Lost Patrol, The (1934)

The Lost Patrol (1934), produced and directed by John Ford.

One of the original "Lost Patrol" stories, now practically a genre: the combat unit cut off in enemy territory, the men picked off one by one. Other examples would be Sahara (1943), Men in War (1957), and The Warriors (1979). Scholars say the plot goes back at least to Xenophon.

Set in WW1 Mesopotamia (Iraq), but filmed in California and Arizona, it looks more like the planet Dune. Victor McLaglen is the big Irish sergeant in charge. Boris Karloff is the unit's religious hysteric, although all the men crack up to some extent.

No twists and turns, just a straight slide to ruin. They all seem to have poor survival skills. They hate Arabs but remember fondly the dark women of other places. We don't see the enemy until the final moments.

Max Steiner score. Only 71 minutes long.