountered much difficulty during shooting, being plagued by dysentery, bad water and excessive heat. Max Steiner was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Musical Score, but lost to Louis Silver, who won for his work on Columbia's One Night of Love .
       According to an autobiographical article that appeared in the 1983 Var anniversary issue, Jerry Webb was the script supervisor on the film. Webb describes one day of the filming: "A hundred yard track had been built over the dunes. The specially constructed dolly, with four rubbertined auto wheels, held the camera, its large sound blimp, the sound boom, lights, reflectors and necessary personnel to photograph the scene. With the full patrol on horseback moving along, about a dozen grips pushed the heavy dolly to allow the camera and sound to record the long scene. The morning heated up more quickly than usual and the temperature hit close to 130 degrees." According to Webb, many of the scenes were shot silent, with sound added in post-production.
       Modern sources add the following information about the production: Ford, who had bought the screen rights to Philip MacDonald's book some ... More Less

The working title of this film was Patrol . News items state that Richard Dix was originally slated to star in the picture, but was reassigned to Stingaree before production began. Major Frank Baker, who was hired by producer Cliff Reid as a technical advisor, was a British army veteran of the Mesopotamia and Palestine campaigns. Desert scenes for the film were shot in Yuma, AZ. According to a HR news item, the production unit encountered much difficulty during shooting, being plagued by dysentery, bad water and excessive heat. Max Steiner was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Musical Score, but lost to Louis Silver, who won for his work on Columbia's One Night of Love .
       According to an autobiographical article that appeared in the 1983 Var anniversary issue, Jerry Webb was the script supervisor on the film. Webb describes one day of the filming: "A hundred yard track had been built over the dunes. The specially constructed dolly, with four rubbertined auto wheels, held the camera, its large sound blimp, the sound boom, lights, reflectors and necessary personnel to photograph the scene. With the full patrol on horseback moving along, about a dozen grips pushed the heavy dolly to allow the camera and sound to record the long scene. The morning heated up more quickly than usual and the temperature hit close to 130 degrees." According to Webb, many of the scenes were shot silent, with sound added in post-production.
       Modern sources add the following information about the production: Ford, who had bought the screen rights to Philip MacDonald's book some time before he started directing at RKO, worked with other screenwriters on the adaptation before turning to Nichols, who had served in the Navy during World War I. Ford and Nichols, starting fresh from the novel, wrote the screenplay in eight days, two days before shooting was to begin. Location shooting in Yuma took two weeks. At one point during the difficult filming, actor Wallace Ford was rumored to have chased the company cook across the dunes because he refused to serve a black man. While portraying one of the sergeant's Arab victims, Frank Baker charged McLaglen, who was drunk at the time, for firing live ammunition at his feet during his scene, unaware that Ford had placed a second, sober marksman behind the actor. Composer Steiner added his score after the producers viewed the cut film and decided that, because of the many protracted silent scenes, the entire picture needed music. In spite of the gloomy nature of the story, The Lost Patrol was a modest hit, and its success encouraged RKO to allow Ford and Nichols to make The Informer . Modern sources add Francis Ford to the cast.
       According to a late Feb 1934 FD news item, a "special dramatization" of The Lost Patrol was broadcast on Borden's "45 Minutes in Hollywood" radio program. In 1929, British International produced and Walter Summers directed a silent version of MacDonald's story, which starred Victor McLaglen's brother Cyril in the role of the sergeant. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
24 Jan 34
p. 3.
Film Daily
17 Aug 33
p. 7.
Film Daily
24 Aug 33
p. 22.
Film Daily
22 Sep 33
p. 8.
Film Daily
9 Feb 34
p. 15.
Film Daily
23 Feb 34
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Aug 33
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Aug 33
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Sep 33
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Jan 34
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
26 Jan 34
p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald
21 Oct 33
p. 38.
Motion Picture Herald
3 Feb 34
p. 33.
New York Times
2 Apr 34
p. 13.
Variety
3 Apr 34
p. 17.
