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Image Entertainment presents
Outpost in Morocco (1949)

Col. Pascal: Your record is an excellent one, except for certain, shall we say, romantic, complications.
Capt. Paul Gerard: My duties have taken me into many strange places.
Col. Pascal: So I noticed.

- John Litel, George Raft

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: April 03, 2002

Stars: George Raft, Marie Windsor, Akim Tamiroff, John Litel
Other Stars: Ernö Verebes, Eduard Franz, Crane Whitley, Damian O'Flynn
Director: Robert Florey

Manufacturer: RGM
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:29m:17s
Release Date: March 26, 2002
UPC: 014381945126
Genre: adventure

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ C+BB D+

DVD Review

Lieut. Glysko: As my late father would say, all women are unfair.
Capt. Gerard: If they weren't, there'd be no Foreign Legion.

In the Moroccan headquarters of the French Colonial Army in Tesket, regional commander Colonel Pascal prepares a convoy into the hills of Bel-Rachad, to escort the only daughter of the Emir back home. Pascal places Capt. Paul Gerard in charge, but before the journey can begin Gerard must be located, a task relegated to his manservant Bamboule (Ernö Verebes). On his first day of leave, this is no easy task, as Gerard, who has a reputation as a ladies man (the reason he was chosen for the job), is undoubtably nested away with one of the many eligible women in Tesket. Hours later, he is finally located in a canteen, dancing with a rich, beautiful young lady, who offers him a gold coin for his company. When Gerard's convoy sets out the following day, his charge is none other than Cara, the woman he'd met the night before, who is in foul spirits at being summoned home prematurely, especially when she finds out the Captain is in charge after his rude disappearance. The journey is a long one, but along the way she softens up to the smooth Gerard, and the two become quite attached, so much so that she invites the Captain into her father's palace, a place no Frenchman is welcome.

"So often, conceit is the last refuge of the scoundrel." - Cara (Marie Windsor)

After dropping Cara off, Gerard's party heads for the local garrison, where he learns they have been under attack with increasing frequency by snipers, who also appear to be using new weaponry. Gerard decides to investigate, by sneaking back into the Emir's palace to gather evidence that the sultan is stockpiling arms to take up against the French. When Cara finds Gerard, she thinks he has returned for her, but is embittered when she discovers the truth about his mission. The Emir sets off to band his countrymen together to drive out the French colonialists, and when Gerard returns to the outpost he find most of his garrison slaughtered. The remaining troops launch an assault on the palace only to find it vacated, save for Clara, who they take hostage. The Legionnaires find themselves under siege, their water supply cut off, and far outnumbered by their native enemies. It's up to Gerard to save his men and his girl, and avert a war if at all possible.

Filmed in the early days of Macarthyism when care had to be taken to throw off any dispersions of hidden agendas in film, Outpost in Morocco is pretty standard fare as an action adventure, combining the Foreign Legion, a romantic subplot and a bit of a film noir twist. The acting is passable, but outside Akim Tamiroff's characterization of comedic sidekick, Leut. Glysko, also forgettable. The principles have limited chemistry, and despite being given some good lines, Raft—who turned down the roles in High Sierra and The Maltese Falcon that made Bogart a star—is uncharismatic as a romantic lead. Windsor has more personality, but has nothing to play against. The sets are impressive, the costuming good, and the cinematography has its moments. There are a few decent action sequences, some humorous dialogue, and the story is reasonable for matinee feature, but in terms of endearing value, Outpost in Morocco falls flat.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: This transfer was made from the surviving original camera negative elements and a fine grain preservation nitrate. The image is just slightly on the soft side, but print quality is very good, with only minor dust, specs or other damage. Grayscale coverage is excellent for the most part, with both highlight and shadow detail. The area of concern is in black levels, which are generally on the light side, leading to a fair amount of macroblocking in areas that should render black (adjusting the brightness will fix this). Grain is only noticeable in select shots, which are obviously a different source. Contrast in some of these is a little off, blowing out whites, and some cross coloration is present on occasion. Quite reasonable for a film this age, and above average overall.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access

Audio Transfer Review: Mono audio is limited in frequency coverage, without being tinny. There is a constant level of hiss throughout, and some edginess and distortion on some dialogue, which is easily discernable. No excess sibilance is present, and tone is even. A few pops and some crackling, nothing unexpected for a film this age.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 9 cues and remote access
Packaging: Snapper
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Outside the minimal menus and scant nine chapter selections—two of which have spelling errors—there is nothing extra included on the disc. I will praise the use of the original poster art on the cover, though I could have done without the ghastly colorizations on the inset photos; thankfully, they left the feature in its original black & white. An essay on the period in which the film was made is on the back cover, and a listing of other Hal Roach projects is on the interior flap of the snapper case.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

A reasonable time waster given an above average transfer, this one is for fans of the stars only. While it had its moments, Outpost in Morocco leaves much to be desired, and is best suited to a rental. Perhaps someone will release the 1939 Beau Geste and give us a real Foreign Legion flick on DVD.


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