9 March 2011 | guy-bellinger
Old-fashioned but could have been worse
More old-fashioned than this pot-boiler is hard to find. What you get is the standard legion flick, complete with murder, wrong man-joining- Foreign-Legion, Femme Fatale, sadistic sergeant, the lot...
Yet, very surprisingly, "Legione straniera" IS watchable. The credit is for Basilio Franchina, its director, who, without going above and beyond his stale material like Josef von Sternberg, proves able enough to maintain a minimum of interest.
Among the good points are Viviane Romance's convincing performance (as cabaret singer Chérie, she manages to convey emotion behind her seductress ways), Marc Lawrence (a delight as the hatable sergeant),one or two well-framed and well-edited sequences (the best being Chérie's statement of contempt towards her former lover, Marc Lawrence/Sergeant Ouvrard), the good capturing of French colonial reality and a fine long battle sequence.
Not a masterpiece for sure but Basilio Franchina limits the damage, which is a feat in itself considering the poor story the film is based on.