Variety
25 Oct 83
p. 218.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A John Ford Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
Mus dir
VISUAL EFFECTS
PRODUCTION MISC
Utility man
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Patrol by Philip MacDonald (New York, 1928).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Patrol
Release Date:
16 February 1934
Production Date:
31 August--22 September 1933
Copyright Claimant:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
16 February 1934
Copyright Number:
LP4510
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Victor System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
74-75
Length(in feet):
6,663
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In Mesopotamia during World War I, the leader of a British desert patrol is killed by an unseen Arab sniper. After the sergeant takes over command, the patrol begins a torturous journey across the sands, which takes a toll on both men and horses. Then, as the soldiers near total collapse, soldier Morelli spots an oasis in the distance. The sergeant, who has confessed to Morelli that he never received orders as to the patrol's exact mission, leads his men to the oasis, where they revel in the shade and drink from the plentiful water supply. The next morning, however, the men discover Pearson, a fresh-faced, eager recruit who was assigned to the night watch, slain, Corporal Bell seriously wounded, and all of the horses stolen. After the group discusses their options, veteran soldier Hale climbs a palm tree to survey the area and is shot down by a sniper. Sure that they will not survive while traveling as a group, the sergeant orders everyone but Sanders, a religious fanatic who is going insane, to draw straws to determine who will go for help. Jock MacKay makes the unlucky selection and picks Matlow Cook to accompany him. Later Abelson, succumbing to the effects of the desert sun, stumbles away from the oasis and is shot by a sniper. In spite of Morelli's heroic rescue, Abelson dies from his wound. Determined to retaliate, the soldiers open fire on the Arabs, and two men, Quincannon and Corporal Bell, are killed. The next day, while scanning the horizon, the sergeant sees two figures riding toward the oasis and orders them shot. When they reach ... +


In Mesopotamia during World War I, the leader of a British desert patrol is killed by an unseen Arab sniper. After the sergeant takes over command, the patrol begins a torturous journey across the sands, which takes a toll on both men and horses. Then, as the soldiers near total collapse, soldier Morelli spots an oasis in the distance. The sergeant, who has confessed to Morelli that he never received orders as to the patrol's exact mission, leads his men to the oasis, where they revel in the shade and drink from the plentiful water supply. The next morning, however, the men discover Pearson, a fresh-faced, eager recruit who was assigned to the night watch, slain, Corporal Bell seriously wounded, and all of the horses stolen. After the group discusses their options, veteran soldier Hale climbs a palm tree to survey the area and is shot down by a sniper. Sure that they will not survive while traveling as a group, the sergeant orders everyone but Sanders, a religious fanatic who is going insane, to draw straws to determine who will go for help. Jock MacKay makes the unlucky selection and picks Matlow Cook to accompany him. Later Abelson, succumbing to the effects of the desert sun, stumbles away from the oasis and is shot by a sniper. In spite of Morelli's heroic rescue, Abelson dies from his wound. Determined to retaliate, the soldiers open fire on the Arabs, and two men, Quincannon and Corporal Bell, are killed. The next day, while scanning the horizon, the sergeant sees two figures riding toward the oasis and orders them shot. When they reach the fallen men and horses, however, they find the slaughtered, mutiliated bodies of MacKay and Cook. After Sanders forcibly berates and threatens Morelli, a former music hall performer, for his "sins," the sergeant learns that George Brown, a "gentleman soldier," slipped away during the night to avenge his comrades' deaths. Now only three, the survivors are spotted from the air by a British aviator. As the pilot descends from his plane, however, he is killed by the snipers, and his death causes Sanders to fly into a deranged rage. Morelli and the sergeant tie up Sanders, then set the plane on fire to alert any passing troops of their whereabouts. As hoped, the fire attracts the attention of another patrol, which alters its course toward the oasis. Before the other unit arrives, however, Sanders escapes and, while carrying a hand-fashioned cross, strides toward the snipers. In spite of his hatred for Sanders, Morelli rushes after him, but both men are brought down by the snipers. Alone, a dazed sergeant kills several Arabs who try to claim the oasis, and is finally rescued by his fellow British soldiers. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.