The Lost Patrol (Ford, 1934)

The Lost Patrol (John Ford, 1934)

How can a film set in the desert be claustrophobic? When every time a man makes a move he is shot down by an unseen enemy. A troop of British soldiers find themselves without orders when their leader is gunned down. They make their way to an abandoned structure where they are quickly trapped by an invisible foe. From here their troop decreases man by man, their numbers dwindling so slowly that the weight of each is felt at its fullest. Some men go down fighting, some go crazy, and every so often hope is dangled in front of their faces like a carrot in front of a mule. Overall, it’s a solidly made film, and the pacing and tone are perfect, but I can’t say I found it overly fascinating. It’s intriguing seeing how different men react to the same situation, but it does become a bit repetitive, and doesn’t rank up there with top-notch Ford.  7.5/10

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3 Responses to “The Lost Patrol (Ford, 1934)”

  1. Your review reminds me of Zurlini’s The Desert of the Tartars — incredibly claustrophobic yet in the middle of the Central Eurasian desert — the enemies are more unseen — if they exist at all, which heightens the tension.

    • chrisfilm Says:

      Hmm, will have to check it out.

      • It’s an adaptation of the Dino Buzzati novel of the same name (one of the most famous literary Italian figures of the last century). Both the book and the movie are highly recommended — parts of it were filmed in Iran (in the mid 70s).

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