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2/15 @ 6:30 pm THE LOST PATROL


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Hey, i know we're smack dab in the middle of Oscar month and it's general February slowness around here, but I would feel remiss if I did not send out an alert on this one, and if any of you would like to discuss it feel free.



dir- John Ford





for those who have not seen it- it is truly a magnificent film, every bit as good as the other Zeniths of Ford's career, done the year before he won Best director and Picture for THE INFORMER, I actually prefer it to that movie (one could maybe say THE LOST PATROL is his first masterpiece?)


. Victor MacLaglen is amazing in it; as is KARLOFF.


it's only an hour and 12 minutes long too!


Maltin gives it four stars.


(even a stopped watch is right twice a day.)


Synopsis: A British army troop fights off Arab snipers while holed up in an oasis.
DirJohn Ford CastVictor McLaglen , Boris Karloff , Wallace Ford .


D: John Ford. Victor McLaglen, Boris Karloff, Wallace Ford, Reginald Denny, Alan Hale, J. M. Kerrigan, Billy Bevan. McLaglen's small British military group lost in Mesopotamian desert, as Arabs repeatedly attack the dwindling unit. Classic actioner filled with slice-of-life stereotypes, headed by religious fanatic Karloff. Fast-moving fun, great Max Steiner score. Scripted by Dudley Nichols, from Philip MacDonald's novel Patrol. Previously filmed in 1929, as a British silent starring Victor McLaglen's brother, Cyril, in the lead role; reworked many times (BAD LANDS, SAHARA, BATAAN, etc.).

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Don't know if story is true or not. But Ford was 2 days behind on his shooting schedule and RKO sent some exec. in a plane to get Ford caught up. Well, the plane land and screws up a shot Ford had set up and working in the desert is a royal pain. So when the exec. tell Ford he's 2 days behind Ford grabs the script and tears out a couple of pages and tells the guy I'm all caught up. He never filmed those pages. True or not, it sounds like John Ford...

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This is one of the most notorious RKO--reissue-edited classics.  When RKO put it on a double bill with GUNGA DIN, they cut LOST PATROL from 74 to 66 minutes (eliminating most of Alan Hale's footage among other things).  GUNGA DIN was chopped from 119 to 93.


THE LOST PATROL remained cut until the BFI provided Warners with an uncut 1948 reissue print.  This is the print that is on DVD.


BUT - and it's a significant one - RKO British replaced the final music cue in their release version (and the subsequent rerelease).  The DVD version also does not include the original End Cast credits.  They will probably run this version on TCM tonight.  Here is the original final cue for comparison:




A rare uncut 16mm print of THE LOST PATROL is on deposit at Brigham Young University as part of the Merian C. Cooper papers.


A few years ago, someone listed a 16mm print on eBay and had a frame blow-up of the main title.  The original Main Title.  I got excited because RKO re-shot the main titles for 1:85 safety in 1954 when they edited the feature.  So I bought the print and not only was it an uncut 16mm print (struck in 1938) but it came in a shipping case addressed to Cliff Reid - the Producer of the film.


We released the complete soundtrack score to THE LOST PATROL as part of a 3-CD set MAX STEINER: THE RKO YEARS.  It's out of print, but can occasionally be found on eBay.





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Thank you both so much for that info!


I would probably say that, along with THE BANK DICK, THE LOST PATROL is one of the shortest GREAT FILMS that I can think of...I guess it could be longer, but it works SO WELL just as it is in that tidy little one hour and twelve minutes.


it's funny when you think of how long most of Ford's other GREAT films were (THE SEARCHERS, VALANCE, HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY and THE QUIET MAN are all over two hours- as i recall.)

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