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The Lost Patrol Reviews

A strange and fascinating film, John Ford's THE LOST PATROL gives a sense of impending doom from frame to frame, but is nevertheless an absorbing adventure drama. The story concerns a British cavalry patrol in the Mesopotamian desert during WWI. A single shot rings out and their leader, an officer, falls dead from his horse, his face buried in the sand. With him goes the knowledge of their mission's purpose and even the direction in which the patrol is traveling. The unnamed sergeant (Victor McLaglen) who takes over finds nothing in the officer's map case to indicate where they are, and tells his men that the officer kept everything in his head. He leads the group to an oasis, but the men find themselves under occasional sniper fire from the Arabs who have surrounded them and lie in wait, out of sight in the stretching dunes. The soldiers--except for the sergeant--never see the Arabs, and this insidious enemy takes on an almost mythic character as, one by one, the British are picked off until only the sergeant, Morelli (Wallace Ford), and Sanders (Boris Karloff) are left, desperately trying to stay alive. Shot on location in the desert around Yuma, Arizona, THE LOST PATROL is a much superior remake of a like-titled 1929 British silent film that featured Agnew McMaster in Karloff's role and Cyril McLaglen, Victor's brother, as the sergeant.