Lost Command (1966)
Director: Mark Robson
Actors: Anthony Quinn, Alain Delon, George Segal
Runtime: 129 min
Hollywood movie on the Algerian War that was banned in France for ten years (1966–1976).
Main protagonist of the “Lost Command” is a French peasant determined to become a newcomer to the military aristocracy. He was decisive on becoming a general, even if it meant climbing over a mountain of dead bodies, up to the generals’ epaulets. For this goal, he is willing to cover up war crimes, to participate in their execution, to kill civilians, to organize torture and to participate in it…
“Lost Command”, in a very clear but also very subtle way, shows the class character of the French military and colonial order. Main focus of the movie is the brutality of the colonial war that France waged against the Algerian liberation movements during the Algerian Revolution (1954–1962), until Algeria has won its independence. It is quite clearly shown how big business protects its interests and pressures politicians, who then push senior military officers, who than issue orders and send plain soldiers to die for the interests of big business.
It is quite unusual for a Hollywood movie to bluntly show how the war, and capitalism in general, is the best environment for psychopaths and people who have renounced their humanity, or are actively suppressing it, as well as how promotions and bloody medals are given to the murderers and criminals in the service of the state.
Although the unfolding of the film takes place in Algeria, the opening scene takes us to the siege of Dien Bien Phu, the key battle of the First Indochina War, an anti-colonial conflict in Indochina (now Vietnam), where the forces of Viet Minh defeat the French army. It is interesting that in 1954 Alain Delon, actor that plays French officer whose integrity gets him into conflict with his superiors, voluntarily participated in the Indochina War as a French soldier. This armed conflict lasted from 1946 until the mid-1950s, when France left Indochina and was immediately followed by Vietnam war waged in the same area by the US between the mid-1950s up to 1975.
You can buy this movie on Amazon or download it for free.