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REVIEWS
"The Last Outpost"



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Character's Name: Michael Andrews
Release Date:  October 11, 1935
Director: E. Lloyd Sheldon
Studio:  Paramount Pictures
Running Time: 72 minutes

Cast: Cary Grant (Michael Andrews), Claude Rains (John Stevenson), Gertrude Michael (Rosemary Haydon), Kathleen Burke (Ilya), Colin Tapley (Lieut. Prescott), Jameson Thomas (Cullen), Margaret Swope (Nurse Rowland), Billy Bevan (Corporal Foster), Nick Shaid (Haidar), Harry Semels (Amrak), Georges Renevant (Turkish Major)


Plot:
- by ZoŽ Shaw
Michael Andrews, a British Officer, is captured by the Kurds. John Stevenson, a Lawrence of Arabia character, frees him. They move an Armenian Tribe across the desert to safety. The scene shifts to a hospital in Egypt where Andrews is recuperating after a scuffle with Stevenson. He gets interested in Nurse Rosemary, who turns out to be Stevenson's wife, who hasn't seen him since their wedding day. Stevenson comes to Cairo and finds out about Andrews and his wife. He follows Andrews, who has to mop up some enemy tribes. All but Andrews and Stevenson are killed in a battle. They set off to cross the desert to safety, but Stevenson is mortally wounded by pursuing tribesmen. He dies after commending the welfare of his wife to Andrews.

Review: 
- by LeeAnn Neal
This film takes place during the Great War. It tells the story of British Army efforts to protect the British Empire in Kurdistan.

In this 20th film for Cary Grant, he plays the role of Captain Michael Andrews. (He has a mustache; first time I've ever seen that.) The story begins with the capture of Captain Andrews and his imprisonment. When it seems certain he will die at the hands of his enemies, Andrews is rescued by a British Intelligence Officer, who gives only the alias of "Smith" as his name (Claude Rains). A grateful Andrews joins the army efforts to help native refugees to safety.

When Andrews suffers a broken leg, he is sent to a hospital in Cairo. There he falls in love with his nurse, Rosemary (Gertrude Michael).  When he proclaims his love and proposes marriage, Rosemary confesses she's already married; to an intelligence officer, whom she's not heard from in 3 years.

Predictably, the husband happily returns (on a 6 month leave) to resume his place. Andrews is determined not to lose Rosemary when she tells him she never really loved her husband.

When her love for Andrews forces Rosemary to reveal her true feelings to her husband, his deep pain of rejection drives him to follow after Andrews where he is leading an expedition in the Sudan.

There the two face the reality of the situation. Putting aside their personal conflict, they heroically defend Britain and conquer the enemy. Somehow they are able to come to terms with their personal battle, each placing their lives on the line for the other.

VARIETY Film Review - October 9, 1935
- by "Odec"
- submitted by Barry Martin
Aside from its paltry status as entertainment fare, 'The Last Outpost' has a psychological factor that will likely militate against it.  Due to the Italo-Ethiopian squabble, the general run of picturegoer may not relish watching hordes of archaically equipped blacks being mowed down by machine guns.

Out of this crazy-quilt of melodrama, travelog, history, jungle clips and whatnot the mainstreeters can expect nothing but negligible returns.  Because of the several battle episodes the film might find some favor among kids in the nabes.

Central idea of the production is logical and simple enough, but the route taken in fashioning the narrative more confusing and tiresome with each successive real.  What begins as the story of two British soldiers whose chivalrous soldiery takes pre-eminence over their love for the same woman quickly lapses into a hodge-podge of loosely motivated tribal uprisings and stock inserts that has the action leaping from one corner of Africa to the other.  Geographical and ethnological fact and fancy become so intertwined that not only is the illusion destroyed but the characters dissolves into puny puppets in a rapidly shifting terrain.  

To Cary Grant, Claude Rains and Gertrude Michael fall the assignment of giving life and conviction to the romantic segment of the plot.  They all do well by their roles.  Theirs is a conflict which revolves around the predicament that two co-fighters in the Mesopotamian campaign find themselves when it develops that the nurse (Miss Michael) who had taken care of Grant in a base hospital is the wife of the British intelligence officer (Rains) who had saved the latter's life.  After an absence of three years, Rains suddenly appears at the hospital to recover his wife and interrupts a love affair that had the nurse hoping she was free.

Most effective portion of the film derives from legitimate shots and stock inserts showing the flight of native tribes from threatened Kurdish attack up over the mountains and across swirling rivers.  Also effectively projected is the tribal treachery and butchery that the British were forced to encounter in their effort to keep the natives from taking advantage of England's war worries on the eastern flank and yielding to the cajoleries of German provocateurs.  Both the trek and the envisioning of t his footnote in World War history are dealt with in the fore part of the picture, and from this point on the proceedings wane in both interest and pace.  

New York Times Film Review - October 5, 1935
- by Frank S. Nugent
- submitted by Barry Martin
Just as the Warners, discoverers of the G-men, are filming the Federal agents from every angle, Paramount, producer of the highly successful "Lives of a Bengal Lancer," has gone out to make the most of the melodramatic possibilities of Indian frontier warfare. "The Last Outpost," which opened yesterday at the Paramount Theatre, carries on the cinema's investigation of the white man's burden in the Sudan. No matter what the billboards may say, it is not another "Bengal Lancers," but it is a well-made, if somewhat familiar, melodrama for all that.

You will recall that what endeared "Lancers" to masculine film-goers was its complete de-emphasis of the love motif and its rousing accent on calvalry charges, skirmishes, pig-sticking and robust heroics. In "The Last Outpost," Paramount seems to have gone after the feminine trade. True, the Fuzzy-Wuzzies continue to storm the forts, snipe at the mounted columns of the desert patrols and hurl their spears against British machine guns; but Cupid is riding with the lancers this time and has insisted, however unreasonably, that ample footage be devoted to the triangular romance of Cary Grant, Gertrude Michael and Claude Rains.

As the film's prologue explains, too many persons are in the habit of recalling the World War in terms of the battlefields of France. They forget - but Paramount has not - that England fought part of her war in Kurdistan, where the Turks and the Kurds were striking at India, heart of the British Empire.

And so it is in Kurdistan that Captain Andrews is saved from an unpleasant death by a member of the British Intelligence Corps. And it is in Cairo that Captain Andrews, recovering from his injuries, grows to love his nurse, and vice versa, not realizing she is the wife of the same British intelligence officer. And it must follow, as the script writer adheres to the familiar pattern, that the rivals in love meet again in the Sudan to square the triangle as swarms of shouting tribesmen advance upon the beleaguered outposts while one wonders, with a dreadful fear, whether the reinforcements will arrive in time.

"The Last Outpost" is at its best during those spirited moments at the beginning and the end of the picture when Cary Grant and Claude Rains are upsetting the plans of the Turks or exchanging leaden compliments with the tribesmen. It bogs down - from a masculine viewpoint - for long minutes in between when Mr. Grant and Miss Michael go about the sober business of becoming romantically involved. It does seem, with all the drawing rooms available, that Paramount could have preserved the Sudan for the sterner things of life.  


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