Oscar Movies: Lost Patrol

Previously made in 1929, Philip MacDonald’s novel “Patrol” was lensed by director John Ford as “The Lost Patrol” in 1934. Set in WWI, the tale was adapted t the screen by Garrett Fort, Philip MacDonald, Dudley Nichols.

It stars Victor McLaglen as The Sergeant, a soldier in charge of a British cavalry regiment, stranded in the Mesopotamian desert.

The Sergeant hasn’t asked for the new responsibilities and duties. After the commanding officer is killed by Arab sniper, he has to take over. Sadly, one by one, the men are picked off as they desperately fend off the enemy, waiting for reinforcements to arrive.

The most spectacular death scene belongs to Boris Karloff, better known for his horror movies, playing a religious zealot named Sanders, who goes insane and begins marching towards the Arabs while bearing a makeshift cross.

Max Steiner’s Oscar nominated musical theme for this movie would be refashioned for his score for “Casablanca.”

Ford’s mastery of the visuals, here I stylized black and white, and in integrating the landscape into the narrative, are already evident here. Ford would reteam with Victor McLaglen the following year in the superb Oscar-winning political drama, “The Informer.”

“Lost Patrol” was remade as a western, “Bad Lands,” in 1939.

The originally running time was 74 minutes, but the film was recut into 69-minute.

Oscar Nominations: 1
Score: Max Steiner

Oscar Context:

The Oscar winner was “One Night of Love.”